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Noel Neill, TV’s Lois Lane, 1920 – 2016

by on July 5, 2016

Actor Noel Neill passed away at the age of 95 on Sunday, July 3, 2016, at her home in Tuscon, AZ, after a long illness. She was best known as the first screen Lois Lane, bringing the intrepid comic book reporter to life first opposite Kirk Alyn’s Clark Kent/Superman in 1948 in Columbia Superman movie serial, and then in the early 1950’s TV series The Adventures of Superman opposite George Reeves (where she replaced actor Phyllis Coates, who played Lois for the show’s first season). Her portrayal of the character was so iconic that a life-size statue of Lois Lane erected in Metropolis, IL, in 2010 was modeled after her.

Ms. Neill was a veteran of about 40 films when she was cast as Lois Lane, and moved away from acting after The Adventures of Superman was canceled in 1958, working for a time in the United Artists television department (where one assignment was handling Tom Selleck’s fan mail). However, the show was a perennial in syndicated re-runs, creating a fanbase that spanned several generations and eventually leading to cameo roles in assorted Superman-related projects including a cameo in the 1978 Christopher Reeve movie Superman (where she and Kirk Alyn played the parents to a very young Lois Lane), a role in the 1991 The Adventures of Superboy TV series, a part in the 2004 Superman-themed Seinfeld episode “Hindsight is 20/20,” the 2004 superhero spoof Surge of Power (where she played “Aunt Lois,” apparently reprising the role in the a sequel that is listed as in post-production), and the 2006 Brandon Routh movie Superman Returns.

(Additional material from The New York Times‘ obituary¬†and the Internet Movie Database.)

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