Margot Kidder

Margot Kidder

Birth name: Margaret Ruth Kidder
Born: October 17, 1948
Died: May 13, 2018 (at age 69)
Birthplace: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada

Margaret Ruth Kidder (October 17, 1948 - May 13, 2018), professionally known as Margot Kidder, was a Canadian-American actress and activist. She rose to fame in 1978 for her role as Lois Lane in the Superman film series, alongside Christopher Reeve.

Kidder began her career in the 1960s appearing in low-budget Canadian films and television series, before landing a lead role in Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx (1970). She then played twins in Brian De Palma's cult thriller Sisters (1973), a sorority student in the slasher film Black Christmas (1974) and the titular character's girlfriend in the drama The Great Waldo Pepper (1975), opposite Robert Redford. Her performance as Kathy Lutz in the blockbuster horror film The Amityville Horror (1979) gained her further mainstream exposure.

By the late 1980s, Kidder's career began to slow. In 1996, she had a highly publicized manic episode and nervous breakdown. By the 2000s, she maintained steady work in independent films and television, with guest-starring roles on Smallville, Brothers & Sisters and The L Word. In 2015, she won a Daytime Emmy Award for her performance on the children's television series R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour. She also acted in theatrical productions, most notably appearing on Broadway in a 2002 production of The Vagina Monologues.

In 2005, Kidder became a naturalized U.S. citizen. She was an outspoken political, environmental and anti-war activist.[1] She died at her home in May 2018 in Livingston, Montana, aged 69, in what was later ruled a suicide by drug overdose.

Kidder, one of five children, was born in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, the daughter of Jocelyn Mary "Jill" (née Wilson), a history teacher, and Kendall Kidder, an explosives expert and engineer.[2][3][4] Kidder also spent time growing up in Labrador City, Newfoundland and Labrador.[5] Her mother was from British Columbia, Canada, and her father was from New Mexico, United States.[6] She was of Welsh and English descent.[7]

Kidder was born in Yellowknife because of her father's job, which required the family to live in remote locations.[8] Her father was manager of the Yellowknife Telephone Company from 1948–51. Kidder recalled her childhood in northern Canada, saying, "We didn't have movies in this little mining town. 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. I knew I had to go far away. I was clueless, but I okay."[9]

Kidder attended multiple schools during her youth, and graduated from Havergal College, a boarding school in Toronto, in 1966.[10] She had a sister, Annie,[nb 1] who is a Canadian actress and executive director of the People for Education charity, and three brothers: John, Michael and Peter. Kidder's niece Janet Kidder is also an actress.[11]


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1968-1974: Early work

Margot Kidder in Gaily, Gaily (1969)

Kidder made her film debut in a 49-minute film titled The Best Damn Fiddler from Calabogie to Kaladar (1968), a drama set in a Canadian logging community, which was produced by the Challenge for Change.[12] Her first major feature was the 1969 American film Gaily, Gaily, a comedy starring Beau Bridges. She appeared in a number of TV drama series for the CBC, including guest appearances on Wojeck, Adventures in Rainbow Country, and a semi-regular role as a young reporter on McQueen, and as a panelist on Mantrap which featured discussions centered on a feminist perspective.[13] During the 1971-72 season, she co-starred as barmaid Ruth in Nichols, a James Garner western, which aired 22 episodes on NBC.

In the late 1960s, Kidder was based in Toronto, and in 1970, relocated to Vancouver.[14] During an August 3, 1970 interview on The Dick Cavett Show, Kidder stated that she was ambivalent toward having a film career, and was considering working as a film editor in the future.[14] She appeared in "Such Dust As Dreams Are Made On", the first pilot for Harry O which aired in March 1973. She was a guest star in a 1972 episode of the George Peppard detective series Banacek.

Kidder with Gene Wilder in Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx (1970)

After moving to Los Angeles, Kidder was cast opposite Gene Wilder in Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx (1970) as an exchange student in Ireland who becomes the love interest of a poor horse manure collector in Dublin whom she almost runs over with her car. After filming in Ireland, Kidder relocated to New York City to further study acting.[15] A year later, she returned to California, and was cast in the Brian De Palma film Sisters (1973), which gained notoriety for both director and Kidder, who as leading lady, portrayed conjoined twins.[9] Kidder had been in a relationship with De Palma at the time, and had been roommates with co-star Jennifer Salt in Los Angeles.[16]

She then starred in the slasher film Black Christmas (1974), for which she won a Canadian Film Award for Best Actress; followed by a role as a prostitute in the Terrence Malick-scripted The Gravy Train (1974).[16] She received another Canadian Film Award for Best Actress for her performance in the war drama A Quiet Day in Belfast (1974).[17]

