Superman stars now – tragic suicide, job U-turn and life-changing horse accident

Heroic movie Superman took the world by storm when it was first released in 1978.

Directed by Richard Donner, the DC comic adaptation paved the way for several superhero movies to come and gave viewers insight into what a real-life Clark Kent would look like.

Starring big Hollywood names such as Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman the film helped catapult the likes of Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder who played the much-loved protagonists.

With a budget of $55 million, Superman was the most expensive film made up until that point, however, it also proved to be a massive financial success.

The film accumulated worldwide box office earnings of $300 million, making it the second-highest-grossing release of the year.

Now 43 years on from when it first hit cinemas, Daily Star has taken a look at where the original cast are now.

Christopher Reeve as Superman/Clark Kent

Actor Christopher Reeve took on the iconic role of Superman in the 1978 classic, which was understandably big boots to fill.

Originally, the producers struggled to find the right fit for the incredible part and went through dozens of auditions before they finally settled on not-so-known theater actor.

Standing at 6’4 tall, with piercing blue eyes, a chiseled jaw, and having packed on 30 lbs of muscle for the role, Christopher certainly looked like a superhero and he gave a believable performance to match as Superman.

He was also convincing as the shy, bumbling Clark Kent.

After the success of the film, the star went on to have a brilliant acting career, starring in all three Superman sequels, as well a film titled Somewhere in Time, alongside Jane Seymour.

However, things tragically changed for Christopher in 1995.

While competing in an equestrian competition, Christopher was thrown off his horse and landed squarely on his head – severing his 1st and 2nd vertebrae.

The accident left him unable to move his arms and legs for the rest of his life but he still was active in the entertainment industry.

In 1998, Christopher received a SAG award for the TV adaption of Rear Window, and he also won a Grammy for the spoken word version of his autobiography, Still Me in the same year.

But in October 2004, the Superman star fell into cardiac arrest after receiving an antibiotic for an infection.

However, he later died after falling into a coma. He was only 52-years-old at the time.

Margot Kidder as Lois Lane

Actress Margot Kidder played an integral role in the movie as Clark Kent’s confident, capable colleague and love interest Lois Lane.

The brunette beauty dazzled audiences with her performance as she gave a believable portrayal of the much-loved character.

After starring in all three Superman films alongside Christopher Reeve, Margot continued to act, most notably as Kathy Lutz in the original Amityville Horror.

Away from the spotlight, she was also very well known for her liberal activism, notably opposing the first war in Iraq and supporting numerous environmental causes.

In 1989, the star was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder however, according to reports it was a condition that she struggled to cope with.

Several years later in 2018, Margot sadly died from a drug and alcohol-related suicide.

She was 69 at the time of death and had one daughter named Maggie.

Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor

Already established star Gene Hackman played the role of Lex Luthor- the comedic foil to Superman.

Gene reprised his tole Luthor for both Superman II and III, and continued to have an incredible film career in Hollywood starring in films such as The Unforgiven, Behind Enemy Lines and The Firm.

Despite having several movie titles under his belt, the Hollywood royalty decided to retire from acting in 2004.

In his spare time, Gene focused on his second love which is writing historical fiction novels.

However last year, he also confessed that he needed to take a break due to health reasons.

Speaking to publication Empire he said: "The straw that broke the camel’s back was actually a stress test that I took in New York.

"The doctor advised me that my heart wasn’t in the kind of shape that I should be putting it under any stress."

Ned Beatty as Otis

American actor Ned Beatty played the role of Lex Luthor's henchman Otis.

Before Superman, Ned already achieved acclaim for his supporting roles in Deliverance, as well as an Oscar nomination for Network.

The actor also appeared in Superman II and went on to have a prolific career in Hollywood.

Ned most memorably appeared in Charlie Wilson’s War, and also as the villainous stuffed bear in Toy Story 3 in 2010.

Collectively the hard-working actor has starred in over 60 movies and 40 TV shows between the years 1978 to 2013, which works out to more than three projects a year.

His efforts certainly paid off, as publication Variety once described him as the hardest working man in Hollywood.

However, in 2013, he decided to pack it all in and is now retired.

Glenn Ford as Jonathan "Pa" Kent

Superman’s adoptive, father famously known as Pa was played by actor Glenn Ford who again was a known Hollywood star.

During the 50's and 60's, Glenn was known for pulling in the crowds, appearing in smash hits like Gilda and The Big Heat.

However, after Superman, his career slowed down considerably and he made fewer films in the latter part of his career.

In 1991 he starred in the films Raw Nerve and Final Verdict. These two movies were the last he starred in before retiring in the same year.

However, his career highlights took a turn in a different direction in 1992 when he was awarded France’s highest military honor for his service during the second world war.

Unfortunately, Ford passed away in August 2006, following a series of heart and circulatory problems.

He was 75-years-old at the time.

Marlon Brando as Jor-El

Hollywood legend Marlon Brando was also a well-known actor before starring in the legendary Superman movie having previously won two Oscars and been nominated for a further five prior.

Marlon however wasn't too keen to star in the film as Jor-El and requested that he only worked for a maximum of twelve days and was paid $3.7million dollars for his part.

After the film's release, the Godfather star went on to appear in A Dry White Season in 1989, and The Freshman in 1990.

However, in 2001, the star decided to retire from acting a released his last film, The Score in the same year.

Away from the limelight, Marlon was known for his tumultuous personal life and his many partners and children. The actor was the father to at least 11 children, three of whom were adopted.

He was also a lifelong and active campaigner for the rights of Native Americans.

During the later part of his life, Marlon's weight gain began to attract more attention as he weighed over 300 pounds and suffered from Type 2 diabetes.

Sadly on July 1, 2004, the actor passed away from respiratory failure from pulmonary fibrosis with congestive heart failure.

He was 80 years old at the time of his death.

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