Actors Who Played The Role of Superman and Their Acting Careers: Superman is one of the most charismatic, kind-hearted and compassionate characters, whereas his alias, Clark Kent, has a plain personality. Playing the part of Superman, therefore, becomes tricky, because one has to ensure that there is a proper balance between the two personalities. These are the actors who rose to the challenge effortlessly, so let us take a look at them:

Actors Who Played The Role of Superman and Their Acting Careers

Christopher Reeve

Actors Who Played The Role of Superman and Their Acting Careers - Christopher Reeve
Actors Who Played The Role of Superman and Their Acting Careers – Christopher Reeve

Christopher Reeve harboured a passion for acting since he was a child. Reeve even went to school for acting while gaining hands-on experience during his time. He studied acting at Cornell and Julliard, both highly reputable colleges for arts programs.

After graduating, Reeve auditioned for Broadway plays along with working on a soap opera at the same time. Katharine Hepburn upon seeing Reeve’s performance immediately saw his talent and took him under her wing as he began working on the Broadway play, ‘A Matter of Gravity’.

Christopher Reeve only got the role of Superman in the 1970s film adaptation because of the casting director’s consistent insistence. While the producers kept on rejecting Reeve’s profile, he eventually got the chance to audition and go for a screen test, which would lead to him getting the iconic role.

There were a total of four films that made this franchise, which successively began disappointing fans with every new release. After Superman, Reeve would go on to star in many more films and have an extensive career. He won multiple awards for his different roles over the years, for instance, the Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance in a film remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window.

In 1995, Reeve was involved in a horseback riding accident, which caused him a cervical spinal injury and paralysed his body from the neck down. Reeve was an outspoken activist about the injustice disabled people face for all of his life. In October 2004, unfortunately, Reeve died due to health complications.

Dean Cain

Dean Cain
Actors Who Played The Role of Superman and Their Acting Careers – Dean Cain

Dean Cain is most famous for his role as the Superman in the popular television series of the time, ‘Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman’. Cain began his career in the film industry by writing screenplays and taking on smaller roles in sitcoms whenever the opportunity presented itself. All of this changed once Cain became the face of Superman when the show ‘Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman’ began airing in 1993.

Teri Hatcher played the role of the journalist and Superman’s love interest, Lois Lane opposite Dean Caine’s Clark Kent. The show ran for a total of four years on the ABC Network, starting from 1993 to 1997, completing four seasons during this time period.

During its airtime, the show gained immense popularity.

Caine would go on to do many more projects after the television show, and make some appearances in shows like ‘Law and Order’ and ‘Criminal Minds’. From 2015 to 2017, Caine returned to the DC universe, this time in a completely different role of Jeremiah Danvers, the foster father of Kara Danvers who is Supergirl.

George Reeves

Actors Who Played The Role of Superman and Their Acting Careers - George Reeves
Actors Who Played The Role of Superman and Their Acting Careers – George Reeves

George Reeves’s film career began in 1939 with a minor role in the classic ‘Gone with the Wind’ as one of Scarlet O’Hara’s many suitors. After this, Reeves would go on to do many B-pictures and multiple full-length films under a variety of production companies. Before his journey as Superman had even begun, Reeves had already starred in two different Academy-winning films.

Finally, in 1951, Reeves was offered the role of Superman in the new television series, which he readily accepted. The show was ultimately acquired by the ABC network which gave Reeves and the show as a whole much larger visibility. Due to the restrictive nature of the show’s contracts, Reeves could not work on much else during his time in the role of Superman.

Tom Welling

Tom Welling
Actors Who Played The Role of Superman and Their Acting Careers – Tom Welling

Tom Welling has worked as a director, a writer, a producer, an actor and even a construction worker before getting his big break in the film and modelling industry. Welling became popular as a part of the legal drama ‘Judging Amy’ before he auditioned for the role of Superman, along with many, many other actors for the WB show, ‘Smallville’.

Amongst all the people from all over the country that auditioned for the role of Clark Kent, Tom Welling was cast as the charming superhero. ‘Smallville’ aired on WB and later on the CW for a total of ten years, spanning ten different seasons. Welling received a considerable amount of praise and fame from this role, itself, he even went on to win the Teen Choice Award for the ‘Best Male Breakout Star’ in 2002 for his role in ‘Smallville’.

While working on the show, Welling also got the opportunity to work with two of the former Superman actors, Christopher Reeve and Dean Cain. Even though the show ended in 2011, Welling reprised his role as Superman for the crossover event of the CW shows in 2019, ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’. Besides this, Welling appeared in a season of the CW show ‘Lucifer’ and last starred in a show called ‘Professionals’ in 2020.

Henry Cavill

Actors Who Played The Role of Superman and Their Acting Careers - Henry Cavill
Actors Who Played The Role of Superman and Their Acting Careers – Henry Cavill

Henry Cavill is the most relevant actor to have taken the role of Superman in recent years. Cavill has been playing the role of this iconic superhero in the DCEU projects since his first appearance in Zack Snyder’s ‘Man Of Steel’ (2013) right until his latest appearance in the Snyder Cut of ‘Justice League’.

Even before his casting as Superman, Cavill had a pretty extensive acting career with several credits to his name. He played a royal in the award-winning television show ‘The Tudors’. Even between the Superman films, Cavill has worked on films like ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’ (2018) and ‘Enola Holmes’ (2020). Cavill has also received tremendous praise for his performance in the Netflix show ‘The Witcher’.

Brandon Routh

Brandon Routh
Actors Who Played The Role of Superman and Their Acting Careers – Brandon Routh

Brandon Routh marked the beginning of his career with an appearance in a Christina Aguilera music video. He even appeared in an episode of the popular sitcom, ‘Gilmore Girls’.

Routh rose to fame with a sudden intensity after his casting as Superman in 2004 in the Warner Bros. film ‘Superman: Returns’. Routh was signed for a Superman trilogy with two more films following this one. Though this plan never came to fruition as the first film itself failed miserably at the box office.

This would not be Routh’s last endeavour with DC, however, as he took on the role of Ray Palmer, an innovative scientist on the CW show ‘Arrow’ in 2014. Routh would later reprise this role as one of the main characters of another CW show set in the same universe called ‘Legends of Tomorrow’. In the CW shows’ crossover event, ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’, Routh once again reprised his role as Superman from an alternate universe.

Tyler Hoechlin

Actors Who Played The Role of Superman and Their Acting Careers - Tyler Hoechlin
Actors Who Played The Role of Superman and Their Acting Careers – Tyler Hoechlin

Tyler Hoechlin’s acting career began incredibly early when he was cast in the film ‘Road to Peridition’ alongside the talented actor Tom Hanks. This role earned Hoechlin many award nominations.

In 2016, the CW show ‘Supergirl’ introduced Hoechlin in the role of Superman, Kara’s cousin. This appearance also earned him a Saturn Award nomination. Hoechlin would go on to reprise this role multiple times over the years. CW then developed a show, centring on Superman called ‘Superman and Lois’ in 2021.

Besides playing Superman, Hoechlin was one of the important characters on MTV’s show ‘Teen Wolf’ as Derek Hale. Hoechlin will be reprising this role once again in the upcoming ‘Teen Wolf’ film.

Also Read: Big Budget Marvel and DC Movies That Flopped

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