Jack Larson
Jack Larson (9407720594) (cropped).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.
Occupation(s)Actor, librettist, screenwriter, producer
Years active1948–2011
PartnerJames Bridges (1958–1993; Bridges' death)
AwardsInkpot Award (2013)[1]

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.[2]

Life and career

Larson was born on February 8, 1928[3] 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).[4][5] He was raised in Pasadena. He graduated from Montebello High School in 1945, aged 17 and at times claimed 1933 as his birth year.[6]

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.[7] This caused him to do little acting after the show ended in 1958, and he turned to writing and production, with an output that included plays, a libretto, texts for classical music, and movies such as The Baby Maker.[8] In later years his attitude towards the Jimmy Olsen role warmed, as he focused more on the love people had for the character.[8] Larson was always willing to sit for interviews about the Superman series and his connection to it, and began having 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, The Adventures of Seinfeld & Superman. 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". Bo wore a bowtie, a trademark of Larson's depiction of Jimmy Olsen.[8] Larson and Neill appeared together at the premiere of Superman Returns.[9]

Larson's last television appearance was in the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Quickie", which aired on the NBC network on January 6, 2010.

Larson was interviewed extensively for the movie Making Montgomery Clift in which he verified Clift's nephew's (Rob Clift, Director) claim that Clift was not a dark tragically depressed figure, but someone who loved life and the people who loved him in return.

Among his other work, Larson wrote the libretto to the opera Lord Byron to music by Virgil Thomson.[10]

Personal life

Larson was the life partner of director James Bridges from 1958 until Bridges' death on June 6, 1993.[11] Prior to that, he was the companion of actor Montgomery Clift.[12]

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.[13] His interment was at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California.[14]



  1. ^ Inkpot Award
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ California Birth Index, 1905–1995. Sacramento, CA, USA: State of California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics.
  4. ^ "Jack Larson: Actor who gave up his career to write for the stage". independent.co.uk. 25 September 2015.
  5. ^ "Jack Edward Larson". www.livetvcenter.com.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Mike Barnes (20 September 2015). "Jack Larson Dead: Jimmy Olsen on 'Superman' TV Show Was 87". The Hollywood Reporter.
  8. ^ a b c Trott, Bill (September 21, 2015). "Jack Larson, who Played Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen in TV Series, Dies". Yahoo! Entertainment. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
  9. ^ Germain, David (4 July 2016). "This is a job for Superman's pals: Noel Neill (Lois Lane) and Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen)". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  10. ^ Tommasini, Anthony (August 13, 2014). "They Heard America Playing". The New York Times. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
  11. ^ Stern, Keith (2006), Queers in History, Beverly Hills, California: Quistory Publishers, p. 64, ISBN 1-84728-348-9
  12. ^ "Overview for Montgomery Clift: Companions". TCM Turner Entertainment Networks. 2011. Retrieved July 29, 2011.
  13. ^ Gates, Anita (21 September 2015). "Jack Larson, a TV Jimmy Olsen Turned Playwright, Dies at 87". The New York Times.
  14. ^ 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.