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Happy Birthday Kal-El: Iconic Hero Superman Celebrates 80 Years

Faster than a speeding bullet, Superman has grown from his first appearance in a 1938 comic book sold for a dime, to a billowing global franchise worth millions in merchandise and licenses in 80 years. See some of the big names that brought this iconic superhero to life on screen.

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Ryan Mathew
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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Actor Kirk Alyn, the first actor to play Superman in a live-action adaptation, poses on set for the film series "Superman" circa 1948.
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Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images
Actors George Reeves as Superman/Clark Kent and Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane in the American television series 'Adventures of Superman', circa 1952.
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Bettmann Archive via Getty Images
Christopher Reeve wears the cape of Superman, in the 1978 film of the same name. Reeve, perhaps one of the most iconic actors to take on the mantle, would later star in a string of Superman sequels and appear as a guest character to Tom Welling's Clark Kent in "Smallville."
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Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Actor Dean Cain arrives at the Warner Bros. premiere of "Superman Returns" held at the Mann Village Theater on June 21, 2006, in Westwood, California. Cain portrayed the man on the small screen in "The Adventures of Lois and Clark."
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Jason Kempin/Getty Images
Actor Tom Welling attends the 2010 'The CW Network UpFront' at Madison Square Garden on May 20, 2010, in New York City. Welling portrayed Clark Kent in "Smallville."
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Evan Agostini/Getty Images
EMPTY_CAPTION"Superman Returns" star Brandon Routh unveils a new Superman wax figure at Madame Toussauds New York, June 27, 2006, in New York, New York.
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Getty Images for DC Entertainmen
Actor Henry Cavill holds Superman's debut comic at San Diego Comic-Con on July 19, 2013, in San Diego, California. Cavill is the latest actor to play Clark Kent and his superhero alter-ego on the big screen for DC Comics, including "Man of Steel," "Batman v Superman" and "Justice League."
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Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images
Ultimate Superman fan Nicolas Cage will get a second chance to play his favorite superhero after his first stab at playing Superman for Tim Burton's "Superman Lives" movie fell through. Cage, who loved the character so much he named his son Kal-El after him, will voice Superman/Clark Kent in the 2018 movie adaptation of "Teen Titans GO!"
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