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N Entries
Noel Neill
Kurt Neumann
John Newland
Julie Newmar
Nichelle Nichols
Jack Nicholson
Leonard Nimoy
 
NEILL, NOEL
(1920- ). American actress.

SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND HORROR FILM CREDITS
Acted in: The Fabulous Joe (uncredited) (Harve Foster 1947);  Brick Bradford (serial) (uncredited) (Spencer Gordon BENNET and Thomas CARR 1947); Superman (serial) (Carr 1948);  Atom Man vs. Superman (serial) (Bennet 1950); Invasion U.S.A. (Alfred E. Green 1952); The Adventures of Superman (tv series) (1953-1957); Stamp Day for Superman (short) (Carr 1954); Superman (uncredited) (Richard DONNER 1978);  "Paranoia" (1988), episode of Superboy; Hindsight Is 20/20 (short) (uncredited) (Richard Levinson 2004); Surge of Power (Mike Donahue 2004); Superman Returns  (Bryan SINGER 2006).

Appeared in documentaries: Superman's 50th Anniversary (tv) (Robert Boyd 1988); "George Reeves: The Perils of a Superman" (2000), episode of Biography; TV Road Trip (tv) (Steve Cheskin 2002); In a Single Bound (short) (Ross Marroso 2006); Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman (tv) (Kevin Burns 2006); Requiem for Krypton: Making Superman Returns (tv) (Robert Meyer Burnett 2006).

 
About the nicest thing one can say about Noel Neill is that, when the producers of The Adventures of Superman decided to shift from black-and-white to color and from grim shoot-em-ups to more innocuous shenanigans for children, she represented precisely the sort of Lois Lane that they would have wished for. Friendly, unassuming, utterly asexual, she would be accepted by little boys—already aware of the requirements of genre—as the necessary woman to be imperiled and then rescued by the hero, but never a threat to divert the action into any of that unwanted mushy stuff. Indeed, even though the episode "The Wedding of Superman" shows her dreaming of marital bliss with the Man of Steel, she is the only celluloid Lois Lane who usually does not seem to love Superman, and does not seem to be loved by Superman; rather, her relationship to George REEVES's Clark Kent and Superman is more that of dutiful child to indulgent parent. Similarly subservient to John Hamilton's Perry White and Robert Shayne's Inspector Henderson, she eventually is even dominated by Jack LARSON's enthusiastically childlike Jimmy Olsen.  Which suggests another reason to mildly praise Noel Neill: because she, unlike predecessor Phyllis COATES, made no effort to attract attention or seize the spotlight, she better allowed the talents of Reeves and Larson to come to the forefront.

Prior to her adventures with Superman, Neill spent a decade specializing in minor parts in forgettable musicals and inane comedies, often appearing uncredited.  Such a role as a jungle girl in the serial Brick Bradford first brought her into contact with the team who would later launch the Superman film franchise, Spencer Gordon BENNET and Thomas CARR, and may have helped her get the part of Lois Lane in the two Superman serials they directed. Taking their subsequent Superman film and television series more seriously, they sought out, and obtained, an infinitely superior cast, including Coates as Lois Lane, but when she quit the series after one season, Neill represented a convenient, and fitting, replacement.

When The Adventures of Superman came to a halt, Neill retired at the age of forty, seemingly realizing, like Larson, that she would be permanently identified as her Superman character and hence unable to continue her career. And she either married well or managed her money wisely, because she has survived into her eighties limiting her activities to live and filmed appearances related to her role as Lois Lane, including a cameo appearance as Lois Lane's mother in Richard DONNER's Superman and an appearance with Larson on an episode of Superboy. Most recently, she was seen in Superman Returns, perfectly cast as the weak old woman who is easily manipulated by the sinister Lex Luthor, and again revealing that this sweet, agreeable actress had always been miscast as veteran reporter Lois Lane.

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