Christopher Dennis, better known as Hollywood Boulevard’s Superman, has died at 52.
The news first emerged through TMZ, who reported that Dennis had been found dead Saturday in the San Fernando Valley. The news outlet said that his body was discovered “lying headfirst in a bin that’s used for clothing donations.”
His cause of death is currently unknown, and Los Angeles County authorities declined to offer any further information.
Dennis spent more than 25 years wearing the Superman costume; he was one of many performers who have become fixtures along Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, dressed as iconic pop culture characters to entertain and pose for photos with tourists. In a 2017 interview with The Guardian, he claimed to be the first person to do so.
“I came up with an idea while I was waiting tables,” he said. “These people that I’m waiting on keep saying how much I looked like Christopher Reeve, or Superman. So I jimmy-rigged an outfit. They loved it.”
Dennis also made multiple appearances on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” and was one of several of Hollywood Boulevard’s costumed performers to be profiled in the 2007 documentary “Confessions of a Superhero.”
In 2016, his motor home was towed away, leaving him homeless. He told The Guardian, “While I was homeless, one of the homeless guys, he beat me down with golf clubs, stole my outfit, and left me for dead. I felt like I was dead because I was now without a job. I lost my dignity and my pride. So, I found myself panhandling on a corner.”
Through a Kickstarter campaign started by supporters, Dennis succeeded in raising enough donations to buy a new Superman costume and find temporary lodging, but according to the report on TMZ, he “fell on hard times” and may have been homeless again.
In his Guardian interview, he said, “When I put on this suit, I am Superman. No matter how little, I’ve got people that say, ‘Hello, Superman, how are you today?’ After meeting me, they walk away with that feeling, ‘My God, we just met Superman. That’s the real one.’”
The Super Museum in Metropolis, Illinois, dedicated to Superman history and memorabilia, confirmed the death on social media, writing, “We’ve known Chris for many years. Many years ago, he married the love of his life here in Metropolis in front of the Superman statue. He spent time with our family and showed lots of support for our museum and the Superman Celebration.
“Chris has had many struggles and ups and downs over the years. We hope that he is at peace now,” the statement continues. “And we pray for comfort to those who loved and cared about him.”