Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Joan Alexander R.I.P.

Joan Alexander, the voice of Lois Lane on the radio show The Adventures of Superman, passed on May 21 at the age of 94. The cause was an intestinal blockage.

Joan Alexander was born Louise Abrass in St. Paul, Minnesota on April 16, 1915. He father passed on when she was only three years old. After he mother had re-married, the family moved to Brooklyn, New York. Louise Abrass was sent to a convent school in Long Island, New York. She took up a career in modelling as a young woman, taking the name "Joan" after the actress Joan Crawford, whom she admired. Alexander went onto study acting with Benno Schneider, a director in Yiddish theatre, in Europe. She toured the Continent quite often in the Thirties.

Once back in the United States, Joan Alexander would turn to radio. She would become most famous as the voice of Lois Lane on The Adventures of Superman. Alexander was actually the third actress to play the role on the show (she was preceded by Helen Choate and Rolly Bester), but she remained with the role longer than any other actress in any medium. She would also provide the voice of Lois Lane in the seventeen Superman animated shorts made by Fleischer Studios and Famous Studios between 1941 and 1943. She would later provide the voice of Lois Lane on the Sixties Filmation The New Adventures of Superman. Joan Alexander's career in radio was very extensive. She also played Della Street on the radio version of Perry Mason, in episodes of the series Dimension X, Philo Vance, and on dramas and soap operas such as Against the Storm, Light of the World, Lone Journey, and This is Nora Drake.

Joan Alexander would have a small career in television. She appeared as a semi-regular on Captain Video and His Video Rangers. She also appeared in one episode of The Doctor. In the early Fifties she was a panellist on the game show The Name's the Same. In the Sixties she appeared on Broadway in the play Poor Richard. Afterwards she settled into life as a hostess and homemaker.

For millions of people out there, Joan Alexander is the voice they identify as Lois Lane. She played the role far longer than any other actress in any medium. What is more, she also played Lois Lane on the Fleischer/Famous Superman cartoons and on the Sixties television cartoon. In many respects she could be considered as responsible for shaping the character we know as Lois Lane as any of the writers in the comic books. In this respect, American pop culture owes her an enormous debt.

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