With Noel Neill’s passing on July 3, thoughts and memories of meeting our “Lois Lane” have been posted across the internet, on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere. Here at the Superman Homepage, a few of us that were lucky enough to have met Noel also put together a few words of remembrance and tribute…
I was lucky enough to have met Noel in 2003 when I first attended the Superman Celebration in Metropolis, Illinois. She was so approachable and friendly. I was able to spend more time with her in 2008 when I returned to Metropolis, treating her to lunch, where I got to really sit and chat with her. We became friends, writing to each other, sending Christmas cards, and keeping in touch via her friend and author Larry Thomas Ward.
Noel was so charming. Her smile could brighten up a room instantly. She had a wicked sense of humor that sometimes caught you by surprise. She had a way of making you feel special. She would spot you in a crowd and smile at you with recognition. Her love of Superman and his fans was so endearing. She’ll be greatly missed.
I rarely eulogize on social media. I prefer to do so in person, no matter how exceptional the loss, no matter how much the person meant to me. There is something hollow about it for me. I like to grieve like people are supposed to pray, in private, with the door closed, alone. What rare exceptions I do make are for people who have greatly impacted me, or for whom the loss feels like such a gut punch that I have to wail to the sky. Today is a fine time to do that, for Noel Neill has passed.
Most people know her as the first Lois. That’s a fine thing to remember her for. She also contributed to the World War 2 war effort, and cast echoes across time in every subsequent Superman project she took part in.
I remember her as a gentle and kind lady who, despite all of her contributions, treated everyone she met as if they were special, and that it was her honor to be in their presence. Because of that, it always felt as if you were, in fact, the one in the presence of someone special, and knew it, and that’s rare in a world so filled with selfishness. Everyone she met would tell you the same. I’ve met many people, and almost all of them have at least one person who didn’t like them in some way. I never heard a disparaging word about Noel Neill, and I doubt if I’ll meet anyone who could. She meant the world to many, many people.
I met her on the con circuit when I was wet behind the ears writing reviews for the Superman Homepage. She travelled with Larry Ward, another true gentleman. It was a strange few years, spending the money that would eventually bankrupt me on planes, trains, and automobiles trying to gain traction selling novels to people who wanted comics. People let me sleep on their couches and I got by. It was a hard time. There were few constants, much uncertainty, and a long line of people ready to step on your face and tell you your lack of worth. Noel was always the smile you could count on to cheer you when you were down, the encouraging voice in a sea of cynicism.
At every stop along the way, Noel was there as a comfort and as a blessing. She would always, no matter where she was headed, make the time to talk, be friendly and supportive, and just really make you feel as if you’d known her your entire life. It’s a hard quality to explain, and I am failing, but she really meant the world to me, and I am assured, having spoken to others who felt the same way, that she was like this with everyone she met. This is a huge loss.
Years pass and the people we love go away. Some lives you wish could have lasted longer, even in spite of the fullness of their existence.
We’ll miss you, Noel.
I never had the pleasure of meeting Noel Neill. Yet, like many Superman fans for many generations, I feel like she was a part of my family. Ms. Neill made the iconic Lois Lane character a strong female role model in a time when most women in film and television were housewives and secretaries Whether it was opposite Kirk Alyn or George Reeves, Ms. Neill’s Lois is unforgettable. She will be greatly missed, but her legend and legacy will live on.
TV’s Superboy Gerard Christopher:
Noel Neill was the Lois Lane that I grew up watching on the Adventures of Superman with George Reeves. When I got the chance to work with her and Jack (Larson) it was like a dream come true. She was very classy and elegant person and a wonderful actress to work with. I will cherish the time that I spent with her and miss her always. She told me on the set of my show that I was her favorite Superman of all. I’ll never forget that!
(Thanks to Sam J. Rizzo for the Gerard Christopher quote)