Noel Neill, Lois Lane in 'Superman' TV series, dies at 95

Tue Jul 5, 2016 11:47am EDT
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(Corrects this July 4 story to deletes reference to Neill in "Superman and the Mole Men" in sixth paragraph.)

By Bill Trott

Actress Noel Neill, who played Lois Lane, the intrepid reporter on the "Adventures of Superman" television series who never quite figured out her Daily Planet colleague Clark Kent was The Man of Steel, has died at the age of 95, a friend said on Monday.

Neill died on Sunday at her home in Tucson, Arizona, after a long illness, Jim Nolt, the owner of "The Adventures Continue" website dedicated to the 1950s TV show, said in a statement.

Neill was born on Nov. 25, 1920, in Minneapolis, where her father was a journalist at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Shortly after high school she traveled to California and found a job as a singer at a restaurant at the Del Mar racetrack. Her connections at the track led to a contract with the Paramount movie studio.

She had a series of small film roles, many of them uncredited, in the 1940s. There was no substantial work until 1948, when Columbia Pictures borrowed Neill to make 15 episodes of a comic book-based movie serial about a man from another planet who discovers he has super-human strength and is impervious to bullets.

Kirk Alyn was cast as the star of "Superman" and the petite red-headed, blue-eyed Neill was Lois Lane, his friend and co-worker at the Daily Planet.

Neither was cast when "Adventures of Superman" was adapted for television.

But when the original TV Lois Lane, Phyllis Coates, left the show after one season, Neill stepped back into the role that would define her career and make her part of one of American television's most enduring series.   Continued...

Actors Jack Larson (L) and Noel Neill, who played Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane respectively in the 1952 Superman television series, pose for photograph during the Superman Returns DVD and video game launch party in Hollywood November 16, 2006. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas