(NEXSTAR) – Phyllis Coates, the actress who first portrayed Lois Lane opposite George Reeves’ Superman in the original “Adventures of Superman” television series, died Wednesday at the age of 96, her daughter confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter and People.
Coates starred in the first season of the show, but was replaced by Noel Neill for the remainder of the series.
Coates, born Gypsie Ann Evarts Stell, had been active in show business for years before landing her role in “Adventures of Superman.” In 1951, a year before the show’s debut, she had even played Lois Lane in the Lippert Pictures film “Superman and the Mole Men,” a film which was later broken into two parts to be aired during the TV show’s first season.
Coates didn’t return for the series’ second season due to a prior commitment to a pilot that was never produced, The Hollywood Reporter reported.
Coates, however, had said she wasn’t keen on continuing with the show anyway, fearing she may become typecast, according to an interview transcribed for “Return of the B Science Fiction and Horror Heroes” by Tom Weaver.
“The minute we stopped shooting I’d bleach my hair and do other things, but for George [Reeves] this was it — he became typecast and he became very unhappy about that,” she said.
Coates’ later credits included appearances in “This Is Alice,” “Perry Mason,” “The Patty Duke Show” and “Gunsmoke,” among other film and TV roles. In 1994, she also played Ellen Lane — the mother of Lois Lane — in an episode of “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.”
Coates passed peacefully Wednesday at her home in the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, her daughter Laura Press said.
Press also told People that fans wishing to honor her memory can make donations to the Humane Society of America.