The Never-Ending Battle

A look at actors who have played in the Superman Universe more than once...

[Updated: February 10, 2006]

By Barry M. Freiman

Dedicated to Christopher Reeve - who taught me morals as a teenager, honesty as a young adult, and perseverance as a man.

Since Superman's 1938 comic book debut, the character has crossed over into other media, from radio to film to television, and back and forth between movies and TV several times. Whether we're talking about a big budget film or a Saturday morning cartoon, there's an inherent history to the character that transcends the particular project simply because it becomes part of the growing Superman mythology with its airing.

During 68 years of Superman, many actors have associated themselves with the Superman world more than once. Some did it for the money or the job to be certain. But, to a large extent, there is a desire to pay homage to the Superman character and an actor's initial role in the Superman world by casting someone who's played a "citizen of Metropolis" more than once.

Two of the most recent examples, of course, are the late Christopher Reeve and his Lois Lane, Margot Kidder with their turns as Dr. Swann and Bridgett Crosby on TV's "Smallville." They are, however, far from the first actors to spend more than one stint in the DCU.

The earliest example of an actor taking part in the Superman mythos more than once is, not surprisingly, by the actor who first interacted with the Man of Tomorrow on radio, Clayton "Bud" Collyer. Collyer seemed to own the roles of Clark Kent and Superman in the 1940s, playing them both on the Superman radio show and in the Paramount released Superman cartoons (many of which were directed by the Fleischer brothers).

Collyer seemed forgotten as Superman throughout the 1950s as George Reeves's name became synonymous with the Man of Steel. But Collyer returned to Superman in 1966 with the "New Adventures of Superman" cartoon, playing Clark and Superman once again in solo adventures and in "Justice League" team-ups. He also played Clark and Superman on a series of record albums during that same period.

Jackson Beck was the announcer on the "Superman" radio show and, like Collyer, he returned to the myth in the 1960s cartoons, this time voicing both Perry White and Lex Luthor.

Collyer's Lois Lane was also associated with the character over several different Superman incarnations. Joan Alexander played Lois Lane on the radio show, in the Paramount cartoons, and again during the "New Adventures of Superman" cartoon.

The first on-screen Superman, Kirk Alyn, played the big man in two movie serials, "Superman" and "Atom Man v. Superman". Alyn also played the DCU's chief aviator, Blackhawk, in another movie serial.

Thirty years later, Alyn played Supey's prospective father-in-law, in 1978's "Superman: The Movie". Though the scene with Alyn as Sam Lane was initially cut from the film's theatrical release, the 2001 Special Edition DVD included it among the eight minutes of footage added back in for the special edition.

In "Atom Man V. Superman", Alyn's Man of Steel spent much of the serial battling the mysterious Atom Man. When Atom Man stood revealed as Superman's chief nemesis, Lex Luthor, character actor Lyle Talbot was under the villain's cheesy mask. In addition to Superman's chief bad guy, Talbot played Batman's chief good guy, Commissioner Gordon, in the second Batman movie serial.

Speaking of "chiefs", the first on-screen "Chief", Perry White of the Daily Planet, was played by Pierre Watkin in the first "Superman" serial and later appeared in several different roles on TV's "Adventures of Superman."

Alyn shared his Lois Lane with TV's George Reeves. Noel Neill played Lois Lane in the two Superman serials, then again beginning with the second season of TV's "The Adventures of Superman". Neill reunited with Alyn in 1978's "Superman" when she played Ella Lane, Lois's mother. Neill played Ella Lane one additional time - in 1988's "Superman's 50th Birthday" TV Special on CBS, Neill is interviewed in character as "Ella Lane", Lois's mom On that same special, former Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time-Player Jan Hooks played a woman who claimed to have borne Superman's love-child - and she followed that by portraying an image consultant to mayoral candidate Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot, a.k.a. The Penguin, in 1992's "Batman Returns". Fred Willard played Finn Howard, Deputy Mayor of Metropolis, in the 1988 anniversary show and later returned as President of the United States on "Lois & Clark".

Neill returned to the Superman world again, this time with Jack Larson, who played Jimmy Olsen on "Adventures of Superman". Neill and Larson portrayed Alexis Andrews and Lou Lamont, two aging investigators for the Bureau of Extra-Normal Matters on the live-action "Adventures of Superboy" TV series alongside Superboy Gerard Christopher and Lana Lang Stacy Haiduk (who ironically played a non-Superman character on Steven Spielberg's "Seaquest, DSV", the TV show that surprisingly beat "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" in the ratings when both made their debut in autumn 1992).

