Phyllis Coates, famous for starring as DC’s first Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane on TV for the first season of Adventures of Superman, has passed away at age 96.
The Hollywood Reporter shared the news today that Coates died Wednesday of natural causes at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, as confirmed to THR by Coates’ daughter, Laura Press.
Hailing from Wichita Falls, Texas, Coates entered the live-action realm of the DC Comics universe as Lois Lane for the first time in the 1951 movie Superman and the Mole Men. She starred alongside actor George Reeves who played the titular Man of Steel.
Due to the success of the original film, decisions in Hollywood were made for a television show based on the same characters to be ordered, with Coates still in mind to play Lois Lane.
After starring as the DC reporter for 26 episodes of the first season, actress Noel Neill took over the role from the second season onwards as Coates took on another series job that clashed with the series – however, the other series never came to be.
Neill portrayed Lois for the additional five seasons, however, the two actresses apparently never met each other as, according to Coates, Neill never wanted anything to do with her Adventures of Superman role’s predecessor.
Coates originally auditioned for the role of Lois Lane in 1951 for the Superman and the Mole Men film that’s described as a de facto TV pilot, which later ended up being so with both Coates and Reeves being asked to return for the first season, as mentioned above.
The series, Adventures of Superman, was planned for a seventh season with Coates’ replacement, Neill, in sights to return once again to star as the famous Lois Lane. However, due to the unexpected and still to this day mysterious death of Reeves, a seventh season never came to be.
In a 1994 episode of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Coates returned to the world of DC as the mother of Teri Hatcher’s Lois Lane – a fun throwback to Coates’ history with the character.
Coates is also known for TV appearances on shows such as The Lone Ranger for three episodes, Leave It to Beaver, The Untouchables, Rawhide, and Tales of Wells Fargo, among other classics.
Her legacy lives on through her aforementioned daughter Laura and other daughter Zoe, as well as her granddaughter Olivia.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter