Superman actors: ever wonder who the best have been throughout the years? Superman is one of the most beloved heroes in American pop culture and probably the most often portrayed character on the big screen. Over the years, numerous actors have attempted to step into Superman’s shoes – and tights – more or less successfully. We have compiled a list of the 9 most memorable portrayals of Superman, as a tribute to the great actors who have helped bring the character to life.
Let’s take a look, in a fashion similar to our list of the 15 highest grossing movies ever.
No. 9: Gerard Christopher – Superboy 1989-1992
Although Superboy might not be the most well remembered Superman-related TV series, Gerard Christopher’s performance more than merits a mention in our countdown. After the series were finished, he auditioned for Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and was initially chosen by the casting director. Nonetheless, when producers learnt that he had already played the role of Superman, he was eventually dismissed.
No. 8: Danny Dark – Super Friends
If you grew up in the 70s or 80s you’re bound to remember Superman’s voice from the animated series, Super Friends. Well, the man behind the voice was none other than Danny Dark, a famous voice-over and announcer at the time.
See the rest of the best superman actors on the following pages:
No. 7: Kirk Alyn – Superman 1948
The first actor to ever play Superman on the big screens was bound to appear on our countdown. Alyn, with his comic-inspired poses and gestures, set the foundations for generations and generations of other actors who would end up portraying the superhero.
No. 6: Dean Cain – Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman 1993-1997
Unlike his fellow colleagues who also took on the role of Superman, Dean Cain’s interpretation was focused more on Clark Kent, rather than on the superhero. The dose of realism in his performance more than justifies his spot in our top ten.
No. 5: Bud Collyer – The Adventures of Superman 1940
Bud Collyer is the original voice of Superman from the 1940’s radio show “The Adventures of Superman”. He used his singing abilities and training to give Clark Kent and Superman two different voices. It is also thanks to Collyer that the concept of Kryptonite now exists – it was invented in the 40s as a means to give Collyer a break from time to time.
No. 4: Tom Welling – Smallvile 2001-2011
Although he wasn’t cast in a typical Superman role, Welling did an outstanding job of portraying the superhero. Even without the cape and flights, Welling’s Superman managed to captivate the fans for ten consecutive seasons.
No. 3: George Reeves – The Adventures of Superman 1952-1958
For six years in a row, George Reeves played the role of Superman to perfection. His demeanor and athletic build were synonymous with the character and when the actor committed suicide, for many it was like Superman himself had passed away.
No. 2: Christopher Reeve – Superman 1978
It is virtually impossible to talk about Superman without mentioning Christopher Reeve’s name. To this day, Reeve remains the iconic symbol of Superman in the mind of fans worldwide. Had he not the suffered the unfortunate accident that left him paralyzed, it is safe to assume he would have continued to play the role for many more years.
No. 1: Henry Cavill – Man of Steel 2013
Henry Cavill is the most recent actor who played the role of Superman in 2013’s “Man of Steel”, directed by Zack Snyder. Due to the high success-rate of the movie, Cavill has a good chance to become the portrayal of Superman of the XXI-st century. Also, recently Warner Bros. announced about its plan to release a new Superman movie staring Henry Cavill, where the character will join forces with another DC Comics character, Batman. The new movie, which will be also directed by Snyder, will most likely bring more fame to Cavill and will associate him one more time with the legendary Superman.