Larson played an age-accelerated Jimmy Olsen on "Lois & Clark" when Justin Whalin's character undergoes a transformation even more significant than when first season Jimmy's Michael Landes was replaced for the remaining run of the series by Whalin.

Larson played with more than one Lois Lane on "Adventures of Superman". Lois was portrayed during the first season (1952-53) by Phyllis Coates. Coates returned to the Superman universe by playing Ella Lane during the first season finale of "Lois & Clark" ("The House of Luthor") when it appeared that Teri Hatcher's Lois Lane was going to marry the nefarious Lex Luthor. In subsequent seasons, Lois's suddenly ditzy mother is played by Beverly Garland and renamed "Ellen Lane".

Proving there are no small roles, actor Billy Curtis was a Mole Man in "Superman and the Mole Men" and played Super Pup (and his alter ego, Bark Bent) in the unaired TV pilot "The Adventures of Super Pup".

The 1960s were not Superman's time to shine. It was - and is - a decade mostly associated with the Dark Knight, Batman, thanks in largest part to Adam West, who returned to the Batman character several times (1977's "New Adventures of Batman" on NBC, 1978's "Legends of the Super-Heroes" also on NBC, and, in the final two incarnations of the Super Friends - the Legendary Super Powers Show and Galactic Guardians). Though West bemoaned not being asked to play Batman or his father in 1989's "Batman" movie, he was asked to contribute to "Batman: The Animated Series" as The Grey Ghost.

West is going batty one more time, playing the Mayor of Gotham City on 2004's WB 'toon, "The Batman." West will be joined on that show by his former foil, The Riddler, Frank Gorshin, who will be voicing the character of Hugo Strange. West and Gorshin also appeared together on "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman"; and Gorshin also appeared on "Wonder Woman"

West also contributed to the legend of "Shazam", voicing one of the seven "Elders" who advised Billy Batson and Captain Marvel on the CBS Saturday morning live-action show.

West's Robin, Burt Ward, teamed up with West twice after "Batman" went off the air - once in 1977's "New Adventures of Batman" (later the "Super Seven" show) and on "Legends of the Super-Heroes." Ward also played Robin in a 1974 PSA promoting equal opportunities for women alongside Yvonne Craig, the TV Batgirl, and another actor subbing for West.

Even the saintly Aunt Harriet sort of contributed to comic book legend more than once. Madge Blake appeared in the infamous 1957 episode of "I Love Lucy" where Lucy Ricardo meets Superman. This counts as a previous super-appearance because Lucy and Ricky never refer to meeting George Reeves - it's clear that, for TV purposes, Lucy and Ricky are meeting Superman! Blake plays the dizzy Martha, who decides against a high-rise apartment house when her husband blames the height for her spotting Superman out the window.

West ousted a long-standing Bat voice when he joined the Super Friends cast. Olan Soule played Batman on the Super Friends (and on the Scooby Doo Movies) until West joined the show. Soule was compensated for his loss of the Batman character by being cast as Professor Martin Stein, the intelligent half of the super-hero Firestorm. The somewhat less intelligent half of Firestorm the Nuclear Man, predominant identity Ronnie Raymond, is voiced by Mark Taylor, who also voices another fire-haired dimwit, Jimmy Olsen, in 1988's "Superman" cartoon on CBS.

The Superman myth did spend much of the 1960s gearing up for a resurgence in the 1970s, but that doesn't mean Superman vanished altogether from other media during that period. In addition to the aforementioned cartoon, which brought much of the radio show cast back together, there was a short-lived Broadway show starring Bob Holiday - and later, for a TV recreation, David Wilson. Many members of the Broadway show cast returned in later off-Broadway productions of the "Superman" play.

Roddy McDowell played the Bookworm during the first season of "Batman" and returned to voice The Mad Hatter on "Batman: The Animated Series."

