Best known to scores of fans as the timeless incarnation of DC Comics’ Lois Lane, Margot Kidder’s complicated life came to an end all too soon as she passed away peacefully at the age of 69 in her sleep on May 13th.
Kidder’s IMDB page may not include many big name roles, but the actress, who has worked steadily since she began her career in 1968, made her mark on popular culture. Despite her success, Kidder lived a troubled life. Burdened with mood swings starting at the young age of 14, likely the result of her then undiagnosed bipolar disorder, the young Kidder was sent by her concerned parents to Havergal College, an all-girls boarding school to help reduce her stress, and there she found solace on the stage.
After graduating, Kidder moved to Los Angeles to pursue her childhood dream of becoming a movie star. The beautiful, dusky-voiced actress starred alongside Beau Bridges (Gaily, Gaily) in 1968 and Gene Wilder (Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx) in 1970, and then dabbled in television before making a real mark with her role as conjoined twins in Brian De Palma’s psychological horror classic Sisters.
The actress followed her horror success with two award-winning performances in 1974, another horror classic Black Christmas, and the Canadian drama A Quiet Day in Belfast for which she won two Canadian Film Awards for Best Actress.
By the time she was cast in the iconic role of Lois Lane in 1978 she had held her own alongside leading men like Peter Fonda and Robert Redford, appeared in Playboy alongside an article she had written herself, and proven herself to be leading lady material. With the commercial success of Superman: The Movie, Kidder achieved her dream of becoming a bonified movie star.
In 1979 Kidder returned to her horror roots, staring as Kathy Lutz in the seminal classic The Amityville Horror, another major commercial success. The film further solidified her status as more than a movie star but as a pop-culture icon.
Kidder continued to work steadily, though the status of her roles diminished as Hollywood shifted to younger actresses, and was totally derailed when a 1990 car accident left her with a broken pelvis forcing her to take time off from acting. Kidder, who had used natural treatments to help control her mental illness, suffered a tragic depressive episode in 1996 when the stress of her financial woes caused by her waning career and the loss of her memoirs on a crashed laptop became too much. Kidder’s resulting diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder following the very public breakdown seemed to help the actress take back control of her life. Living a quiet life in Montana she continued to appear in guest spots in film and TV until just last year.
Margot Kidder’s life has come to a peaceful end, having become the movie star she always hoped to be. She is remembered by her siblings, her daughter, and her grandchildren.
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Images: American International Pictures, Warner Bros.