Joan Alexander (April 16, 1915 – May 21, 2009) was an American actress known for her role as Lois Lane on radio's The Adventures of Superman from the early 1940s to 1951.
Early life and career
Joan Alexander was born as Louise Abrass in St. Paul, Minnesota to a Lebanese American family. Her father died when she was 3, and when her mother remarried, the family moved to Brooklyn, New York and young Louise was sent to attend a convent school on Long Island.
She became a model and actress, and studied acting in Europe with Benno Schneider, a director in the Yiddish theater. Though Abrass later took the first name Joan after the actress Joan Crawford, the origin of the name Alexander is unknown, according to her family. An early, first marriage in 1944 to actor John Sylvester White, who would become best known as Principal Woodman on Welcome Back Kotter, was also unknown to Alexander's family until two years before Alexander's death.
Voice of Lois Lane
Joan Alexander portrayed newspaper reporter Lois Lane in the superhero radio program The Adventures of Superman for more than 1,600 episodes.The series began in 1940, two years after Superman's debut in the modern-day DC Comics' Action Comics #1 (June 1938), with Lane first appearing in the seventh episode. Though most sources indicate she was not the first actress cast, Alexander was cast early in the series' run and became the radio role's signature performer.
Initially, the show, which ran through to 1951, was syndicated through the Mutual Broadcasting System's cornerstone station, WOR in New York, subsequently taken up by the Mutual network and finally to ABC. Alexander also was heard on Dimension X and Philo Vance, Against the Storm and on Perry Mason, in the first portrayal ofsupporting character Della Street, secretary to defense attorney Mason.
Alexander additionally provided Lois Lane's voice in the 1940s Fleischer Studios/Paramount Pictures (Famous Studios) animated Superman shorts. She reprised the role of Lois Lane for one season of the 1966 Filmation animated series The New Adventures of Superman.
Later life and career
Following her divorce from White, Alexander married surgeon Robert Crowley. Future author and screenwriter Jane Stanton Hitchcock (born as Jane Crowley) is their daughter. After that second marriage ended in divorce, Alexander in 1954 or 1955 married Arthur Stanton, chairman of the Orangeburg, New York-based World-Wide Volkswagen, at the time the distributor of Volkswagen and Audi vehicles in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, and which helped introduce the Volkswagen Beetle to the U.S. Stanton, who died January 20, 1987, adopted Jane when the girl was 9. The couple's other children were sons Adam (died 1993) and Timothy. The Stantons entertained lavishly at their Manhattan apartment on the Upper East Side and their home in East Hampton, New York; their daughter told The New York Times that author George Plimpton proposed to his future wife, Freddy Espy, at one party there, that composer Leonard Bernsteinsometimes performed at the piano, and that comedy playwright Neil Simon wrote a sketch for the daughter's 21st birthday.
Alexander appeared on television as a regular panelist on the 1951-1955 ABC-TV game show The Name's the Same. Alexander appeared on Broadway in Poor Richard by Jean Kerr in 1964. In April 2008, Alexander filed a lawsuit against financial adviser Kenneth I. Starr, alleging the late Stanton had left Alexander a $70 million estate which, according to court paper, Starr used inappropriately and squandered.
Alexander died on May 21, 2009, aged 94, from an intestinal blockage. Both of her sons are now deceased, however she is survived by her daughter, Jane Stanton Hitchcock; and her two grandchildren (Timothy's sons) Liam Stanton (b. 1994) and Conrad Stanton (b. 2010). She is also survived by her half sister, Elaine Rebay McDonald.