The only villain on the 1960's "Batman" series who didn't have an actor credit was first season creation False-Face. This generated rumors that the character was to be played by Frank Sinatra, but the actor who did play the eerily plastic-looking FF was actually Malachi Throne. Throne later played several roles on "Batman: The Animated Series" and "Batman Beyond" and had a role as the "Boss" in the TV version of the "Superman" play. Throne played Billy Campbell's ill-fated father on "Melrose Place" in the early 1990s alongside actress Salome Jens as Billy's Mom who also played Martha Kent on the live-action "Adventures of Superboy" series.

Character actor David Wayne played Dr. Abner Sedgewick on the ABC-TV recreation of the "Superman" play. He'd previously played Bat-villain The Mad Hatter on the 1960s series "Batman." The original host of TV game show "Password", Allen Ludden, also appeared on "Batman" and the TV version of the "Superman" play in which Ludden played Superman's boss, Perry White. And Kenneth Mars portrayed Daily Planet gossip columnist Max Mencken in the "Superman" play (TV version), and then took parts in "Lois & Clark", on "Batman: The Animated Series", and in the first episode of TV"s "Wonder Woman".

The 1960s 'toon also included a segment featuring the youthful adventures of Superboy and his super-dog, Krypto. In the late 1960s, veteran character actor Bob Hastings sounded youthful enough to voice the Boy of Steel. By the early 1990s, however, Hastings sounded old enough to voice Commissioner Gordon on "Batman: The Animated Series" and all of its incarnations. He also had roles on "Wonder Woman", the 1960's live-action "Batman", and 1978's "Challenge of the Super Friends" 'toon. Time marches on slower for the heroes than it does for those who portray them.

There is a lot of voice-work crossover in the cartoons - which hasn't changed even today (just ask Michael Rosenbaum). In the late 1960s "Batman" 'toon, for instance, Ted Knight (a.k.a. Ted Baxter of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show") voiced many of Batman's villains, and narrated the animated adventures of Batman and Aquaman. He stuck with his Super Friends in their next incarnation when he provided narration for the "Super Friends."

Speaking of narration, one of pop culture's most famous narrators is Gary Owens, the distinctive voice narrator of late 1960s phenomenon Rowan & Martin's Laff-In. Owens has played the narrator in super-hero land numerous times - in the theatrical re-release of the "Batman" movie serial, on TV's Green Hornet, on the ABC-TV version of the Superman Broadway show, and on 1979's Legends of the Super Heroes. Owens voiced the "Lite" Dark Knight in the 1950s segment of "Legends of the Dark Knight" on "Batman: The Animated Series."

The "Super Friends" went through two sets of Wonder Twins before realizing that fans watched the show despite the presence of Wendy, Marvin, Zan, Jayna Gleek and Wonder Dog. Don't cry for Marvin's lost job though - he played many characters through the "Super Friends" decade, most notably Darkseid in the final two incarnations of the show. After playing the DCU's most notorious cosmic bad guy, he went feline on "Batman: The Animated Series", playing Catwoman's cat, and then went canine on "Batman Beyond", playing Ace the Bat-Hound.

Marvin's replacement, Zan, was portrayed by voice actor Michael Bell. Bell's DCU resume also includes space monkey Gleek (that Gleek and Zan shared only one brain explains a lot), the Riddler on "Challenge of the Super Friends", and Lex Luthor in the 1988 "Superman" 'toon on CBS.

Darkseid's chief lackey, Desaad, was so slimy that the same actor, Rene Auberjonois, returned a decade later to voice Desaad again on "Justice League" (he also provided a number of voices on "Batman: The Animated Series" and even guest-starred on Lynda Carter's "Wonder Woman" show).

One of the early animated DCU programs featuring a hero other than Batman or Superman (or Aquaman) was the "Kid Superpower Hour with Shazam!". Alan Oppenheimer played loveable Uncle Dudley, the talking tiger Tawky Tawny, and the nefarious Thaddeus Bodog Sivana on that show (the budget was probably tight). Oppenheimer also played Pa Kent on "Superman" in 1988 on CBS and voiced several small roles on "Batman: The Animated Series".

Long before playing Dr. Virgil Swann on "Smallville", the late Christopher Reeve proved his cross-over appeal as a hero by providing an empowering voice to those with paralyzing spinal cord injuries. Superman addresses the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1987's "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace". And Superman testifies before Congress, speaks at the 1996 Democratic Convention, and even warrants a mention during the 2004 Presidential debates. Some actors really do make you believe.

