Supergirl's Lex Luthor Actor Jon Cryer Wishes Gene Hackman a Happy 90th Birthday

Over the years, Supergirl has introduced new takes on iconic DC Comics characters, including Jon Cryer's Lex Luthor. While there have certainly been a lot of different interpretations on the iconic Superman villain, Cryer has turned his Luthor into an interesting mix of evil and genuinely entertaining. Decades before Cryer slipped into the role, he still had an interesting tie to the fictional world, playing Lenny Luthor, the plucky nephew of Gene Hackman's Lex, in 1987's Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. On Thursday, Cryer took to social media to wish Hackman - or as he called him, "Uncle Lex" - a happy 90th birthday, and to praise the icon for his take on the role.

Cryer has previously been candid about his decades-long tie to the Luthor family, joking that he took on the Supergirl role as a way to make up for Lenny's shortcomings.

“I had a certain amount of familiarity,” Cryer joked last year. “I was very excited about working with Katie McGrath, and I loved the whole story that they’ve set up for this season. I felt like Lenny was a branch on the family tree that fell off pretty early and was rotting on the ground for a long while. So I feel like this was my chance to sort of reclaim it and do it a little more justice — or injustice, as it were.”

"This is one of the roles, I took without reading it," Cryer said of joining Supergirl. "Jessica [Queller] had told me a little about what they wanted to do, sort of bare bones, but for me, I really had to wait until I got the actual words, and so, okay, who is this guy and what does he talk like? I had to wait until I saw that, to figure out where we wanted to go. I mean, we talked about who we loved, and obviously, we loved [Gene] Hackman and I was a big fan of Michael Rosenbaum from Smallville. It was never quite articulated. We always kind of left it up in the air and said, 'Let's see where this goes.'"


Cryer's Lex has grown to have an interesting role in the Arrowverse as a whole, after he essentially rewrote reality and cemented himself as one of the seven Paragons in the fight against the Anti-Monitor in "Crisis on Infinite Earths". In the current post-"Crisis" world, Lex is seen as a prolific humanitarian and a hero -- to the dismay of everyone who remembers the pre-"Crisis" timeline.

Supergirl airs Sundays at 9/8c on The CW.