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"George Reeves was the quintessential Superman," Neill said during a telephone interview from her home in California. "He could make both Superman and Clark Kent seem real."
Neill played Lois Lane to Reeves' superhero for four seasons on the "Superman" television series, which premiered in 1952 and lived on for decades in reruns.
Neill has helped keep its memory alive, first on the college lecture circuit and now at conventions like the Dark Xmas science fiction and horror event this weekend at downtown Warren's Comfort Inn.
Her efforts to preserve the memory of the character also make her the link between that original television series and the subsequent film incarnations. Neill made a cameo as Lois Lane's mother in 1978's "Superman," and she also will appear in "Superman Returns," with Brandon Routh donning the red cape under the direction of Bryan Singer ("X-Men," "The Usual Suspects"). Like Clark Kent's real identity, what Neill does in the film is hush hush.
"Everything is a big secret because that's what Warner Bros. wants," she said. "I had a meeting with the director a few months ago. He knew I was doing conventions and carrying the flag for Superman, and he asked if I would do a cameo with Kevin Spacey (who plays villain Lex Luthor)."
Neill, who turns 85 later this month, spent two weeks in Australia and said Singer was different from the directors she worked with on television and in movies in the 1940s and '50s.
"Bryan is a very quiet person," Neill said. "He's very, very pleasant, a very nice person with his co-workers, but he likes to do his work off-set. Some directors sit right under the camera and yell at everybody. He's in another room watching everything on a screen."
She said Routh is a nice-looking young man who looks the part, but Neill's heart clearly belongs to her co-star, who died in 1959 after an apparent suicide (although some believe Reeves was murdered).
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