Actress Noel Neill who played Lois Lane, the intrepid reporter on the Adventures of Superman television series has died at the age of 95.
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 November 25, 1920, in Minneapolis and after high school she travelled to California and found a job as a singer at a restaurant which led to a contract with the Paramount movie studio.
She had a series of small film roles in the 1940s but 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.
Rest in Peace Noel Neill. The most iconic Lois Lane there was. Born in Minneapolis. pic.twitter.com/qRCM8Wi8Gt
— Brent Schoonover (@brentschoonover) July 4, 2016
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.
They reprised their roles in another serial, Superman and the Mole Men, but neither was cast when Adventures of Superman was adapted for television.
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.
The show hit the air just as television was becoming a social force in the US and became a favourite of generations of children.
The TV Superman, played by George Reeves, was faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive in his blue tights and red cape as he fought for “truth, justice and the American way”.
Neill said she was often asked why Lane never caught on to Kent’s secret identity, and would respond, “I didn’t want to lose my job”.
Adventures of Superman went off the air in 1958. Plans for a new season ended in 1959 with the gunshot death of Reeves, which was ruled a suicide. With that, Neill ended her career.
“I just figured I’d worked enough,” she told the New York Times in 2006.
“I didn’t have any great ambition. Basically, I’m a beach bum. I was married, we lived near the beach. That was enough for me.”
When the Superman franchise was revived in 1978 as a big-budget movie with Christopher Reeve in the starring role, Neill made a cameo appearance as Lane’s mother.
Neill also served as the model for the statue of Lois Lane, poised with pen and notepad, that was unveiled in 2010 in Metropolis, Illinois, which promotes itself as Superman’s hometown.