With the release of Superman Returns this week, I'll share the following revelation about my personal encounters with Brandon Routh: Way back when, I was once his paperboy. More truthfully, I was his parents' paperboy. Ron and Katie Routh lived less than a block away (a stone's throw, by Iowa terms) from my childhood home in Norwalk and their house was on my newpaper route. So before the rest of the world was able to see him in tights, I saw him in diapers (Note to Brandon, his agents, his lawyers, and his publicists: Don't worry, there are no pictures to sell to the tabloids).
I've been following with interest the commentary being made about Brandon with his breakthrough role in one of the summer blockbusters. Adjectives like humble, vulnerable, down-to-earth, level-headed, and shy come up frequently. It's not surprising. Growing up in a smaller Iowa town, whether it's the suburb of the capital city or out in the countryside, has a tendency to provide one with a sense of balance. Being around Iowans all my life, I've come to appreciate the no-nonsense, no-frills approach to life that's at the core of most of the "natives."
Brandon's parents, Ron and Katie, are truly the salt of the earth. All of the adjectives that have been used to describe Brandon are easily traceable to his parents. Katie (or should I say, "Mrs. Routh") was a substitute teacher for my classes from time to time. His dad worked in maintenance for a client of mine. When I was on that consulting assignment, Brandon's star was just barely becoming visible on the radar screen, and his dad (in the same shy, vulnerable way) wasn't sure what to make of his son's plans but at the same time appeared very proud of his sense of direction and his determination. My memories of both Ron and Katie are those of very solid, hardworking, humble, honest people.
Brandon, if you're reading this: Congratulations on knowing how to "Carpe Factum"! You've done well and you've earned the accolades. Maintain all of the great things people are saying about your character now, and you will hold the title of Superman for a long, long time... both inside and outside your acting career.