RIP Noel Neill, the Original Lois Lane

Noel Neill, the first actress to play the live-action version of Lois Lane, died July 3 at the age of 95, at her home in Tucson, Arizona.

The news was announced on Facebook by a close friend, Jim Nolt, who also manages the website, The Adventures Continue, which is devoted to George Reeves and the 1950s television series, The Adventures of Superman.

Neill first appeared in the iconic role in a 1948 movie serial, opposite Kirk Alyn who played Superman and Our Gang alum Tommy Bond, who was Jimmy Olsen. The popularity of Superman led to a second 15-episode serial, Atom Man Vs. Superman, in 1950.

When The Adventures of Superman arrived on television in 1952, it featured a new cast, with Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane, George Reeves as Superman and Jack Larson as Jimmy Olsen.  Neill returned as Lois in the second season and continued through the show’s run, which ended in 1958. Here’s an interview with Neill and Larson on the occasion of the show’s 50th anniversary:

Born in Minneapolis in 1920, the daughter of a newspaper editor and vaudeville performer, Noel made close to 100 films, including many Westerns. In the 1940s, she also starred as teenager Betty Rogers in a series of comedic musicals focused on a group of high schoolers in a prototypical American town.

Nolt described Noel as “kind, selfless, hardworking, funny with a quick wit, and assertive – all the same qualities that embodied the character of Lois Lane.”

“Noel truly was Lois Lane, and for many of us, she was the first working woman seen on television,” he added.

If you’d like to watch Noel in the role for which she became famous, The Adventures of Superman is available on Amazon Video for $1.99 per episode.  Watch here.

You can also view the series for free on Me-TV on Saturday evenings.  Check here for your local listings.

The original movie serials are available on disc, which you can also order on Amazon.

About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

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