See the Cast of the ‘Superman’ Movies Then and Now
With ‘Man of Steel‘ hitting theaters this weekend, we’re getting nostalgic for the movies that launched Superman on the big screen. While Christopher Reeve is sadly no longer with us, all four ‘Superman’ movies from the ’70s and ’80s had some incredible talent. Join us for a look back at where the stars were back then, and where they are now.
Gene Hackman, Lex Luthor
Then: A serious actor who starred in films like ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ and ‘The French Connection,’ Gene Hackman was hesitant to take the role of Lex Luthor in the superhero film, and made things difficult for director Richard Donner when he finally did — he refused to wear a bald cap and it took a lot of convincing for him to get rid of his mustache.
Now: Hackman has had a long and wonderful career, having starred in everything from ‘Hoosiers’ to ‘The Royal Tenenbaums.’ The legendary actor retired from the biz in 2004, following a final role in the comedy ‘Welcome to Mooseport’
Margot Kidder, Lois Lane
Then: The star of ‘Black Christmas’ was engaged in one hell of a casting competition to play Superman’s love interest, Lois Lane. Anne Archer, Lesley Ann Warren and Stockard Channing — among many others — also vied for the part. In the end it came down to Channing and Kidder, but Kidder won because she was the only actress who could see the humor in the line “What color underwear am I wearing?”
Now: Kidder went on to famously star in ‘The Amityville Horror,’ as well as three more ‘Superman’ films. She notoriously struggled with mental health issues in the ’90s, when she disappeared for four days only to surface in a neighbor’s backyard. Her most recent film is ‘Matt’s Chance,’ starring the equally controversial Edward Furlong.
Valerie Perrine, Eve Teschmacher
Then: The role of Eve Teschmacher was originally offered to Goldie Hawn and Ann Margaret, who both wanted too much money for the part. Valerie Perrine, star of ‘The Last American Hero’ and ‘Lenny,’ took the part of Eve, Lex Luthor’s girlfriend/accomplice.
Now: Perrine went on to star in ‘Superman II’ and ‘Cannoball Run.’ She still continues to act here and there, most recently popping up on an episode of the TV series ‘Lights Out.’
Terence Stamp, General Zod
Then: A serious actor trained in theatre, Terence Stamp was chosen to play the role of the villain General Zod in both ‘Superman’ and ‘Superman II.’ He had previously been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in ‘Billy Budd.’
Now: Stamp has given several critically-acclaimed performances, most notably in ‘The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ and ‘The Limey.’ From 2003 to 2011, Stamp re-entered the ‘Superman’ universe and provided the voice of Jor-El, Clark Kent/Superman’s father, on the WB series ‘Smallville.’
Marc McClure, Jimmy Olsen
Then: Marc McClure beat out Jeff East (who portrays a young Clark Kent) for the role of newspaper photographer Jimmy Olsen. McClure reprised the role in the next three ‘Superman’ films, and in ‘Supergirl.’
Now: McClure went on to star in all three ‘Back to the Future’ movies, ‘That Thing You Do!’, and he had a role in both the original ‘Freaky Friday’ movie in 1976 and the 2003 remake. Most recently he appeared in the drama ‘Frost/Nixon.’
Sarah Douglas, Ursa
Then: Sarah Douglas nabbed the part of Ursa, Zod’s second in command, after actress Caroline Munro turned it down. Douglas was one of 600 actresses to audition for the part, which became her first major role.
Now: Douglas went on to portray Pamela Lynch for two seasons on the primetime soap opera ‘Falcon Crest,’ before returning to the sci-fi genre with parts in ‘Babylon 5,’ ‘Solarbabies,’ ‘The Stepford Husbands’ and ‘The Return of Swamp Thing.’ These days she does a lot of voice work for television, including ‘Superman: The Animated Series.’
Jack O’Halloran, Non
Then: The retired heavyweight boxer had made his first film appearance with the legendary Robert Mitchum in ‘Farewell, My Lovely.’ For ‘Superman,’ O’Halloran played the part of Non, Zod’s imposing and mute underling. The boxer-turned-actor says it was his idea to make Non a childlike character who uses sounds instead of words.
Now: O’Halloran had a few more acting roles, notably in ‘Dragnet’ and ‘The Mob Boss,’ and in 2008 he announced plans to open his own chain of film studio facilities. In 2010, O’Halloran published a book called ‘Family Legacy,’ in which he details his relationship with his father, Albert Anastasia, the former head of the Gambino crime family.
Annette O’Toole, Lana Lang
Then: The role of Lana Lang, Clark Kent’s childhood sweetheart in ‘Superman III,’ originally went out to Jennifer Jason Leigh, who turned it down because she felt she was too young for the part. Annette O’Toole, star of ‘Cat People’ and ’48 Hours,’ took the role.
Now: O’Toole re-entered the ‘Superman’ universe in the role of Martha Kent, mother of Clark/Superman, in the WB series ‘Smallville.’ She’s also married to legendary comedic actor Michael McKean.
Pamela Stephenson, Lorelei
Then: Actress Pamela Stephenson played the role of Lorelei, assistant to the villainous Ross Webster who pretends to be a bit of an airhead to fool people into getting what she wants, in ‘Superman III.’
Now: The New Zealand-born Stephenson became the first non-American ‘SNL’ cast member during its 1984-1985 season, where she specialized in doing spot-on impersonations of pop culture icons like Madonna and Cyndi Lauper. Stephenson, now Pamela Stephenson Connolly after wedding funnyman Billy Connolly, has a PhD in clinical psychology and her own Beverly Hills-based private practice.
Robert Vaughn, Ross Webster
Then: Robert Vaughn had previously starred in ‘The Magnificent Seven’ and ‘Bullitt’ before signing on to play nefarious multimillionaire Ross Webster, the man Superman must stop from taking over the world’s oil supply in ‘Superman 3.’
Now: Vaughn is quite good at playing the villain, and has done so in several other films, including Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s sports comedy ‘BASEketball.’
Jon Cryer, Lenny
Then: Just one year prior to being cast as Lenny Luthor, son of villain Lex in ‘Superman IV: The Quest for Peace,’ Jon Cryer had made a name for himself in the classic John Hughes film ‘Pretty in Pink.’
Now: Cryer had some ups and downs over the years, but found vast success on the CBS television series ‘Two and a Half Men,’ which has been on the air since 2003.
Mark Pillow, Nuclear Man
Then: Mark Pillow had never acted in a film prior to ‘Superman IV: The Quest for Peace,’ and was cast based on his physical similarity to Christopher Reeve. Pillow played the role of Nuclear Man, which was loosely based on the Atom Man character from the ‘Superman’ comic books.
Now: Pillow never acted in another movie, and though he had some minor television roles, the failure of ‘Superman IV’ pretty much ruined any chance he had of having a film career.
Mariel Hemingway, Lacy Warfield
Then: Granddaughter of famed writer Ernest Hemingway, Mariel Hemingway had starred in Woody Allen’s ‘Manhattan’ at age 16 and in ‘Star 80′ before being cast in ‘Superman IV’ as Lacy Warfield, the new editor of The Daily Planet — and a potential love interest for Clark Kent.
Now: Hemingway went on to appear in the notorious lesbian kiss episode of ‘Roseanne,’ and starred in the short-lived ABC series ‘Civil Wars.’ Most recently she appeared in the documentary ‘Running from Crazy.’ Hemingway picked up her grandfather’s knack for writing, and has published three books, including a memoir and a cookbook.