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.
The Superman Museum in Metropolis, Ill., shared the news in a Facebook post extending “deepest condolences.”
“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:
NO. Oh no. He was a truly great and beautiful human being. This is heartbreaking. https://t.co/uiV8bD32P3— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) November 7, 2019
RIP Christopher Dennis. He’d been dressing as Superman on Hollywood Blvd since the early 90s. He would sneak in to the alley to smoke. Last time I saw him he was walking in to a dispensary in his regular clothes. A rare peek of him in Clark Kent form. Best Superman ever. pic.twitter.com/CN88OJ7akf— Rod Melancon (@RodMelancon) November 6, 2019
Rest in peace, Hollywood Blvd Superman Christopher Dennis - a gentle soul, especially compared to some of the other Hollywood Blvd costumed characters, who are maniacs. pic.twitter.com/4rfUPVMg2k— Rick G. Rosner (@dumbassgenius) November 6, 2019
Having been a Blvd Character. I had the pleasure of meeting Chris.— Mick Motor (@MickMotor) November 7, 2019
I gotta say he was a super dude.
RIP Superman. https://t.co/d7n4gOrCP6
This breaks my heart.— Superman (@SupermanTweets) November 7, 2019
RIP Christopher Dennis 🌹 pic.twitter.com/5x4MbVPCpb
Horrible news about Hollywood Superman Christopher Dennis.— Amy Nicholson (@TheAmyNicholson) November 7, 2019
If you haven't seen the doc CONFESSIONS OF A SUPERHERO, it's a must. https://t.co/irD4HqHEid
I just learned that Christopher Dennis has passed away. He was a #Superman impersonator who worked on Hollywood Blvd. for years and often made his way to @SupermanCele. I met him in 2005 and was impressed that he called for Blue Kryptonite when he saw my Bizarro shirt. RIP Chris. pic.twitter.com/pw10rYhiN5— Always Hold On To Smallville (@alwaysmallville) November 6, 2019
RIP Christopher Dennis. Part of the slightly sad, always curious, completely wonderful Hollywood ephemera. pic.twitter.com/vanc85V3FT— brian bernard murnane (@GogBrianBernard) November 6, 2019
Sad news. Christopher Dennis was kind to me when I met him in San Diego many years ago. The documentary I saw later (and subsequent news stories) revealed he was quite troubled. I hope he is at peace. https://t.co/o8lshZPqMl pic.twitter.com/TxJMMlz0ny— Don Sparrow (@DonnySparrow) November 6, 2019
If You're a Superman fan and you don't know who Christopher Dennis is, I HIGHLY recommend you watch the documentary 'The Confessions Of A Superhero' to learn about him, and to know why he was such an important face for this fan base, and nerd culture in general.#DC #Superman pic.twitter.com/mDPpdJLKiR— Ryan🇨🇦(Sick) (@100Percent_Geek) November 6, 2019
Also on HuffPost
Earl Thomas Conley
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.