1975-1979: Superman, mainstream recognition

Kidder was cast in a lead role in The Great Waldo Pepper (1975) opposite Robert Redford, she also appeared in The Reincarnation of Peter Proud and 92 in the Shade (1975) with Peter Fonda, all of which established her as a commercially viable leading lady.[17] Kidder famously married the director of 92 in the Shade, Thomas McGuane. She appeared in the March 9, 1975 edition of The American Sportsman, learning how to hang glide, and providing the narration, with a remote microphone recording her reactions in flight; the segment concluded with Kidder doing solos soaring amid the Wyoming Rockies.[18]

Kidder appeared in the March 1975 issue of Playboy, photographed in black and white by Douglas Kirkland, with the article written by Kidder herself.[19]

After taking a break from acting after the birth of her daughter in 1976, Kidder sought to return to making films in the late 1970s. After a script reading of Lois Lane for the 1978 superhero film Superman: The Movie, Kidder was flown to England by Richard Donner for screen-tests.[16] Donner ultimately cast Kidder in the role, which would become her most iconic.[16] Filming took over a year, and the film was released during Christmas 1978, to major commercial success. Kidder won a Saturn Award for best actress for her performance in the film. Kidder publicly disagreed with the decision of producers Alexander Salkind and Ilya Salkind to replace Richard Donner as director for Superman II (1980).[20] It was reported that as a result, Kidder's role in Superman III (1983) consisted of less than five minutes of footage,[21] though the producers have denied this in DVD commentaries. Her role in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) was more substantial.[citation needed]

Kidder's performance as Kathy Lutz in the summer release of The Amityville Horror (1979) further cemented her status as one of Hollywood's leading ladies. The Amityville Horror was a major commercial success, grossing over $86 million in the United States, but received mixed reviews from critics.[22] Janet Maslin of The New York Times, though giving the film a mixed review, said Kidder "stubbornly remains the bright-eyed life of the party ."[23] In retrospect, Kidder called the film "a piece of shit."[16] The same year, Kidder hosted an episode of the American sketch comedy TV show Saturday Night Live.

1980-1999: Later roles

Kidder continued to work in film throughout the 1980s, appearing in Paul Mazursky's Willie & Phil (1980) and Some Kind of Hero (1982). Her performance in Heartaches (1981) generated critical acclaim and Oscar buzz. As court stenographer-cum-private eye Mickey Raymond, the PG rating Trenchcoat (1983) received led Disney to launch Touchstone Pictures. She appeared opposite James Garner in the Hollywood crime drama The Glitter Dome (1984). In 1985, she toplined Little Treasure for Columbia Tri-Star with co-stars Ted Danson and Burt Lancaster, where she played a distraught stripper looking for her bank robber-father's buried fortune. In 1986 she was selected as the English narrator for the Japanese animated series The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

A 1982 stage performance of Bus Stop, starring Kidder as Cherie and Tim Matheson as Bo, was broadcast on HBO. In 1983, she produced and starred as Eliza Doolittle in a version of Pygmalion with Peter O'Toole for Showtime.[24] She produced and starred in the French-Canadian period television film Louisiana (1984) as a plantation owner in the American South who returns from Paris to find her estate and holdings have been lost.[25] Body of Evidence (1988), a CBS Movie of the Week, cast Kidder as nurse who is suspicious that her medical pathologist second husband is a serial killer. In 1994, Kidder played the bartender at the Broken Skull Tavern in Under a Killing Moon, an IBM PC adventure game. In 1994 she took time to appear in the Disney Channel movie WindRunner, with Russell Means and Jason Wiles. She made uncredited cameo appearances in Maverick (1994) and Delirious (1991). By the mid-1990s, her career began to decline, which was attributed to her widely publicized nervous breakdown in 1996.[26]

2000-2018: Independent films, television

Kidder at Toronto during the Canadian National Exhibition in 2005

In 2000, Kidder played Eileen Canboro in Apocalypse III: Tribulation, a Christian film dealing with Christian eschatology and the Rapture. Kidder stated afterwards that she did not realize until she was on the set that the movie was serious.[27] Also that year she appeared in three episodes of Peter Benchley's Amazon, playing a striking role as an insane Canadian woman bent on domination of all the local tribes. In 2001, she played the abusive mother of a serial killer in "Pique", an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In 2002, she appeared alongside Crispin Glover and Vanessa Redgrave in the film adaptation of Crime and Punishment.[citation needed]