With Chris's unfortunate death in October 2004, he unintentionally passed the "Smallville" torch to Margot Kidder. Kidder has become an advocate for mental health issues since overcoming her own obstacles, proving that there may have been something to those morals clauses that the Superman producing Salkinds put in their contracts. Kidder's Bridgett Crosby had an intimate relationship with Reeve's Dr. Swann and introduced "black kryptonite" to the Superman mythos.

One of the actresses who auditioned for Kidder's role in the "Superman" film series was actress Leslie Ann Warren. Her audition appears in part on the "Superman" Special Edition DVD. Warren played Lois Lane in the television version of the Broadway show. Another actress who auditioned to be Lois Lane, as seen on the DVD, is Stockard Channing. In fact, Channing was second choice for Lois after Kidder but she instead appeared in another 1978 hit film, "Grease", as Betty Rizzo. Channing later voiced a grown Barbara Gordon on "Batman Beyond."

Surprisingly, the only actor who appeared in all five "Superman" movies hasn't yet returned to the "Superman" world except as host of the three documentaries on the "Superman" special edition DVD. Marc McClure played Jimmy Olsen one more time than Reeve played Superman, returning to romance Lois Lane's sister, in 1984's "Supergirl". McClure is also known for his contribution to the "Back to the Future" trilogy, playing Marty McFly's brother. McFly's adversary, Biff, and his relatives, were played by Thomas F. Wilson, who killed Robin's parents on "Batman: The Animated Series" and later contributed voice work to "Superman: The Animated Series" and appeared on a fourth season episode of "Lois & Clark."

Supergirl herself, Helen Slater, later played the Dark Knight's love interest, Talia, on "Batman: The Animated Series." Supergirl's boyfriend, Ethan, played by Hart Bochner in the 1984 film, later played City Councilman Arthur Reeves in "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm." Bochner's real life father Lloyd Bochner, was Mayor Hamilton Hill on "Batman: The Animated Series" and special guest-star Dracula on TV's "Adventures of Superboy".

While Jackie Cooper hasn't played any other Superman character than Perry White in the four "Superman" films, he did return to direct several episodes of the live-action "Adventures of Superboy" which featured Perry's son, T.J. White, during its first season.

Little Aaron Smolinski played the young Clark Kent who emerged naked from the Kryptonian rocket in "Superman"; he returned to the franchise with an uncredited role as the boy who accidentally causes the Photo-booth to photograph Clark changing into Superman, in "Superman III."

Bad guys have multiple connections to the Superman world too. Sarah Douglas played Ursa, "whose perversions and unreasoning hatred of all mankind threatened even the children of the planet Krypton", in "Superman" and "Superman II". She played yet another ejectee of the Phantom Zone, Mala, on "Superman: The Animated Series" in 1997. Douglas also played Dr. Lana Zurrell in "The Return of Swamp Thing" - given that she was a Super Woman in the "Superman" flicks, was it coincidence that Zurrell is so close to "Zor-El", Supergirl's surname, or that her character's first name was Lana?

Incidentally, Douglas co-starred in the "Swamp Thing" sequel with a young Heather Locklear, who later appeared on Batman: The Animated Series. "Swamp Thing" had a different girlfriend in his first flick, played by Adrienne Barbeau, who later voiced Catwoman on Batman: The Animated Series.

Ursa's partner-in-villainy, General Zod, played by Terence Stamp, recently returned to the Superman mythos by providing the voice of Jor-El on TV's "Smallville". As of this writing, it remains unclear if the voice of Jor-El is bona fide or if Zod is somehow responsible. Some viewers assert that what appears to be Superman's biological father may in fact be a Kryptonian artifact called "the Eradicator", which tried to transform Clark into a stoic Kryptonian despot in the comic books.

Zod belittles an Earth General in "Superman II" played by Don Fellows ("So you are a General; and who is your Superior?"). Fellows returns to the "Superman" series as Levon Hornsby in "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace."

Sometimes it seems that there are some people who appear in the Superman mythos merely to be really obscure answers to "Trivial Pursuit" questions. For instance, there's John Ratzenberger, known best for portraying "Cliff Clavin" on TV's mega-hit "Cheers." Ratzenberger appeared briefly in 1978's "Superman" as a Mission Control officer for the military ("Function negative!") and returned presumably as a different character in 1980's "Superman II", this time as a Mission Control officer for NASA ("What's a curl?").

