Kirk Alyn: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kirk Alyn (October 8, 1910 – March 14, 1999) was an American actor, best known for being the first actor to play Superman on screen, in the 1948 film serial Superman, and its 1950 sequel Atom Man Vs. Superman.


Early life

Born John Feggo, Jr. in Oxford, New Jersey to Hungarian immigrant parents, Kirk Alyn was educated at Columbia University.

In 1942, he married actress Virginia O'Brien, with whom he had two daughters and a son before they divorced in 1955.


Kirk Alyn started out as a chorus boy on Broadway, appearing in notable musicals such as Girl Crazy, Of Thee I Sing, and Hellzapoppin' in the 1930s.

He also worked as a singer and dancer in vaudeville before moving to Hollywood in the early 1940s to make feature films, where he was successful only in gaining bit parts in low-budget films before landing the role of Superman in 1948.[1]

Kirk Alyn also starred in the following movie serials:

  • Federal Agents Vs. Underworld Inc. (1948)
  • Radar Patrol Vs. Spy King (1950)
  • Blackhawk (1952)

After playing Superman, he again had casting problems. Apart from starring in some similar comic book-type serials, he landed few roles in TV series and movies, some even uncredited, until he retired after making his final film in 1983, Scalps.

He died in 1999 in The Woodlands, Texas of natural causes.


Kirk Alyn is best known as the title character in the first live-action movie serial Superman released in 1948. The serial consisted of 15 episodes which recounted Superman’s arrival on Earth, getting a job as a reporter at the Daily Planet newspaper, and meeting Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. The main plot consisted of Superman’s battle against the arch criminal the Spider Lady.

Lois Lane was portrayed by actress Noel Neill who would go on to play the same character in the 1950s TV series starring George Reeves. Jimmy Olsen was played by former Little Rascals star Tommy Bond.

Two years later, Atom Man vs. Superman was released, featuring Lyle Talbot as Superman’s arch-villain Lex Luthor. This serial also included a sequence involving an eerie alternate dimension, not unlike the Phantom Zone which would not appear in the comics for another 11 years.

Alyn gave the Man of Steel a different portrayal to Clark Kent, adding to the element of disguise. This was in the tradition of radio's Superman, Bud Collyer. By contrast, his successor George Reeves played the dual roles more alike, as pointed out in Gary Grossman's book, "Superman: Serial to Cereal".

Alyn's Superman looked quite like the comic book version of the character, with his chiseled face topped by a mop of black hair with the curl over his forehead. While George Reeves did resemble a statuesque Greek god, his fleshier facial features didn't look much like the Superman of the comics.

Many fans were disappointed that they never really got to see Kirk Alyn fly in the serials; as he jumped up, Superman turned into an animated character by way of rotoscoping, and flew off. Alyn had tried "flying" while suspended by hidden wires for the first serial but the wires turned out to be clearly visible after all and that footage was scrapped.

When Superman moved to television in 1951, Alyn was reportedly offered the part, but turned it down. In 1974, he published an autobiography entitled "A Job for Superman".

Alyn shared a very short cameo with his serial co-star, Noel Neill, as the parents of the young Lois Lane in the 1978 feature film, Superman. In a brief on-set interview, he explains his method of portraying Superman and Clark Kent, contained in a documentary narrated by Ernie Anderson, "The Making of Superman: The Movie" (1978).

In 1981, Alyn appeared as "Pa Cant" in the parody film "Superbman: The Other Movie", a role that lasted only seconds, as Cant dies from a heart attack immediately after discovering the strange visitor from the planet Krapton.


Kirk Alyn was the Grand Marshal of the Metropolis, Illinois Christmas parade and Annual Superman Celebrations several times.


  1. ^ Katz, Ephraim (2005). The Film Encyclopedia, 5th Ed. New York City: Harper Collins. p. 32. ISBN 0062730894. 


  • Grossman, Gary (1976). Superman: Serial to Cereal. Popular Library. ISBN 0445040548. 

External links

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address