The first live-action Lois Lane, The Adventures of Superman's Noel Neill, has passed away, according to reports. She was 95.
One of Neill's personal friends posted the news to Facebook, and it's working its way into the fan community via a post at Bleeding Cool.
Neill was born in 1920. In her teens, she began modeling and her pin-up was reportedly second only to Betty Grable's in terms of popularity among American servicemen during World War II. She graduated from high school in 1938 -- the same year Superman first appeared in the comics.
She signed with Paramount in the 1940s and appeared in, among other things, the final Charlie Chan movie. She had a recurring role as Betty Rogers in movies like Freddie Steps Out, Sarge Goes to College, and Campus Sleuth. She also had roles in The Adventures of Frank and Jesse James and in The Lone Ranger TV series in 1951.
Neill's last onscreen appearance was ten years ago this week, in Superman Returns. She has an outstanding credit remaining on her IMDb page, though, with Surge of Power: Revenge of the Sequel, in which she will play "Aunt Lois," reprising her role from the 2004 Surge of Power.
Neill has dozens of screen credits to her name, and has appeared in feature films, on television and on the stage -- but it was in 1948 that she found stardom as Lois Lane in the first film serial with actor Kirk Alyn. She would star opposite Alyn again in Atom Man vs. Superman, and then go on to join the cast of The Adventures of Superman when it headed to television in 1953.
Since the show ended in 1958, Neill has done very little onscreen work, preferring to be a stay-at-home mom and work behind the scenes at United Artists Television. She has, however, often appeared in Superman-related productions, often as a relative of Lois Lane's, as well as in the aforementioned Surge of Power films. Neill had appearances in 1978's Superman: The Movie, and in the 1980s TV series Superboy, before her Superman Returns cameo.
An authorized biography of Neill titled Truth, Justice, & The American Way: The Life And Times Of Noel Neill, The Original Lois Lane was published in 2003 by author Larry Thomas Ward. In the mid-2000s, Neill and her co-star Jack Larson (who played Jimmy Olsen) contributed commentary tracks and other bonus features to The Adventures of Superman DVDs. Neill was the last surviving cast member of The Adventures of Superman's later seasons, although her predecessor as TV's Lois, Phyllis Coates (who appeared in Superman vs. The Mole Men and the first season of The Adventures of Superman), is still alive.
In 2005, The Metropolis Chamber of Commerce, Metropolis Illinois, announced that they would construct a statue in Neill's honor. Revenue from commemorative bricks and plaques helped pay for the sculpting and the placement of the six foot, bronze statue which is located a few blocks from the world famous 15-foot-tall Superman statue. A groundbreaking ceremony for statue took place during the 2009 Superman Celebration.