Wednesday 28 September 2016

Tributes paid as original Lois Lane actress Noel Neill dies aged 95

Published 05/07/2016 | 12:56

Actors Jack Larson (L) and Noel Neill, who played Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane respectively in the 1952 Superman television series, pose for photograph during the Superman Returns DVD and video game launch party in Hollywood November 16, 2006. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas/File Photo
Actors Jack Larson (L) and Noel Neill, who played Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane respectively in the 1952 Superman television series, pose for photograph during the Superman Returns DVD and video game launch party in Hollywood November 16, 2006. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas/File Photo

Star Wars actor Mark Hamill has paid tribute to original Lois Lane actress Noel Neill, who has died at the age of 95.

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Neill was an early Superman star, playing the Daily Planet reporter in the 1940s and 50s.

She died on Sunday at her home in Arizona after a long illness, according to her manager and biographer Larry Ward.

Hamill wrote on Twitter: "They say your 1st is always your favorite. I LOVED Noel Neill as Lois. She was sweet warm & wonderful in person too!"

Neill played Lois Lane in the 1948 and 1950 movies, alongside Kirk Alyn as Superman. She went on to play the character in the 50s TV series Adventures of Superman, with George Reeves in the title role.

Remaining close to the comic book character throughout her career, she made appearances in the 1978 Christopher Reeve Superman movie - as Lois's mother Ella - and in the 2006 Superman Returns film.

In a statement posted online, Ward wrote: "I found Noel to be generous with her time and the same person off the screen as she appeared to be on the screen. Her stamina was legendary as she happily made personal appearances and attended book signings well into her 90th year.

"She was kind, selfless, hard-working, funny with a quick wit, and assertive - all the same qualities that embodied the character of Lois Lane.

"Noel truly was Lois Lane... Few of her fans actually knew her real name, almost always simply calling her 'Lois' to which she would unfailing answer with a bright smile and a kind word."

He added: "Noel Neill maintained that bright, perky and engaging personality up until her death."

As an 18-year-old actress, Neill moved to Hollywood and was hired by crooner Bing Crosby to sing at his Turf Club.

With Crosby's help, she was later signed to a contract at Paramount and went on to make around 100 films during her long career.

Since Neill gave Lois her on-screen debut, the character has been played by actresses including Margot Kidder, Kate Bosworth and Amy Adams.

Her funeral will be held in private, with a public memorial planned for later in the year.

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