"Superman" seems less a cursed film than a cursed character. Several actors who portrayed the Man of Steel over the decades have suffered tragic accidents and unexpected deaths. In fact, the majority of the people who have played Superman or been involved in productions of "Superman" are now dead! Of course, the superhero first appeared on film in the 1940s, so that's not surprising. Plenty of Superman actors went on to have fine careers and died many years after they last donned the big, red cape. A few were even alive and well as of this writing. Furthermore, some of the events connected to the curse are ridiculous, like people getting fired from studios, suffering minor accidents or breaking up with their significant other.
So why is this such a famous Hollywood curse? Because of two high-profile tragedies that befell Superman actors. The first was George Reeves, who played the superhero in one film and in a popular 1950s TV series called "Adventures of Superman." Reeves became so closely identified with the character that he had a difficult time getting unrelated work. Reeves didn't consider the role interesting or challenging, and it didn't pay well [source: Patterson]. This seems to have created some inner turmoil and depression. On June 6, 1959, Reeves went upstairs at his own home, angry at the noise from a party his fiancee and some friends were having. Officially, he shot himself in the head, although the case is a famous Hollywood scandal, complete with alleged cover-ups and other unsubstantiated theories.
And then we have Christopher Reeve, who portrayed the last son of Krypton in a series of blockbuster films in the 1970s and '80s. He was severely injured when he was thrown from a horse in 1995, eight years after he last played Superman. The accident left him paralyzed from the neck down, but he continued to direct and act, and worked to promote research that could cure spinal injuries until his death in 2004.
Reeve's story is incredibly tragic, even more so when you consider that his wife Dana, who steadfastly supported Reeve after the injury, died of cancer less than two years after he died. In that story, we hear the strange echoes of George Reeves' own tragedy: their oddly similar names, their heroic image and their tragic end.