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Councilman John Akouri, former Washington, DC Press Secretary & Capitol Hill Advisor, is President & CEO of the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

R.I.P Joan Alexander; Lebanese American Actress Who Portrayed Radio's Lois Lane, the Daily Planet Reporter Repeatedly Rescued from Danger by Superman

Lebanese American actress Joan Alexander has died at the age of 94. The star, best known for voicing Lois Lane in 1940s radio show The Adventures of Superman, passed away on Thursday, May 21, in New York after suffering an intestinal blockage

(NEW YORK CITY)...(From the Washington Post) Joan Alexander, a leading radio actress of the 1940s best known for playing Lois Lane, the ace reporter who was constantly being rescued from peril by Superman, died May 21 at New York Presbyterian Hospital of an intestinal ailment. She was 94. After an early modeling and stage career, Alexander ecame a versatile performer on dozens of radio serials, notably as the loyal secretary Della Street in "Perry Mason." She played recurring characters on radio soap operas and dramas including "Lone Journey," "Light of the World" and "This is Nora Drake."

But Alexander achieved her greatest prominence - and enduring fame among devoted Superman fans - as one of the handful of women to portray Lane, an intrepid reporter for the fictitious Daily Planet. According to many sources, she was the third actress cast as Lane in the serial "The Adventures of Superman," which first aired in February 1940 on New York station WOR and reached a broad audience through syndication on the Mutual network. For the next decade, Alexander was heard playing opposite actor Bud Collyer as Superman, the Man of Steel from planet Krypton who saves Lane from enemy agents during wartime and from various other foes bent on destroying the American way of life. By day, Superman disguises himself as Lane's nerdy, fumbling newsroom colleague, Clark Kent. Collyer once told an interviewer, "Joan is one of those rare actresses - especially in radio where you can't be seen and have to depend entirely on voice - who can go in on something cold and her instincts are so right as an actress that without even a rehearsal or a read-through, she is right."

In addition to their radio work - the show later aired on the ABC network - Alexander and Collyer provided voiceovers in 17 animated Superman shorts, made by Fleischer and Paramount studios, that played in movie theaters during World War II. Alexander and Collyer reunited in the late 1960s to do voice-overs for the Saturday morning cartoon "The New Adventures of Superman" on CBS.Alexander was a regular panelist on the TV game show "The Name's the Same" in the early 1950s and had a supporting role on Broadway in the Jean Kerr comedy "Poor Richard" (1964), starring Alan Bates and Joanna Pettet. She subsequently became a homemaker and hostess, having married for her third and final time to Arthur Stanton, a prominent auto distributor who helped introduce the Volkswagen Beetle to America. The couple was known for throwing sumptuous parties at their homes in New York City and East Hampton, Long Island. Leonard Bernstein conducted "Happy Birthday" to celebrate the 21st birthday of Alexander's daughter, the novelist Jane Stanton Hitchcock.

Alexander was born Louise Abras in St. Paul, Minn., on April 16, 1915, to parents of Lebanese heritage. She was 3 when her father died, and her new stepfather shipped her to a convent school on Long Island. As a young woman, she turned to modeling and then to acting, taking a new first name that she borrowed from actress Joan Crawford. She was resourceful, once landing a role by convincing a producer that she could use her Garment District connections to get them free costumes. She later studied acting in Europe with Benno Schneider, a director best known for his work in Yiddish theater, and toured widely on the continent during the Nazi rise to power. "I even got to Casablanca before Roosevelt and Humphrey Bogart put it in on the map," she was quoted as saying, according to Thomas A. DeLong's 1996 book, "Radio Stars."In 1944, she married John Sylvester White, an actor best known for playing assistant principal Woodman in the TV show "Welcome Back, Kotter." The marriage ended in divorce, as did a later marriage to Robert T. Crowley. She was married to Stanton from 1955 until his death in 1987.

Survivors include a daughter from her second marriage, Hitchcock, whom Stanton adopted and who lives in New York City and Washington; a son from her third marriage, Timothy Stanton of New York; a half-sister; and a grandson. Another son from her third marriage, Adam Stanton, died in 1993. After his death, Arthur Stanton reportedly left Alexander $70 million. Last year, she filed a lawsuit accusing her financial advisers of fraud, professional malpractice and other crimes for losing or stealing much of that fortune. The case is still pending.

JOHN AKOURI ONLINE NEWSROOM 'We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. We will not tire, or rest, until the war on terror is won.' -- PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH Add to end of above"line without paranthesis when wanting to loop sound (( loop="-1">