Men of Steel: 10 Actors Who Have Played Superman

10:30 AM 6/16/2016

by Sydney Bucksbaum

'Supergirl' becomes the latest TV or movie to feature the famed DC Comics character.

Courtesy of DC Entertainment and Getty Images

Now that Supergirl is introducing the iconic superhero in season two, take a look back on who else has donned the red cape in movies and TV shows.

  • Tyler Hoechlin – Supergirl (2016)

    The newest actor to take on the high-flying role is the Teen Wolf alum, who will appear in the CBS-turned-CW series for the first two episodes of season two. "Greg and I have wanted to work with Tyler for ages, so this worked out perfectly because Tyler is Superman," executive producer Andrew Kreisberg says. "We are so thrilled and humbled to add another amazing actor to the legacy of this iconic character."

  • Henry Cavill -- Man of Steel (2013), Batman V. Superman (2016)

    Warner Bros./Photofest

    DC Comics' most recent Superman is the one currently playing the role on the big screen in the Warner Bros. film franchise. But will that continue after Batman V. Superman (spoiler alert) killed off the man of steel? That remains to be seen. 

  • Tom Welling -- Smallville (2001-2011)

    Courtesy of WB

    The man who played Clark Kent/Superman the longest also lived on The CW for this origin series. Welling had a "no tights, no flights" rule, though, and he stood by it for all 10 years of the fan-favorite show. Even in the series finale, when Clark finally wears the red and gold "S" on his blue suit and takes to the sky, it was all CGI, a fact that still irks Smallville fans five years later. 

  • Christopher Reeve -- Superman: The Movie (1978), Superman II (1980), Superman III (1983), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

    Warner Bros. Pictures/Photofest

    Widely regarded as one of the most genuine portrayals of Clark Kent/Superman in pop culture history, Reeve made the impossible task of using glasses as a disguise actually believable. That was all thanks to his decision to make the mannerisms of Clark and Superman completely opposite. 

  • George Reeves -- Superman & The Mole Men (1951), Adventures of Superman (1952-1958)

    Motion Pictures for Television (MPTV)/Photofest

    But before Reeve, there was Reeves, and his legacy is remembered less for playing Clark Kent and more for what happened after cameras stopped rolling. TV's first Superman died from a gunshot to the head, and it was ruled an open-and-shut suicide case by the police, but many believe there is a conspiracy hiding the fact that Reeves was actually murdered. 

  • Dean Cain -- Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993-1997)


    This Superman alum may have hung up his tights, but he's done with the Kryptonian world just yet. He currently guest stars on Supergirl as Kara's (Melissa Benoist) presumed dead adoptive father Jeremiah Danvers, and it was revealed in the final episodes of season one that he might actually still be alive.

  • Brandon Routh – Superman Returns (2006)

    Warner Bros./Photofest

    Before Cavill took over the reigns as the big screen version of Superman, Routh wore the tights first for the highly controversial movie Superman Returns. Fans criticized the movie for its lack of action and the fact that Superman had a child with Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth). But Routh is still in the DC Comics family – he currently stars as Ray Palmer aka the Atom on The CW's Legends of Tomorrow, which is in the same universe as Supergirl

  • Channing Tatum – The Lego Movie (2014) (voice)

    Warner Brothers/Photofest

    Tatum may have the physical looks to play Superman, but he only lent his voice for the animated hit movie. His onscreen love/hate bromance with Green Lantern (Jonah Hill) was a highlight of the whole movie. 

  • Mark Harmon – Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (2010) (voice)

    Warner Home Video/Photofest

    Another actor to voice Clark Kent is the NCIS star, although his was a more serious version of Superman than Tatum's. 

  • Kyle MacLachlan – Justice League: The New Frontier (2008) (voice)

    Courtesy of DC Entertainment/Warner Bros.

    The list of actors who have voiced Clark in animated movies is a long one, and it includes the Twin Peaks star. MacLachlan's movie was based on Darwyn Cooke's award-winning graphic novel, Superman: Kryptonite