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Adams in 1952
|Born||Betty Jane Bierce|
August 7, 1918
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
|Died||May 21, 2014(2014-05-21) (aged 95)|
Palm Desert, California, U.S.
Cause of death
|Spouse(s)||Second husband: Thomas Turnage (1945–2000; his death)|
Acting careerAdams was born in San Antonio, Texas and received a full scholarship to Juilliard, which she turned down to spend years studying at the Pasadena Playhouse. From there she got her start on Lux Radio Theatre and then with the Harry Conover Modeling Agency, where she was given her nickname "Poni". (This was supposedly due to her love of horses, but in reality it was to provide her with a more memorable stage name.) She returned to using her real name in 1945. She may be best known for her role as Nina in House of Dracula (1945), but she also has the distinction of acting in early adaptations of both major DC Comics franchises: Batman, where she played Vicki Vale in the second Batman serial, Batman and Robin, and also a character in the first Superman television series.
Personal life and deathHer first husband was a United States Navy pilot who died in World War II. In 1945, she married Thomas K. Turnage, a decorated Major General with the Army. Turnage served in the Korean War and earned the Distinguished Service Medal and Bronze Star. He later served as the last administrator of the Veterans Administration before the VA became a cabinet department during Ronald Reagan's presidential term. Adams and Turnage had two children.
Poni Adams died on May 21, 2014 from natural causes at the age of 95.
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Jane Adams played Vicki Vail in the 1949 serial BATMAN AND ROBIN, with Robert Lowery as Batman, and Johnny Duncan as Robin..
Although both Jane Adams and Robert Lowery appeared on THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, they didn't appear as Vicki Vale or Batman. The television program tended toward the mundane and ignored many elements from the comics as well as the serials. There was another problem with that show.
Although the old Superman radio show frequently harped on the theme of "tolerance", the same program tended to be anti-female. The first season of the television version tended to have the same unfortunate bias. Lois Lane was supposed to be both good and attractive, but not other females.
On "Ghost Wolf", Jane Adams was a girl werewolf, who in the end turned out not to be a werewolf after all. Since it ended up that she wasn't horrible, she qualifies as one of only two "good" pretty girls of any importance to appear in the first season, apart from Lois Lane.*
The idea that Jane Adams was scary was strange, but somehow typical of the Superman t.v. show in that period, which had an unfortunate tendency to depict women as horrible or hostile, if not both.
*The other was Gloria Saunders in "The Riddle Of The Chinese Jade". In both cases the favorably depicted girl character was supposed to be a foreigner - one was Chinese, the other was Canadian. .
Jane Adams Photos
As the hunchbacked nurse in HOUSE OF DRACULA.