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Jack Larson was a playwright and librettist who died on September 20 at his home at Brentwood, California at age 87.

To most of us, though, he was known as the actor who played the cub reporter Jimmy Olsen in the television series “Adventures of Superman.

The New York Times reports that In 1951, Larson was offered the role of Olsen, an eager young reporter and photographer at The Daily Planet who idolizes his more mature, more experienced colleague Clark Kent (not knowing that Kent is secretly Superman) and constantly gets himself and his fellow reporter Lois Lane into perilous situations that require rescue by a superhero. At 23, Mr. Larson aspired to be a Broadway actor and playwright, and he hesitated to accept the role for fear of being typecast. After his agent told him the show had no sponsor and was unlikely to see the light of day, he agreed to film 26 episodes. The series had its premiere in 1952 and ran until 1958. There were plans to bring the show back, but George Reeves, who played Superman, died in 1959 in what was ruled a suicide.

Although Mr. Larson was pleased that Jimmy Olsen developed into a comic role, his fears of being typecast were realized. After a particularly upsetting encounter with the producer Mervyn LeRoy, he was advised by the actor Montgomery Clift, with whom Mr. Larson was having a romantic relationship, to stop putting himself in those casting situations. So Mr. Larson gave up acting and made a new career.

For example, reported the Times, he wrote the libretto for Virgil Thomson’s third and last opera, “Lord Byron,” commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

More from the New York Times and the Hollywood Reporter.

 

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