- Phyllis Coates, known for her portrayal of Lois Lane in the original Adventures of Superman TV series, has died at the age of 96.
- Coates played Lois Lane for only one season, alongside George Reeves as Clark Kent.
- She had a successful career spanning five decades and appeared in various films and TV shows.
Actress Phyllis Coates, best known for her role as Lois Lane in the classic television series Adventures of Superman (1952-1958), has passed away at the age of 96. Her daughter, Laura Press, confirmed that Coates died of natural causes at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Los Angeles on October 11, 2021.
Coates has the distinction of being the first live-action, TV version of Lois Lane, appearing in just one season of Adventures of Superman. She starred alongside George Reeves, who played Clark Kent. Both actors first appeared as their respective DC characters in the 1951 film Superman and the Mole-Men. Coates spoke about the casting process for the movie, saying, “They auditioned a lot of people. I read for it, then was called back a second time. They felt I had the quality. It was that simple.”
Although offered a significantly higher salary to continue in the role, Coates chose not to continue playing Lois Lane after the first season of Adventures of Superman, due to harsh working conditions on set. In the 2006 book, Science Fiction Stars and Horror Heroes: Interviews with Actors, Directors, Producers and Writers of the 1940s through 1960s, Coates said, “We were nearly blown up, beaten up, exploded, exploited — I guess it was because we were young and dumb, but we put up with a lot of stuff…But I really wanted to get out of Superman.”
Throughout her five-decade-long career, Coates appeared in numerous films and TV shows, including B-Movie performances, over 20 of the Joe McDoakes’ So You Want… comedy titles, and roles in I Was a Teenage Frankenstein and Panther Girl of the Kongo. She made a return to the Superman universe in 1994, playing Lois Lane’s mother, Ellen Lane, in an episode of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.
Born on January 15, 1927, in Wichita Falls, Texas, as Gypsie Ann Evarts Stell, Coates is survived by her two daughters, Laura and Zoe, and a granddaughter, Olivia.