Phyllis Coates, TV’s first Lois Lane, dies at 96

Phyllis Coates, who played Lois Lane in the first season of “The Adventures of Superman,” has died at age 96 according to the Hollywood Reporter. She died of natural causes at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills on Wednesday, her daughter told the Reporter.

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She left the show after just one season but went on to star in films like “Girls in Prison” and “I Was a Teenage Frankenstein,” according to the Reporter.

Coates made her debut as the fast-talking, tough woman reporter in “Superman and the Mole Men” in 1951. She starred with George Reeves as Superman, who joined her in the same role in the 1952 TV show. The show was thrown together quickly after the movie’s success, according to FOX17 West Michigan.

Coates was in all 26 episodes of “Adventures of Superman” and was paid about $350 a show. She required rescue from Superman in all of them after the headstrong Lois made impetuous decisions to chase stories into dangerous territory. She said the show was grueling, but the cast was all too young to care. They often shot multiple shows back to back, and she established her iconic look of suit dress, pillbox hat, and pearls because she had to wear the same costume for every episode, according to the Reporter.

The show was a surprise hit and Coates was asked to rejoin the cast for the second season but she had another obligation to a new pilot and had to pass, the Reporter said.

She performed in multiple films, TV shows, and comedy shorts during her long career. She is survived by her daughter Zoe and granddaughter Olivia.