Noel Neill And Other Lois Lanes Through History

Lois Lane is one of the most powerful fictional characters. She’s beautiful, smart, and can out-write any man at the Daily Planet. Usually, being the lover of a superhero can cause the character to fall under the shadow of her super lover, but that’s not the case with this character who has a following of her own.

Inspiring women everywhere to excel in men-driven fields, Noel Neill (who passed away today at the age of 95) was one of the first live-action depictions of the heroine. Since then, the character has continued to grow and modernize through the years. But if it wasn’t for Neill’s pizzazz that she brought to the character, we may not have gotten the strong, witty, and independent figure we know today. In honour of Noel Neill’s legacy, let’s have a look at the role she brought to life and the other actors who have continued to breathe life into it since.

Noel Neill (1948-1950, 1953-1958)


Noel Neill was one of the first actors to portray the heroine onscreen, alongside Kirk Alyn in 1948’s Superman. She reprised her role in the follow-up film, Atom Man vs. Superman, and again on the TV series, Adventures of Superman, after Phyllis Coates’ departure. At the time, Lois Lane was one of the only working females on television. Neill gave the character a life of her own by bringing bravery, smarts, humour, and wit to her depiction.

Neill embraced her connection to the Superman empire and gave frequent talks at colleges throughout the years as the series continued to be revived. She would also appear in later films and television series in the franchise as Lois Lane’s mother.

Phyllis Coates (1951)


Phyllis Coates depicted Lois as a strong-willed woman with an epic “damsel in distress” scream. Because of other production commitments, Coates had a short run, only appearing in the first 26 episodes of Adventures of Superman, opposite George Reeve. As of today, she’s the last surviving cast member of the original live-action TV series.

Margot Kidder (1978-1987)


Opposite the late and great Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder played Lois during the longest-running era for Superman films. Starting in 1978, Superman I, II, III, and The Quest for Peace required the actor to maintain the role for nearly a decade. Kidder brought a new feel to the character, adding a liberated and perky persona, while maintaining the witty, intelligent, and hard-nose traits from previous depictions.

Teri Hatcher (1993-1997)


In the ‘90s, Teri Hatcher, opposite Dean Cain, played a different version of Lois. In Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Lois was put into a lot of damsel in distress situations, where the character was often kidnapped and/or tied up.  At the time of its inception, this was the first series to show more of the romance between Lois and Clark.

Erica Durance (2004-2011)


Erica Durance portrayed Lois during her teenage-to-early adult years on Smallville, with Tom Welling playing a young Superman. Sassy, sophisticated, and street-smart, this Lois wasn’t afraid to admit she had flaws. From rebellious teen to reporter, from hating Clark Kent to becoming engaged to him, this series saw a transformative aspect to the character that showed the audience how Lois came to be.