Noel Neill died yesterday at her home in Tucson, Ariz., after a long illness. She was born Noel Darleen Neill was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Neill; her father was a journalist, and her mother a dancer on the stage. When she was 4 years old, she enrolled at "a school for aspiring performers." While still in her teens, "she danced, sang and even played the banjo at county fairs throughout the midwest." She graduated from high school in 1938. She earned her first money by writing articles for Women's Wear Daily.
Neill has continued to appear in Superman-related productions. She originated the role of Lois Lane's mother, Ellen (alternatively, Ella) Lane, in a cameo for the 1978 film Superman, with Kirk Alyn as Lois' father, Sam Lane -- as was the case in reverse with the role of Lois in 1951, Phyllis Coates would later succeed Neill in the role of Ella in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman; Lois & Clark star Teri Hatcher continued the tradition when she made a guest appearance on Smallville as Ella Lane. In an episode of the TV series Superboy, Neill appeared alongside her former cast-mate Jack Larson, who had played Jimmy Olsen on TV.