Jack Larson

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For the textile designer, see Jack Lenor Larsen
Jack Larson
Jack Larson.jpg
Jack Edward Larson

(1928-02-08)February 8, 1928
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
DiedSeptember 20, 2015(2015-09-20) (aged 87)
Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
OccupationActor, librettist, screenwriter, producer
Years active1948–2011
Partner(s)James Bridges (1958–1993; Bridges' death)

Jack Edward Larson (February 8, 1928 – September 20, 2015) was an American actor, librettist, screenwriter and producer best known for his portrayal of photographer/cub reporter Jimmy Olsen on the television series Adventures of Superman.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Larson was born on February 8, 1928[2] in Los Angeles, the son of Anita (Calicoff), a Western Union clerk and George Larson, a milk truck driver. His father was of English and Swedish descent and his mother was from a Jewish family (from Germany and Russia).[3][4] He was reared in Pasadena. He graduated from Montebello High School in 1945, aged 17 and at times claimed 1933 as his birth year.[5]

Larson found the role of cub reporter Jimmy Olsen on The Adventures of Superman to be a handicap, because he became typecast as a naive young man.[6] This caused him to do little acting after the show ended in 1958, and instead he focused on behind-the-scenes work, such as writing and production. Larson was always willing to sit for interviews about the Superman series and his connection to it, and in recent years had a number of cameos that paid subtle tribute to his character and the series, including a 1991 episode of the TV series Superboy, alongside Noel Neill, who played Lois Lane in Adventures of Superman, and an episode of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman as an aged Jimmy Olsen in the episode "Brutal Youth", first broadcast 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 Neill provided commentary on several Adventures of Superman episodes for the January 2006 DVD release of the 1953 season, and in 2006, he appeared in Bryan Singer's film Superman Returns in a cameo role as "Bo the Bartender". Larson and Neill appeared together at the premiere of Superman Returns.[citation needed]

Larson's last television appearance was in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, which aired on the NBC network on January 6, 2010. In this episode, titled "Quickie", Larson portrayed Dewey Butler, the grandfather of a young suspect who was taking revenge on women by knowingly spreading AIDS to them.

Among his other work, Larson wrote the libretto to the opera Lord Byron to music by Virgil Thomson.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Larson was the life partner of director James Bridges from 1958 until Bridges' death on June 6, 1993.[8] Prior to that, he was the companion of actor Montgomery Clift.[9]

Larson owned and resided in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed George Sturges House in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles, California until his death.

He died on September 20, 2015 at the age of 87.[10] His interment was at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California.[11]



  1. ^ Joe Rhodes (July 13, 2006). "The Continuing Adventures and Movie Cameos of Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane". The New York Times. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
  2. ^ California Birth Index, 1905–1995. Sacramento, CA, USA: State of California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics.
  3. ^ "Jack Larson: Actor who gave up his career to write for the stage". independent.co.uk. 25 September 2015.
  4. ^ "Jack Edward Larson". www.livetvcenter.com.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Mike Barnes. "Jack Larson Dead: Jimmy Olsen on 'Superman' TV Show Was 87". The Hollywood Reporter.
  7. ^ Tommasini, Anthony (August 13, 2014). "They Heard America Playing". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
  8. ^ Stern, Keith (2006), Queers in History, Beverly Hills, California: Quistory Publishers, p. 64, ISBN 1-84728-348-9
  9. ^ "Overview for Montgomery Clift: Companions". TCM Turner Entertainment Networks. 2011. Retrieved July 29, 2011.
  10. ^ "Jack Larson, a TV Jimmy Olsen Turned Playwright, Dies at 87". 21 September 2015 – via NYTimes.com.
  11. ^ Wilson, Scott. Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed.: 2 (Kindle Location 26803). McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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