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(Gypsie Ann Evarts Stell 1927– ). American actress.
Born in Wichita Falls, Texas, Coates came to Hollywood in the 1940s with greater ambitions than starring in a kids' television show, and The Adventures of Superman undoubtedly seemed more or less equivalent to the now-forgotten "Joe McDoakes" comedy short subjects that had previously been her specialty. Accordingly, when she was given the opportunity to star in a promising television pilot, Coates happily abandoned the Man of Steel and company after one season. In retrospect, given the producers' plans to make the series more juvenile, one cannot really regret her decision, since it would have been saddening to see the mature, independent Coates coping with some of the nonsense that her sweet, simpering successor Neill was better suited to endure.
Although that promising pilot never did become a series, Coates kept herself busy on film and television throughout the 1950s and 1960s, in large part because the era's most popular genre, the western, regularly required women like the Texan Coates who could function in a man's world. In the realm of fantasy and science fiction, she played a small role in an obscure film very much worth searching for, Invasion U.S.A.; kept her cool in the tropical settings of Ramar of the Jungle and Panther Girl of the Kongo; and stood out in two films that, without her performances, would be entirely unwatchable —The Incredible Petrified World and I Was a Teenage Frankenstein—giving the stolid Whit BISSELL the best support he ever had in the latter film Her final bid for stardom came in 1966, when she resolved to return to her comedy roots as one of the straight men to Bert Lahr's clownish ghost in another promising pilot, Thompson's Ghost, that also never became a series, though the pilot was at least aired during the summer. She essentially retired in 1970, though she accepted a few small parts in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and she seemed content to let Noel NEILL posture as the original Lois Lane for all the nostalgic fans of the series. But those who remember the first season of The Adventures of Superman will never forget the greatest Lois Lane of them all.
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