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George Reeves and Ellanora Needles Marriage Profile

Celebrity Marriages

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George Reeves as Superman

In 1953, American actor George Reeves is smiling in costume as Superman in a promotional portrait for the television series, Adventures of Superman.

Photo: Hulton Archive / Getty Images
In real life, actor George Reeves tried hard to live up to his Superman image. However, his marriage to Ellanora Needles lasted only ten years, and there is speculation that his death was not by suicide but by murder because of his affair with Toni Lanier.
Marriage Fast Facts - Ellanora and George
Married: September 21, 1940.
First Marriage: Yes.
Divorced: 1950.

Did You Know?
George did not have any children.

Born:

George Reeves aka George Keefer Brewer: January 5, 1914 in Woolstock, Iowa.

He was known as George Bessolo until 1939.

Due to his mother's concern about his "early" birth and scandal, George grew up thinking he was born on April 5, 1914. He learned his true date of birth when he was an adult.

Ellanora Robinson Needles aka Sarah Spencer, Shelley Spencer: September 1, 1918.

Died:

George Reeves: June 16, 1959 at the age of 45 in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California from a reported suicide.

The cause of his death was by a gun shot wound to his head. Whether or not he killed himself is still debated.

George's bruised, naked body was found in his bedroom by guests at his home. George's ashes are at Mountain View Cemetery (Pasadena Mausoleum, Sunrise Corridor) in Altadena, California.

Ellanora Needles: February 7, 2002 at the age of 83 in Beverly Hills, California. Ellanora was buried in Cincinnati, Ohio.

How George and Ellanora Met:

George met Ellanora while they were both studying at the Pasadena Playhouse.

Wedding Date:

George and Ellanora were married on September 21, 1940 in San Marino, California at the Church of Our Savior. Ellanora was escorted down the aisle by her uncle, John Stevens. George asked fellow actor John Wilcox to be his best man.

Divorce Date:

Ellanora and George were divorced in October 1950.

Children:

George and Ellanora did not have any children.

Occupations:

George: George was an actor and director. During WWII George served in the Army Air Corps as part of the Special Theatrical Unit. In 1952 he was the lead in the television series Adventures of Superman.

Ellanora Needles:

An heiress of a well-known family of circus performers, Ellanora was an actress and religious minister.

George and Ellanora worked together in The Leather Burners in 1943.

Residence:

George lived in Beverly Hills, California.

Other Marriages and Relationships:

George:
  • Toni Lanier Mannix aka Camille Antoinette Lanier: Toni was born on February 19, 1906. Although married to MGM executive Eddie Mannix on May 31, 1951, Toni and George had a long term affair that was not much of a secret. Although their affair ended in 1958, George left most of his estate to Toni. Toni died from complications of Alzheimer's Disease at the age of 77 on September 2, 1983 in Beverly Hills, California.
  • Leonore Lemmon aka Lenore Lemmon: Lenore, a New York socialite, Ziegfeld Follies showgirl, and actress, was born on May 22, 1923. George and Leonore had planned on getting married on June 19, 1959 in Mexico but George was found dead 3 days earlier. They had planned a honeymoon in Spain and Australia. Her first marriage was in 1941 to Jacob O. Webb. Leonore died on January 1, 1990 in New York City, New York.
Ellanora:
  • Edward M. Rose: Edward, an attorney in Beverly Hills, and Ellanora were married on November 2, 1950. They had two daughters. Their marriage ended on December 11, 1984 when Edward died.

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