Noel Neill, who played screen’s first Lois Lane in two Superman film serials as well as the television series Adventures of Superman, died on Sunday at her home in Tucson, Arizona, after a long illness. She was 95.
She first played the intrepid Daily Planet reporter – and the Man of Steel’s love interest – in the 1948 cinema serial Superman in 1948, opposite Kirk Alyn as the the Kryptonian superhero. The pair reunited in 1950 for a sequel serial, Atom Man vs Superman. Both were 15 episodes long.
She then played the role again on TV in the TV series Adventures Of Superman opposite George Reeves from 1953-1958, although the wasn’t the original TV Lois Lane. She replaced Phyllis Coates who played the role in the first season in 1952, but Neill went on to become the definitive Lois Lane of ’50s TV.
After the series ended Neill retired from acting for a long while. “I just figured I’d worked enough, I didn’t have any great ambition,” she told The New York Times in 2006. “Basically, I’m a beach bum. I was married, we lived near the beach, that was enough for me.” But her place in Superman screen history meant she was lured back to play a cameo role as Lois Lane’s mum in Superman The Movie (1978). Neill then showed up on a 1991 episode of the TV series Superboy, and she was played Gertrude Vanderworth in the opening scene of Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns (2006).