Christopher Dennis, the “Hollywood Superman” who posed for thousands of photos with tourists outside the famed TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, has died.
He was 52.
Dennis, who was homeless, was found in a used clothing donation bin in Van Nuys, a neighborhood about 10 miles from the tourist district where he earned a living, Deadline reported. Police told the website he was likely looking for something to wear and that no foul play was suspected.
“Chris had a love for Superman, and an uncanny resemblance to Christopher Reeve,” the museum said.
Reeve played the Man of Steel in four Superman films and later guided a younger version of the character in the hit TV show “Smallville.” In 2017, Dennis told the Guardian that it was his resemblance to Reeve that inspired him to put on the cape.
“While I was waiting tables, these people that I’m waiting on, keep saying how much I looked like Christopher Reeve, or Superman,” he said. “So I jimmy-rigged an outfit. They loved it.”
He claimed to be the first costumed character along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where many now pose for photos in exchange for tips.
“He was the only person that looked exactly like Christopher Reeve,” Reginald Jackson, who plays Spider-Man on the boulevard, told ABC Los Angeles. “He could get a lot of photos and people loved him out here as Superman.”
Dennis was featured several times on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” which tapes nearby and often does segments on the streets outside the studio.
“Chris was a sweet guy who appeared on our show many times and was well-liked by everyone at ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live,’” a spokesperson for the show told The Hollywood Reporter. “We will miss him.”
Dennis also appeared in a number of films, including “Confessions of a Superhero,” a 2007 documentary about the costumed characters of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
His fortunes took a turn for a worse in recent years. Dennis told CBS Los Angeles that in 2017, he was beaten with a golf club and robbed. The attacker allegedly stole his money and his costume.
Dennis survived for a while by panhandling. He also told CBS that he struggled with drugs. But with the help of a friend, he raised enough money online to buy a new costume and returned to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
“I started losing faith in humanity,” he said. “And these people who have donated have shown me there is humanity.”
At the time, Dennis said the money from the campaign would also help him find a new place to live.
“Chris has had many struggles and ups and downs over the years. We hope that he is at peace now,” the Superman Museum said on Facebook. “And we pray for comfort to those who loved and cared about him.”
Given the reaction and tributes on social media, that includes a great many of those who have crossed paths with the Hollywood Superman: