Jack Larson

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For the textile designer, see Jack Lenor Larsen
Jack Larson
Born Jack Edward Larson
(1928-02-08) February 8, 1928 (age 86)[1]
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active 1948-2011
Partner(s) James Bridges (1958-1993)

Jack Edward Larson (born February 8, 1928)[1] is an American actor, librettist, screenwriter and producer. He is best known for his portrayal of photographer/cub reporter Jimmy Olsen on the TV series Adventures of Superman.[2]


Larson was born in Los Angeles, California, is of Swedish and Russian descent,[3] and reared in Pasadena. He graduated from Montebello High School in 1945 at the age of seventeen, and has at times claimed 1933 as his birth year.[4]

Larson found the role of the cub reporter to be a handicap because of being typecast in it. He has not done much acting since then, mostly behind-the-scenes work such as writing and production. Larson has always been willing to sit for interviews about the Superman series and his connection to it, and in recent years has had a number of cameos that pay subtle tribute to his character and the series including a 1991 episode of the TV series Superboy alongside Noel Neill, who had played Lois Lane in Adventures of Superman, and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman as an aged Jimmy Olsen in the episode "Brutal Youth", first telecast on October 20, 1996. Larson had a cameo in a late-1990s American Express card commercial with Jerry Seinfeld and an animated Superman, directed by David Kellogg. He and his co-star Noel Neill provided commentary on several Adventures of Superman episodes for the January 2006 DVD release of the 1953 season, and in 2006, he appears in Bryan Singer's film Superman Returns in a cameo role as "Bo the Bartender"; it was rumored prior to the film's release that his role would actually be Suicide Slum resident and Superman fan, Bibbo Bibbowski, a supporting character from the modern Superman comics. In one of Larson's Superman Returns scenes, where characters celebrate Superman's rescue of a plane, his character is shown wearing a bow tie in the style of Jimmy Olsen and hugging the film's incarnation of Jimmy Olsen played by Sam Huntington.

Larson and Noel Neill appeared together at the premiere of Superman Returns. They typically come across as good friends, much like the characters they played in the 1950s series, in which Jimmy and Lois often investigated stories together.

Larson most recently appeared in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, which aired on the NBC network on January 6, 2010, at 9:00 pm EST. In this episode, entitled "Quickie", Larson portrayed 'Dewey Butler', grandfather to a young suspect allegedly having unprotected sexual relations with women. In the episode's final scene, Larson's character ingests an overdose of sleeping pills, disinherits his grandson and sets up a trust fund to take care of the women whom the grandson may have infected with HIV/AIDs.

Among his other work, Larson wrote the libretto to the opera Lord Byron to music by Virgil Thomson.[5] He wrote the verse play Cherry, Larry, Sandy, Doris, Jean, Paul in the mid 1960s.

Personal life[edit]

Larson was the life partner of director James Bridges from 1958 until Bridges' death on June 6, 1993.[6] Prior to that, he was the companion of actor Montgomery Clift.[7]

Larson owns and resides in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed George Sturges House in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles, California.



  1. ^ a b California Birth Index, 1905-1995. Sacramento, CA, USA: State of California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics.
  2. ^ Joe Rhodes (July 13, 2006). "The Continuing Adventures and Movie Cameos of Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 July 2011. [ ]
  3. ^ Jack Edward Larson
  4. ^ Hall, Ken (2000–2014). "Jack Larson played "Jimmy Olsen" on the hit '50s TV show The Adventures of Superman". Southeastern Antiquing and Collecting Magazine. McElreath Printing & Publishing, Inc. Retrieved August 27, 2014. 
  5. ^ Tommasini, Anthony (August 13, 2014). "They Heard America Playing". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved August 27, 2014. 
  6. ^ Stern, Keith (2006), Queers in History, Beverly Hills, California: Quistory Publishers, p. 64, ISBN 1-84728-348-9 
  7. ^ "Overview for Montgomery Clift: Companions". TCM Turner Entertainment Networks. 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 

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