On Monday, May 14th, actress Margot Kidder, best known for playing Lois Lane in the Superman films, died at her home in Livingston, Montana. She was 69 years old. Kidder’s manager told CNN that the actress passed away “peacefully in her sleep.” Margot’s sister Annie told Global News “We and her family are all shocked…We’re sad and surprised.”
Though she was best known for her role in the Superman films, Margot Kidder had a rich career and appeared in many films including The Amityville Horror, Black Christmas, and The Great Waldo Pepper. Kidder was also a political activist. She publicly opposed the Gulf War and brought attention to environmental issues such as the construction of the Keystone pipeline.
Though she was born in the Northwest territories, Margot Kidder dreamed of bigger things. In a 2005 interview with the Guardian, she recounted her first experience with show business, saying: “When I was 12 my mom took me to New York and I saw Bye Bye Birdie, with people singing and dancing, and that was it,” she said. “I knew I had to go far away.”
Kidder’s first ever film role came in 1968 when she appeared in The Best Damn Fiddler from Calabogie to Kaladar, a 49-minute film produced by the National Film Board of Canada.
The first major film role for Margot Kidder was in the 1969 film Gaily, Gaily, which also starred Beau Bridges. From 1969 to 1970 she appeared in guest spots on many television series including Banacek and Harry O.
In 1973, Kidder played conjoined twins in the film Sisters, directed by Brian De Palma, whom she was dating at the time. Roger Ebert praised the film and Kidder’s performance.
In 1974, Margot Kidder starred in the horror film Black Christmas, for which she won a Canadian Film Award for best actress. In 1975, she appeared in The Great Waldo Pepper opposite Robert Redford.
Margot Kidder got the biggest role of her career in 1978, when she was cast by Richard Donner as Lois Lane in Superman. During filming, Kidder would begin a lifelong friendship with Christopher Reeve.
Kidder received a Saturn Award for best actress for her role in Superman, and she would go on to play the character in three more films. However, she publicly opposed replacing director Richard Donner with Richard Lester for Superman II, which led to her role being significantly cut for Superman III.
The Amityville Horror was another big success for Margot Kidder. Although the film received mixed reviews, it was a commercial success and remained a cult classic of the horror genre. Although she would continue to appear in films throughout the 80’s and 90’s, her career began to falter and she suffered a public nervous breakdown in 1996 due to bipolar disorder.
Despite the hardships she faced because of her bipolar disorder, Margot Kidder remained a staunch activist throughout her career and personal life. She never stopped fighting for what she believed in and remained politically active until her final days. After her death, many of her celebrity friends and fans shared their feelings about her. Mark Hamill tweeted: “On-screen she was magic. Off-screen she was one of the kindest, sweetest, most caring women I’ve ever known. I’ll miss you #MargoKidder. Your legacy will live on forever.” A tweet from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation read: “The Reeve Family and Foundation are deeply saddened by the loss of Margot Kidder. Fly high, our friend, shine bright. #Superman”
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