Look up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane! It’s Superman! The man of steel evokes fan worship from his adoring public – as in the entire world – because he’s one of the first, if not the most popular comic book hero ever. No matter if you like Batman, Spider-Man, Hulk or Wonder Woman more, there’s one caped protector who overshadows them all – Superman. It’s been seven decades of comic powered fun from the DC Comics gang. We love Kal-El of Krypton, geeky cheeky Jimmy Olsen, grizzled Perry White, and the eternal nerd Clark Kent. However, the adventurous attraction to Superman isn’t just about a guy, but a girl as well – namely one Lois Lane.
Ms. Lane sports no super powers, nor works overtime to hide a mysterious secret identity. She doesn’t wear a nifty power ring like Green Lantern to standout. Yet without this intrepid Daily Planet reporter, Superman would have less to fight for, less to care about, and so would we. Sure, Kryptonian Kal-El loves his adopted Earth home. He cares deeply for friends like billionaire Bruce Wayne, and there are many reasons he flies high and fights long, but behind this super focused gentleman, there’s a noble lady. In the TV and movie incarnations, we focus on actors like Christopher Reeve, Dean Cain or Brandon Routh (Superman Returns), but the plain truth and justice is the actress playing Lois Lane is nearly as important as the Kryptonite kid himself.
Born in 1920 and almost 90, still going strong actress Noel Neil makes fellow senior Betty White (88) seem like a junior. She landed the plum role of Lois Lane in the first Superman (1948) theatrical film. It was actually a 15 part black and white Columbia serial. In 1953, Neil reprised her role for the landmark TV series with George Reeves, taking over for Phyllis Coates, after the TV show’s first season. Neil also participated in the blockbuster Superman movie with Christopher Reeve, playing who else but Lois Lane’s mom. She turned in a cameo as Lex Luthor’s wife opposite Kevin Spacey in Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns (2006).
In 1978’s Superman directed by Richard Donner, and opposite Christopher Reeve, she burst upon the international cinema scene as Lois Lane, after beating out such actresses as Stockard Channing and Anne Archer for the iconic role. Kidder infused a playful, almost childlike quality in her dealings with Reeve’s superhero, and their chemistry was a main reason the film is still so cherished. Kidder played in all four Reeve Superman films, though was relegated to a much smaller part in the Richard Pryor headlined third outing. Canadian born Margot Kidder became an American citizen in 2005.
Before she garnered fans for being delightfully desperate on ABC’s hit TV show Desperate Housewives, Terri Hatcher played Lois Lane opposite Dean Cain’s Superman. Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman ran on the ABC network for four seasons. Keeping with the more down to Earth spirit of the show, Lois herself was top billed, and the show saw the couple focus more on their relationship dynamics, than on Superman’s heroic mission of defending Earth.
Now in its 10th and final season, Smallville is the longest running TV series to portray the man, or in this case, the teen of steel. Starring Tom Welling as Clark ‘Kal-El’ Kent, the TV show portrays Superman coming to grips with his super powers and destiny, while living and working on his parent’s farm in the town of Smallville. It took a few seasons to finally see her, but actress Erica Durance as Lois Lane is now a regular.
In the summer of 2006, Superman flew back to us in director Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns. Starring Brandon Routh as Superman, Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor and Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane. Although the movie did well at the box office, many felt that Bosworth and Routh never got close to the magical interplay of Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder