Clayton “Bud” Collyer

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Clayton Collyer

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Manhattan, New York, USA


Born in Manhattan to Clayton Johnson Heermance and Caroline Collyer as Clayton Johnson Heermance Jr., Clayton “Bud” Collyer initially intended to pursue law as his profession. While attending Fordham University, he began work as a radio singer and announcer. Upon graduation, he took a job as a law clerk, but continued to moonlight as a voice actor, the latter of which soon became the more lucrative career path. Taking on his mother’s maiden name, Collyer entered acting full-time in the 1940s, providing voiceover for such radio shows as Ripley’s Believe it or Not!The Guiding Light, and The Goldbergs.

Collyer played what is perhaps now his best-remembered role, Superman and his mild-mannered alter ego Clark Kent, in the early 1940s. First lending his talents to the radio serial, he soon reprised the role for Fleischer Studios’ cartoon adaptation. He worked on this series until 1949. Legend has it that Collyer’s propensity for taking small vacations from voice acting led to the Man of Steel’s vulnerability to Kryptonite: the series’ writers came up with the substance, and its weakening effects, in order to explain Superman’s occasional absence from the airwaves. 

Like many radio actors, Collyer moved to television in the 1950s, hosting the game shows Tell the Truth and Beat the Clock. During this time he also became involved in the anti-Communist movement, aiding in the publication of Red Channels, which outlined 151 film, television, and entertainment workers with reputed ties to Communist organizations. 

He passed away in 1969 in Greenwich, Connecticut from a circulatory ailment. 

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