Shane Rimmer played alongside Ratzenberger in "Superman II" as the second Mission Control officer for NASA, whom Ratzenberger ridicules for being old enough to know that a curl is "what the Canaveral boys used to call a comet with an east-west trajectory." Rimmer returns as the State Trooper that pulls over the bus taking Clark and Jimmy to Smallville in "Superman III." That'll be a pink chip for my "Trivia Pursuit" piece, thank you very much.

Of course, the big news in "Superman III" is the return of Clark Kent's teenage sweetheart, Lana Lang. In 1983, actress Annette O'Toole was a comely Lana Lang; and, in 2004, O'Toole makes a fetching Ma Kent on "Smallville". Just ask Lionel Luthor.

Before leaving the Christopher Reeve films, one has to salute actor Robert Beatty. Beatty played a Ship Captain in 1983's "Superman III" and is last seen waving to Reeve's Superman flying over-ship. Beatty's Captain must have been quite a hero for salvaging an oil spill because, in 1987's "Superman IV", Beatty's back, this time as the President of the United States. Proving that a ship captain may not be the best person to run the free world, as President, he makes a call to arms intended to make "America second to none in the nuclear arms race." Ironically, Beatty took part in the 1982 television production of "Man and Superman", starring alongside Supergirl's film mentor, Peter O'Toole.

After the Salkinds sold the "Superman" franchise to the Canon Group, they set their sights on a "Superboy" TV series. One of the first syndicated television programs, the "Adventures of Superboy" aired from 1988 to 1992. Professor Peterson, who taught at the fictional Schuster University, was played by "West Side Story" vet George Chakiris, who had appeared earlier in an episode of TV's "Wonder Woman."

After Gene Hackman, but before Michael Rosenbaum, there was a truly frightening Lex Luthor. On "Adventures of Superboy", Sherman Howard played the villainous Lex Luthor for seasons two through four. Though he didn't return to the super-hero world until he voiced Blight on "Batman Beyond", he did appear in a noteworthy episode of TV's "Seinfeld" as the boyfriend of Elaine's into whose body has fallen a very refreshing Junior Mint during an operation. Given Jerry's great affection for Superman, one has to wonder if playing Luthor actually boosted Howard's resume in Seinfeld's eyes.

A somewhat less popular villain from "Adventures of Superboy" was Nick Knack Comedian Gilbert Gottfried played Nick Knack in several episodes. Gottfried then returned to the Superman legacy by providing the voice of that mischievous imp from the Fifth Dimension, Mr. Mxyzptlk, on "Superman: The Animated Series".

Joseph Campanella, who played Bonnie Franklin's ex-husband on "One Day at a Time", guest-starred on an early episode of the "Superboy" TV show as a soldier who fought alongside Jonathan Kent. Later, Campanella showed up on "Lois & Clark". Another of those early, somewhat forgettable Superboy villains? Abe Vigoda, TV's "Fish", who also showed up as Sal the Weezer in "Mask of the Phantasm."

Superman's girlfriend, Lois Lane, voiced on "Superman: The Animated Series" by Dana Delaney, made her animated debut as Bruce Wayne's girlfriend, Andrea Beaumont, in "Mask of the Phantasm."

One actor who probably understands a little bit about playing a character with a huge legacy is Mark Hamill, who is also a bit of a comic book geek. Hamill has played the Joker on every one of the 1992-2004 DCU animated series, including "Batman", "Superman", "Justice League", "Justice League Unlimited", "Batman Beyond", and "Static Shock". He also played Flash villain "The Trickster" on CBS's "The Flash" in 1990, a portrayal that probably earned him notice by the producers of "Batman: The Animated Series". Hamill has played other characters in the animated universe, most notably un-dead swamp thing, Solomon Grundy. In February 2006, Hamill returned to the role that started it all by playing the Trickster again but this time by providing voice work to an animated character on "Justice League Unlimited" episode "Flash and Substance."

David Warner, who played Jack the Ripper in 1979's "Time After Time", voiced Ra's Al Ghul on "Batman: The Animated Series" and had a cameo as Jor-El on the first season of "Lois & Clark." Fellow Brit actor, Michael York, played Count Vertigo on "Batman: The Animated Series", Kanto on "Superman: The Animated Series", and God of War Ares on "Justice League Unlimited."

