For a generation of Superman fans there will only ever be one real Man of Steel, the late great Christopher Reeve. 1978's Superman: The Movie still holds up today as a brilliant example on just how to bring a comic-book character to the screen. But Reeve was not the only actor to portray the last son of Krypton, three youngsters depicted Kal-El / Clark Kent in the early parts of the movie. Whatever happened to them?...
Lee, from Eastbourne, played the baby version on Kal-El in Superman: The Movie. He was seven months old at the time and was the first non-American to play any version of Superman, it was his first and only acting job. Sadly he died in 1991 aged just 14 after inhaling solvents. Many people associate his passing with the supposed 'Curse of Superman'.
Aaron's first acting role was as at the tender age of two playing "Baby Clark Kent". He clearly caught the acting bug as he followed this up at the age of seven with a small cameo in Superman III, playing "Boy at Photo Booth"...
...Between 1996 to the early 2000's Aaron made a living acting in a variety of television productions, he then returned to the world of Superman with another cameo as a "Communications Officer" in 2013's Man of Steel. Here he is..
...Next up for Aaron is something of a role reversal as he's playing Lex Luthor in a new fan film due out in 2017 titled Superman vs Doomsday.
If you were impressed by Aaron Smolinski's resume then Jeff East's will knock you out!
By the time Jeff appeared as "Young Clark Kent" in Superman: The Movie he was practically an acting veteran. He played Huckleberry Finn in 1973's Tom Sawyer movie and reprised the role for the following year's sequel. Jeff went on to star in multiple episodes of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, and at the age of 19 found out he really enjoyed running alongside trains, but was indifferent to American Football (aren't we all?)...
...East was primarily cast due to his likeness to Christopher Reeve, but it wasn't quite perfect so he wore a prosthetic nose and wig for the role and, voilà, the resemblance was, er, pretty good indeed! However the vocal difference between the two actors was just too much for the producers of the movie and so during post-production all of East's dialogue was removed and replaced with a dubbed over Christopher Reeve.
East was about as happy with this decision as he was when he discovered someone had snapped the end off his lightsaber...
...Later in an interview, East revealed,
"[I was] not happy about it because the producers never told me what they had in mind! It was done without my permission … Chris did a good job, but it caused tension between us!"So he never returned to the world of Superman, although footage of him in the first movie appeared in the opening montage of Superman II, but East did continue to act into the 90's and regularly appeared in productions on both the big and small screens. He popped up in M*A*S*H, the Lance Henricksen starring horror Pumpkinhead, and was even seen in Doogie Howser, M.D. More recently East has made a return to acting, appearing as "Becker" in the 2015 drama Terminal. Nope, I've not heard of it either!
And that's what happened to the young Kal-El's from Superman: The Movie.
Geek. Lover. Fighter. Dwarf. Follow Wil on Twitter.