Noel Neill, TV's Lois Lane, Dead at 95

Noel Neill, best known for her role as Lois Lane in the 1950s series Adventures of Superman, died Sunday in Arizona after a long illness. She was 95.

The actress’ friend, manager and biographer, Larry Ward, confirmed the news in a lengthy Facebook tribute.

Neill made her debut as TV’s Lois starting with Season 2, replacing Phyllis Coates in the role. She actually first played the icon reporter in the 1948 Superman film serial (opposite Kirk Alyn). She had cameos in the 1978 Superman film (which marked Christopher Reeve’s debut as the Man of Steel) as well as 2006’s Superman Returns (starring Brandon Routh).

“Her work in The Adventures of Superman… best defined and cemented her legacy as ‘the intrepid reporter.'” Ward wrote. “After years of playing bit parts in bad films and great roles in forgotten films, she finally found her niche. As a teenager she knew all about the newspaper business from her father and she had also actually written for Women’s Wear Daily in the late 1930s, so it was a role she believed she was born to play. And as she would admit in interviews later in life, she simply played herself.”

Ward added that Neill “maintained that bright, perky and engaging personality up until her death.”

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14 Comments
  1. LJ Bissonnette says:

    I liked Superman’s girlfriend. But I always wondered why she couldn’t tell Clark and Superman were one and the same as a pair of glasses never hid the fact that they were identical.

    • PatriciaLee says:

      Because no one could ever tell in the comics, either…haha. In fact there was an episode in The Adventures of Superman with Cain where they went to an alternate universe and the reveal was the norm. It provided funny dialogue with our Lois, Hatcher. Charming.

  2. PatriciaLee says:

    Noel gave a generation of women confidence to enter the workforce as classy, elegant, intelligent women, holding their own and not afraid to speak up. But it was a shock to find out that she had red hair! We, also, learned nothing was sacred in bringing comics to film…haha.

    • drhenning says:

      the red hair was the biggest surprise to me when my family got a color TV in the early 60’s… The Lois in my comic books had black hair and on our B&W TV, it was dark.. We all knew what Superman’s costume was so when we finally saw color Superman episodes in NYC, it was no surprise…

  3. iHeart says:

    man she really embraced the Superman legacy.

  4. WhatIknow says:

    My gosh, I had just looked up her info on Wikipedia and IMDb last week after the short “Stamp Day For Superman” was riffed at the MST3K reunion.

    Noel Neill also appeared in a memorable episode of “Superboy” in 1991.

  5. rsteele57 says:

    As a child, who still believed in hero’s I thought it must be great to be Superman’s friend and be a reporter who was always where things were happen. I believed it all was real. I wish that that innocence of childhood could have lasted. Thank you Noel Neill for being such a big part of my early youth.

  6. Kevin In CT says:

    Ah man, such a very nice and classy lady! So sad.

  7. Marco Piazzo says:

    She was at her best even in the worst movies she did, like Invasion USA. She will be dearly missed.

    • Weimaraner says:

      Noel Neill only had a small role in “Invasion USA.”

      Did you know that Phyllis Coates is in that movie, too?

  8. Lois Lane… a Class Act! She’ll never be forgotten. So Cute and Perky.I still watch and Love
    The Superman shows today.

  9. Lois Lane a Class Act! So Cute Perky and Determined. I’ll never forget her. Still Watch and Love The Superman Series.