Noel Neill, 1920-2016, was the first actress to star as Lois Lane on the big screen. She also portrayed the part of Lois Lane in the series The Adventures of Superman. She died on July 3 at the age of 95.
The Daily Mail reported that Noel Neill first starred as Lois Lane in 1948. She later portrayed the wife of Kevin Spacey’s Lex Luther in Superman Returns, a Superman movie released in 2006. Neill, who was born to a journalist father, became the most famous reporter on screen in her portrayal of Lois Lane.
She first began her career as Lois Lane in 1948 with a 15-chapter serial made by Columbia Pictures that appeared in theaters. Neill starred opposite Kirk Alyn, the first actor to portray Superman on the big screen. In 1950, the pair reunited again to star in another 15-part serial called Atom Man V Superman. It was later revealed in the plot that Atom Man was actually Lex Luther, Superman’s main nemesis.
Actress Noel Neill, who played Lois Lane in the Adventures Of Superman television series, has died https://t.co/olvV2SfU6t
— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 5, 2016
Comic Book reported that Noel Neill was the first live-action Lois Lane. One of Neill’s friends posted about her death on Facebook, and the news is making the rounds at Bleeding Cool. She started her career as a teenager posing as a pin-up model, and it was reported that the only pin-up more popular than hers during World War II was Betty Grable.
Her acting career began when she signed with Paramount Pictures in the 1940s and starred in the last Charlie Chan movie. She had recurring roles in Freddie Steps Out, Sarge Goes to College, and Campus Sleuth, and she also had a role in The Lone Ranger television series in 1951. Her final appearance on screen was in Superman Returns in 2006.
Noel Neill, Actress Who Played First Lois Lane, Dies at 95 https://t.co/V2PwMp7zlp
— Variety (@Variety) July 4, 2016
Although Neill had dozens of film and television credits, it was her role as Lois Lane that made her famous. She starred in the television series in 1953. When the show ended in 1958, her film and television career largely dried up, and she had few roles after that. She did appear as a relative of Lois Lane in the Surge of Power productions, and she was featured in the 1980s television series Super Boy. Along with co-star Jack Larson, who played Jimmy Olsen, she also contributed commentary tracks to The Adventures of Superman when they went to DVD.
— Barefoot Pagan (@barefootpagan) July 5, 2016
Entertainment Weekly reported that Noel Darleen Neill passed away at her Tuscon, Arizona, home after an extended illness. Her death was confirmed by her biographer, Larry Ward, via editor Jim Nolt on Facebook. Ward said that Neil was kind, selfless and hardworking, and she embodied all the characteristics of Lois Lane.
“Noel truly was Lois Lane, and for many of us, she was the first working woman seen on television. Few of her fans actually knew her real name, almost always simply calling her ‘Lois’ to which she would unfailing answer with a bright smile and a kind word. It was more than a role to her. ‘Lois’ was someone she believed in and a character she happily and warmly embraced.”
Noel Neill, 1920-2016, worked on a number of westerns before starring in her most famous role. She also sang with Bing Crosby’s band at the Del Mar racetrack. Her roles also included portraying Lois Lane’s mother, Ella, in 1978’s Superman, and she portrayed Gertrude Vanderworth in 2006’s Superman Returns, Lex Luther’s wife.
[Photo by Robert Mora/Getty Images]