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Kirk Alyn 1910-1999
 


Country : Oxford, NJ
Profession : Actor
Date of birth : 1910-10-08
Date of death : 1999-03-14
Cause of Death : Unspecified

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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.

Career

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.

He had a similar problem after playing Superman, apart from starring in some similar comic book-type serials such as Blackhawk, landing a few (some even uncredited) roles in TV series and movies until he retired after making his final film in 1983, Scalps.

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

Superman

Some critics argue that Alyn's portrayal of the Man of Steel was superior to that of George Reeves, because (in the tradition of radio's Superman, Bud Collyer) he played Clark Kent and Superman very differently, adding to the disguise. As pointed out in Gary Grossman's book, Superman: Serial to Cereal, Reeves' characterizations of the dual roles were much more alike. Also, Alyn looked much more like the comic book version of the character than Reeves, 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, critics maintain that Reeves' fleshier facial features didn't look much like the Superman of the comics, while Alyn looked more or less exactly like the comic book rendition of Superman's appearance. Many fans were upset that they never really got to see Alyn fly in the serials; as he jumped up, turned into an animated character by way of rotoscoping, and flew off. Alyn 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, Alyn 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. He explains his method of portraying "Superman" and "Clark Kent" in a brief on-set interview 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 also starred in the following movie serials:

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

Honors

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

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