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You Decide – Before the Man of Steel, Which Actor Do You Think Was the Definitive Superman?

This one is a bit more about who finishes SECOND, but WHO comes in second is still fascinating to me.

Check out the poll after the break…


Are you going to do one for Lois Lane?

That strikes me as a much closer race and my personal favorite (Phyllis Coates) is a genuine dark horse.

The definitive Lois Lane? That’s easy: Rosalind Russell.

The first Superman I saw on film was George Reeve, but for me Christopher Reeve IS Superman. I don’t think anyone else can do the character justice on film.

I wish Bud Collyer would have been an option.

Christopher Reeve is a shoe-in for this, and rightfully so, so I gave my vote for George Reeves. It would be great if he came in 2nd.

I’m with Jazzbo. I think Christopher Reeve is the obvious choice on the list, but really, he and Collyer were the only ones that made me believe that the Clark Kent disguise could really WORK. And Collyer did it with just his voice. Check it out here if you haven’t ever heard it– it’s really something.

I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, so my definite Superman voice artist is the late, great, Danny Dark.

Agreed. I’ve said this before, but Danny Dark’s Superman sounded like someone who was raised in Kansas.

Commander Benson

June 18, 2013 at 11:48 pm

George Reeves, of course. Everyone else was just a pretender to the Superman throne.

I agree with Mr. Hacker above, though. Phyllis Coates was the ideal Lois Lane.

Doesn’t that question imply that Henry Cavill is now the definitive Superman? Because, personally, even if he does 3 films and a couple of JLAs Christopher Reeve will always be the definitive Superman. I have a soft spot for George Reeves but the dude was too out of shape to play Superman.

Oh and Margot Kidder is my definitive Lois Lane!

The poll was initially asked before Man of Steel was released, hence it would not be fair to include Cavill in the comparison.


June 19, 2013 at 5:41 am

I went with Christopher Reeve…although I really think that Brandon Routh got shortchanged. If he had been given a decent Superman franchise to work with, I think he would be right up there. Even when he showed up on Chuck, he had that “Superman” presence right away, even though there was no reason for his character to have that just the way he was written.

Not surprised Welling is #2. After all, he did the job for the first decade of this century.

I’m surprised no-one remembered the first film Superman: Kirk Alyn.

He gave a bounce – often literally – to the character. A professional dancer in superb physical condition, his Superman is someone you can believe is from a planet with much higher gravity than Earth. :-)

Like Jazzbo and Greg H, my favorite Superman is Bud Collyer from the Fleischer cartoons and the 1940s radio show. Same with Joan Alexander’s Lois Lane, all kidding aside.

Was? Christopher Reeve is still the definitive Superman!

As someone who grew up in the ’90s I’m a bit disappointed by the lack of George Newbern and Tim Daly. Yes they were only the voice, but the cartoons were my big exposure to these characters growing up. My big moment where I flipped to loving Caville’s performance was when his voiced changed after he put on the suit. To me the essence of Superman is that voice that tells you that everything’s going to be ok.

Live-action? Dean Cain. The hair’s a bit too slick, but he was excellent.

I don’t know who’s voting for that “Smallville” brat. Or who would even watch that show. It butchered the mythos and made Superman into Dawson’s Creek.

Only nitpick with this poll: it leaves out Tim Daly. Yeah he didn’t play him in a live-action movie, but he defined the voice of Superman for the majority of the last 20 years.

Zor-El of Argo

June 20, 2013 at 10:41 am

Christopher Reeve without question. I loved Smallville, but Welling didn’t really play “Superman,” or even really Clark Kent as we have always known him. Brandon Routh would be a great choice to play Reeve in a story based on the actors life, but he was not a good Superman. Kinda like how Ben Affleck worked as George Reeves, but could never be Superman. Reeves would be my number 2 Superman.

I liked Daly and Newbern as the voice of Superman, but neither did a voice transition for Clark/Supes. However, I did love Dana Delany as Lois Lane.

I had seen the Fletcher Superman and the George Reeves Superman before I saw Christopher Reeve, but Reeve clicked for me. While I really appreciate the Fletcher’s, S:TAS and the Man of Steel. Reeve will always be my favorite.
As for Lois Lane, Noel Neill will always be my favorite. Margot Kidder was too bit whiney for me.

Bud Collyer, he was the first, and was the actor playing Superman for a longer time, more episodes, than anybody else. He defined Superman outside the comics.

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