Noel Neill

Active - 1942 - 2016  |   Born - Nov 25, 1920 in Minneapolis, MN  |   Died - Jul 3, 2016 in Tucson, AZ  |   Genres - Comedy, Musical, Action, Western, Romance

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Diminutive, baby-faced actress Noel Neill entered films as a Paramount starlet in 1942. Though she was showcased in one of the musical numbers in The Fleet's In (1944) and was starred in the Oscar-nominated Technicolor short College Queen (1945), most of her Paramount assignments were thankless bit parts. She fared better as one of the leads in Monogram's Teen Agers series of the mid- to late '40s. In 1948 she was cast as intrepid girl reporter Lois Lane in the Columbia serial The Adventures of Superman, repeating the role in the 1950 chapter play Atom Man vs. Superman. At the time, she regarded it as just another freelance job, perhaps a little better than her cameos in such features as An American in Paris (in 1951 as the American art student) and DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth (1953). But someone was impressed by Neill's appealingly vulnerable interpretation of Lois Lane, and in 1953 she was hired to replace Phyllis Coates as Lois in the TV version of Superman. She remained with the series for 78 episodes, gaining an enormous fan following (consisting primarily of ten-year-old boys) if not a commensurately enormous bank account. Retiring to private life after the cancellation of Superman in 1958, she was brought back into the limelight during the nostalgia craze of the 1970s. She made countless lecture appearances on the college and film convention circuit, and in 1978 returned to films as Lois Lane's mother in the big-budget Superman: The Movie: alas, most of her part ended up on the cutting-room floor, and neither she nor fellow Adventures of Superman alumnus Kirk Alyn received billing. Noel Neill's last TV appearance to date was a guest spot in a 1991 episode of the syndicated The Adventures of Superboy; she made a cameo appearance in 2006's Superman Returns. Neill died in 2016, at age 95.

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