Superman star Phyllis Coates has died

Phyllis Coates has reportedly died from natural causes aged 96, with the news said to have been shared by a relative. She’s known for having played Lois Lane in the Superman franchise. She appeared in the film Superman and the Mole Men (1951), before reprising the role in the TV show the Adventures of Superman. She’s understood to have been the first actor to play the DC Comics character on TV.

Her decades-long career included roles in films like Jungle Drums of Africa (1953) and I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957). Her credits also include appearances in various shows such as The Lone Ranger, Rawhide, and Richard Diamond, Private Detective.

Phyllis passed away on Wednesday of natural causes at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Los Angeles, as reported by the Hollywood Reporter. Her daughter Laura is said to have shared the news with the outlet.

She will be remembered for her role as Lois in the Superman franchise. Phyllis made her debut in the role in Superman and the Mole Men (1951) which is considered the first feature film about the titular superhero, who dates back to 1938. She starred alongside the late George Reeves, who played Clark Kent, with the character also known as Kal-El and Superman.

She subsequently reprised the role in the first season of the syndicated show the Adventures of Superman from 1952 to 1953, once again alongside George. Noel Neill, who had previously played Lois Lane in the films Superman (1948) and Atom Man vs. Superman (1950), took over the role in subsequent seasons following Phyllis’ departure.

Decades later, Phyllis returned to the franchise in the role of Lois’ mother Ellen Lane in the first season of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. She appeared in the season finale, which was broadcast in 1994. The show starred Dean Cain as Clark, whilst Teri Hatcher played Lois.

Someone else said: “Her portrayal left an indelible mark on the character’s legacy. Condolences to her loved ones and fans around the world.” A third tweeted: “What a beautiful woman and talented actress. Another part of my youth gone. RIP dear lady!” Another said: “Condolences to her family and friends. One of the best Lois Lanes of all the time!”

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