Saturday, August 22, 2015
Sherman Howard as Lex Luthor on Superboy the TV Series.
By Rennie Cowan
Actor Sherman Howard played Lex Luthor from season 2-4 on Superboy the TV series. His original name was "Howard Sherman" but he decided to switch it and he changed his name to "Sherman Howard". Sherman's portrayal is often very rememberable, and clearly stands out as one of best Lex Luthor incarnations ever to be portrayed. Some fans even proclaim that he is the best Lex Luthor incarnation of any other Superman-related TV show...or movie...for that matter....
Sherman Howard replaced Scott Wells who had played young Lex during the first season. Scott Wells had hair up until the end of season one when the show paid homage to the DC comics interpretation of how Lex lost his hair:. It was during a lab accident in which Superboy saved Lex's life, but the terrible price was the lose of his precious hair. From then on, he and Superboy were enemies.
Ilya Salkind replaced a majority of the cast for the second season which had never been done before on any TV series. It was risky, but Salkind was a gambler by nature and with his strong business sense the recasting boosted up the ratings. All the major actors of the show were replaced except for Stacy Haiduk who played Lana Lang. Ilya had said in the book "Age of TV Heroes" by Jason Hofius and George Khoury: "We kpt Stacy Haiduk. She was 'dynamite'." People just coming into the show might ask, why was Lex Luthor young in season one but much older in season 2, 3 and 4? This plot twist was explained in the two-part season two premiere episode "With This Ring I Thee Kill" Part 1 and 2.
In the second season premiere two-parteer, Lex Luthor had surgically changed his face to look like the billionaire weapons tycoon Mr. Eckworth. He assumed his identity (and his face) and even poured acid on his vocal cords to lower his voice. It was an interesting twist to the show and some felt that having an older, more experienced actor playing Lex Luthor did increasingly help the show. But don't expect the high-class, educated and rich Luthor of the "Smallville" series or the Lex Luthor of the Johyn Byrne revamp. Sherman Howard's Lex Luthor went mad (he was often crazy) and could have easily rivaled the Joker of Batman!
Sherman Howard's Lex Luthor was the mad scientist of the Fleischer cartoons who had a side-kick named Darla.(Tracy Roberts), Lex's girlfriend, was portrayed as a dumb Bimbo. Lex even made her aware of the fact that she was a dumb blonde. Darla was used as a more important character by the third season, and by season 4 got her own episode ("Darla Goes Ballistic") which was, coincidently, written by Sherman Howard. Darla and Lex Luthor were always together when cast in the same episode. Sherman Howard's Lex was indeed sinister and a real foe to be reckoned with on the Superboy TV Series.
Aside from the Superboy TV Series, Sherman Howard is also know for his small roles on three different Star Trek series, spanning all the way back from The Next Generation. On TNG, Sherman played Endar. On Deep Space Nine he played Syvar. He also played a character on Voyagers.