Voicing multiple roles of both genders is TV's Lou Grant, Ed Asner, who voiced Roland Daggett on "Batman: The Animated Series", Granny Goodness of Apokolips on "Superman: The Animated Series" and Hephaestus on "Justice League Unlimited".

George Dzunda portrays Perry White on Superman: The Animated Series, had a small role as Francis in "The Laughing Fish" on Batman: The Animated Series, and voiced Dr. Gregory Belson, the scientist blackmailed into helping Mr. Freeze kidnap Barbara Gordon in "Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero."

Not ready for prime time player Laraine Newman voiced Baby Doll on "Batman: The Animated Series" and returned as Fate (not Dr. Fate, but Fate herself) on "Justice League Unlimited."

Ron Perlman has a prolific DCU resume: he's been Clayface on "Batman: The Animated Series" and "Justice League"; Phantom Zone baddie Jax-Ur on "Superman: The Animated Series", New God Orion on "Justice League", and the villainous Slade on "Teen Titans". He'll also be playing Killer Croc on new 'toon "The Batman."

Freddy Kreuger himself, film actor Robert Englund, voices both Felix Faust on "Justice League" and the Riddler on "The Batman." Englund's "V" co-star, Michael Ironside, has also played in the DCU more than once, voicing the menacing Darkseid on "Superman: The Animated Series" and "Justice League", playing the 1980's Dark Knight on the "Legends of the Dark Knight" episode of "Batman: The Animated Series" and, most recently, playing Lois Lane's father, Sam Lane, on "Smallville."

The perfectly icy portrayal of Lex Luthor by actor Clancy Brown on "Superman: The Animated Series" has led to a more icy voice: that of Mr. Freeze on 2004's "The Batman." Brown also voices Trident on "Teen Titans." Brown's Luthor creates a villain with a Kryptonite heart, Metallo, who is voiced by actor Malcolm McDowell. McDowell also voices the hilariously demented Mad Mod on "Teen Titans."

Victor Brandt voices Professor Emil Hamilton on "Superman: The Animated Series" and will be voicing Rupert Thorne on 2004's "The Batman."

Kevin Michael Richardson has the somewhat unenviable job of following Hamill's Joker as the cartoon voice of the Joker on 2004's "The Batman". Richardson also has voiced Carlton Duquesne in "Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman", Mammoth on "Teen Titans", and even voiced Lex Luthor in a "Superman" videogame.

Jeffrey Combs is both the Scarecrow on "Batman: The Animated Series" and the sanity challenged Question on "Justice League Unlimited."

Though everybody may love Raymond, his TV sibling Brad Garrett is loved by comic fans for playing the Main Man Lobo and Bibbo Bibowski, among other animated roles, and also appeared in the "I Now Pronounce You ..." fake-out wedding episode of "Lois & Clark."

Miguel Ferrer voiced Aquaman and the Weather Wizard on "Superman: The Animated Series". Ferrer also played super-heroine Ice's boss, who turns out to be the bad guy "Weather Man" in an unaired live-action "Justice League" pilot from 1997.

Lex Luthor's assistant, Nigel St. John, on "Lois & Clark" is also Superman's maternal grandfather on "Superman: The Animated Series" and narrator of "Teen Titans" episode "Transformation" (all about Starfire's first zit).

The future Batman of "Batman Beyond" is played by Will Friedle. Friedle also played Green Lantern Kyle Rayner on "Justice League Unlimited" episode "The Return" and voiced the boyfriend of the daughter of Killer Moth on "Teen Titans." The future Superman of "Batman Beyond" is appropriately voiced by Chris McDonald who also provides the voice of Superman's biological father Jor-El on "Superman: The Animated Series" and "Justice League Unlimited".

The future Green Lantern of "BB" is voiced by Lauren Tom. Tom is perhaps best known as Julie, the girlfriend that Ross Geller brings home from China on TV's "Friends", but she's also voiced Angela Chen on "Superman: The Animated Series", Terry McGinnis's main squeeze Dana on "Batman Beyond", and both Gizmo and Jinx on "Teen Titans" among other animated roles.

Speaking of the future, Archie comics creation Sabrina, a.k.a. Melissa Joan Hart, voices Saturn Girl of the Legion of Super-Heroes on "Superman: The Animated Series", and voices twins Dee Dee in "Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker" and "Justice League Unlimited."

