RIP Christopher Dennis — Hollywood Superman Dead At 52

He was a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

How Did Christopher Dennis Die? New Details On Death Of Hollywood Boulevard Superman At 52 Getty

Hollywood Boulevard is an iconic location filled with iconic characters — and the people who impersonate them. One of the most recognizable street performers in the area was Christopher Dennis, a man who spent most of his life dressing as Superman and posing for photos with people along Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame.

Dennis was such a familiar figure that he gained his own kind of fame. He was a frequent guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Daily Show and was the subject of a documentary in 2007 about street performers. He even got married in the Super Museum in Metropolis, Illinois as a tribute to the character he loved.


Now Christopher Dennis has passed away in Los Angeles. He was 52 years old.

In the weeks since Dennis passed away, his friends have rallied to keep his memory alive and give him a proper burial. Vladislav Kozlov, a documentarian who has been recording details of Dennis’s life is raising money for funeral costs. On the GoFundMe page, he shared some of the tragic details of what Dennis’ life was like in the days before his death. "Chris, who is known as the most iconic Hollywood street performer, was homeless for the past 3 years and struggled with mental and substance issues,” Kozlov wrote.  "Many people tried helping Chris, but unfortunately at that point, he was already beyond help.”Kozlov hopes to be able to have Dennis laid to rest at Hollywood Forever cemetery. 

Kozlov has also spent the past five years compiling interviews and film footage of Dennis in the hopes of making a movie about his life. The film is titled American Superman and, in an email to this website, Vozlov claimed it will show "how he lost his Superman costume, became homeless, went to jail, got married in Vegas, finally met his father 30 years after he put Chris in an orphanage and disowned him. Also, it shows his battle with crystal meth...up until his tragic death.” 
There is no release date yet for the project. 

How did Christopher Dennis die? Read on for all the details. 

1. Becoming a superhero

While costumed figures who pose for photos with tourists aren't unusual now, Dennis says he was the first to start performing on Hollywood Boulevard that way. In 2017, he told The Guardian “I’m the first character that did this out there on Hollywood," he said. "I came up with an idea while I was waiting tables. These people that I’m waiting on keep saying how much I look like Christopher Reeve or Superman. So I jimmy-rigged an outfit. They loved it." 

He would pose with tourists for tips and eventually inspired a whole local industry of street performers who would do the same thing. Now you can see performers dressed as everything from The Joker to Spiderman. 


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2. Fame as Superman

Dennis quickly became a tourist attraction and a fixture on Hollywood Boulevard. He posed with tourists and earned enough money doing that to have his own mobile home, a large collection of Superman memorabilia, and a small measure of notoriety. He was so committed to the character that he held his wedding at the Superman Museum." In a statement about his death, the museum said: "Many years ago he married the love of his life here in Metropolis in front of the Superman statue."

He was a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live a number of times, giving him a nationwide audience. He was also the subject of a 2007 documentary called Confessions of a Superhero, which followed four different street performers who wore superhero costumes. 

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3. Dark times for the hero

The Hollywood Reporter notes that things took a dark turn for Dennis in 2016 when his motor home was towed and he lost all his belongings. He was left homeless and became a victim of violence at that time. "While I was homeless, one of the homeless guys, he beat me down with golf clubs, stole my outfit and left me for dead," Dennis told The Guardian. "I felt like I was dead because I was now without a job, I lost my dignity and my pride." 

He was a well-known figure on Hollywood Boulevard.


4. Bringing Superman back

In the period when he didn't have a home or a costume to use for work, he had to beg for money. "I found myself panhandling on the corner. I had to do something," he said. Eventually, thanks to a fundraiser he started, he was able to raise the money to get a new costume and resume his work as a performer, Page Six reports

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5. Death at 52 years old

TMZ is now reporting that Dennis has died at the age of 52. His body was reportedly found in the San Fernando Valley, in a bin usually used for clothing donations. Authorities say they do not suspect foul play and think Dennis, who was homeless again, was rummaging in the bin to find clothes for himself. An official cause of death has not been released. 

Dennis passed away over the weekend.


6. People remember Hollywood Superman

Jimmy Kimmel issued a statement upon learning of Dennis's passing. “Chris was a sweet guy who appeared on our show many times and was well-liked by everyone at Jimmy Kimmel Live. We will miss him,” said Kimmel. 

The Super Museum in Metropolis, Illinois wrote "We've known Chris for many years," the museum statement reads in part. "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. And we pray for comfort to those who loved and cared about him."

Dennis was grateful for the character he played and the way it made him feel to wear that costume. "When I put on this suit, I am Superman," he said to The Guardian. "I think it has made me a better person." 

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.