Tara Strong replaced Melissa Gilbert's Batgirl on "Batman: The Animated Series". Strong is also Raven on "Teen Titans" and has contributed several voices to "Justice League" and "Justice League Unlimited."

The five leads on "Teen Titans" also voice the five members of the Royal Flush Gang on "Justice League" and "Justice League Unlimited."

Though movie Batmen kept changing, one constant of the 1989-1997 "Batman" franchise was Michael Gough, who played butler Alfred Pennyworth in four films and a BBC audio drama. Gough also played Professor Moss on "Justice League" arc "Knight of Shadows".

Former radio personality Richard Belzer played the police captain on "The Flash" and later played Inspector Henderson on "Lois & Clark." The live-action "Flash" himself, John Wessley Shipp, also had a small role in "The Human Target", which starred Rick Springfield as Christopher Chance (Springfield himself appeared earlier on two episodes of "Wonder Woman").

Paula Marshall played Iris West on the pilot to "The Flash" and appeared on "Adventures of Superboy" episode "Werewolf". Jay Allen, a character that was an homage to Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick, was killed by The Flash's first bad guy, Pike, in that pilot episode; Jay Allen was played by character actor Tim Thomerson, who also appeared in a small role on "Lois & Clark".

Mad-TV's Phil LaMarr plays both "Static Shock" and Green Lantern on "Justice League" and "Justice League Unlimited".

The prolific Jason Marsden has contributed three significant animated voices - young Clark Kent on "Superman: The Animated Series"; Gear on "Static Shock"; and television reporter Snapper Carr on "Justice League." Marsden sort of got the chance to pull off a live-action hero role when he played Burt Ward (Robin) in 2003's "Back to the Batcave" about the making of the 1966-68 TV show.

Given the short time that elapsed between the end of "Lois & Clark" and the beginning of "Smallville", it's perhaps no surprise that many actors appeared on both shows. In addition to those already mentioned, there's Patrick Cassidy, who purported to be the son of Lex Luthor (but wasn't) on "Lois & Clark" and played Lana Lang's biological father on "Smallville." Cassidy's half brother is former teen heartthrob David, who played the Mirror Master on "The Flash".

Annette O'Toole's real-life hubby, Michael McKean, has portrayed Perry White on "Smallville" (in an episode directed by Jeannot Szwarc, who directed 1984's "Supergirl" flick). McKean also had a guest-starring role on the "Lois & Clark" episode, "Vatman", played the Joker on the "Legends of the Dark Knight" episode of "Batman: The Animated Series", and voiced Ian Peak on "Batman Beyond".

George Murdock appeared in "Strange Visitor" on "Lois & Clark" and later played an old man on "Hourglass" during the first season of "Smallville." Finally, Rob LaBelle appeared in "Just Say Noah" on "Lois & Clark" and returned to the myth as Dr. Walden on several "Smallville" episodes.

Lex Luthor, future proposed ruler of Australia, is doing time in "Smallville", where he's portrayed by actor Michael Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum does double duty, also portraying The Flash on "Justice League" and "Justice League Unlimited" (as well as a variety of other characters including bad guy Deadshot).

Proving that the apple never falls too far from the tree, Rosenbaum's TV father, Lionel Luthor, is played by John Glover, an actor with a pedigree of villainy. In 1997's franchise-destroying "Batman and Robin", Glover played Bat villain Jason Woodrue. But, even before that, Glover wore green gloves as The Riddler on "Batman: The Animated Series".

Some may undoubtedly say that I forgot to mention Halle Berry for her roles in the "X-Men" films and "Catwoman". First, it doesn't count if you play in two different super-hero universes. And second, "Catwoman" was a DCU film in name only as Berry's character had no connections to Batman or Selina Kyle, the only character in the comics to have ever worn Catwoman's mask - not counting the Silver Age Lois Lane of course.

Rutger Hauer has the distinction of being the first "Batman Begins" cast member to play multiple DCU roles, having previously played gangster Morgan Edge on the WB's "Smallville."

Finally, there's Brandon Routh. Though only cast as the Man of Steel in 2006's upcoming "Superman" movie recently, Routh portrayed Clark Kent and Superman once before - as his Halloween 2003 costume. His second stint as Superman will likely pay much better.



Many thanks to those who wrote in with the names of performers I'd left out of the first draft of the article, especially super-fans David Starkie and Brian McKernan.