Kidder appeared off-Broadway in The Vagina Monologues in December 2002,[28] and toured with the show for two years. After this, she appeared on Robson Arms, a Canadian sitcom set in an apartment block in Vancouver's west end. She played a quirky neighbor of the main cast members. She also had a cameo in Rich Hall's Election Special on BBC Four. In 2006, Kidder played Jenny Schecter's mother Sandy Ziskin on The L Word; her character was a repressed Jewish woman coming to terms with her daughter's sexuality.[16] In 2007, Kidder began appearing on the television series Brothers and Sisters, playing Emily Craft. In 2004, Kidder briefly returned to the Superman franchise in two episodes of the television series Smallville, as Bridgette Crosby, an emissary of Dr. Swann (played by her Superman co-star, Christopher Reeve).[citation needed]

She portrayed an embattled guidance counselor in the 2008 gay-themed mystery film On the Other Hand, Death, as well as a supporting role as Laurie Strode's therapist, in Rob Zombie's Halloween II (2009). In an interview with the LGBT publication The Advocate, Kidder discussed her later career choices:

I'm not choosy at all! I'll do practically anything. I'm the biggest whore on the block. I live in a little town in Montana, and you have to drag me out of here to get to L.A., so I'm not readily available. But unless it's something sexist or cruel, I just love to work. I've done all sorts of things, but you just haven't seen them because they're often very bad and shown at 4 in the morning.[29]
Kidder in June 2013

In 2015 Kidder won an Emmy award for Outstanding Performer in Children's Programming for her performance in R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour.[30]

Personal life

Kidder dated former Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau, directors Brian De Palma and Steven Spielberg, writer/director Tom Mankiewicz, and actor/comedian Richard Pryor.[31] She was married and divorced three times. Kidder's first husband was American novelist Thomas McGuane, with whom she had her only child, daughter Maggie McGuane (born 1976). She was married to actor John Heard in 1979 for only six days, and was married to French film director Philippe de Broca from 1983 to 1984.[32]

After her divorce from De Broca, she said that she preferred the companionship of her dogs. Kidder had two grandchildren from her daughter Maggie's marriage to novelist Walter Kirn.[33]

She maintained a close friendship with her Superman co-star Christopher Reeve, which lasted from 1978 until his death in 2004. "When you're strapped to someone hanging from the ceiling for months and months, you get pretty darned close," Kidder told CBS. "He was such a huge part of my life... He was complicated, very smart, really smart, and he knew he'd done something meaningful. He was very aware of that and very happy with that role."[34] Kidder stated in an interview with TV Guide that she was an atheist.[35]

Health issues

In December 1990, Kidder was seriously injured in a car accident which left her partially paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. She was unable to work for two years, causing her financial difficulties. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which was the cause of a widely publicized manic episode that she experienced in April 1996. At the time, Kidder had been working on an autobiography when her laptop computer became infected with a virus, which caused it to crash and her to lose three years' worth of drafts.[26] Kidder flew to Los Angeles to have the computer examined by a data retrieval company, who ultimately were unable to retrieve the files.[26] She entered a manic state and disappeared for four days. She was found in a backyard by a homeowner and was taken by the Los Angeles Police Department to Olive View Medical Center in a distressed state, the caps on her teeth having been knocked out during a rape attempt.[26] She was later placed in psychiatric care.[26] In 2007, Kidder said that she had not had a manic episode in 11 years, and credited her well-being to orthomolecular medicine.[36]

Political activism

Kidder was a longtime supporter of Democratic and liberal causes throughout her career.[37] She credited her interest in politics to conversations her parents would have over the dinner table during her childhood; her mother was Canadian with socialist leanings, while her father was originally from the United States, and was a conservative Republican.[38]

She actively supported Jesse Jackson's bid for the Democratic nomination in the 1984 U.S. presidential election. In the early 1990s, during the first Gulf War, Kidder was branded a "Baghdad Betty" and subjected to abuse for her remarks questioning the war.[39] In a piece called "Confessions of 'Baghdad Betty,'" styled as a letter to her mother and printed in The Nation, Kidder responded by explaining and defending her statements.[40]

As of November 2009, Kidder was the Montana State Coordinator for Progressive Democrats of America. The organization's website carried her article "Ax Max", in which she criticized Max Baucus, Montana's Democratic senator.[41] On August 23, 2011, Kidder, Tantoo Cardinal, and dozens of others were arrested while protesting in Washington D.C. against the proposed extension of the Keystone Pipeline.[42] In 2012, she appeared in a video for Stop the Frack Attack, an environmental organization working toward regulating fracking practices.[43] When discussing sustainable energy, Kidder said: "The first thing people have to start facing, contrary to the advertising fed to us by oil and gas companies, is that environmentalism and economic stability go hand-in-hand on any long term basis."[38]

On August 22, 2015, Kidder was named the host of a dinner event by the Yellowstone County Democrats in Billings, Montana called "Billings for Bernie" in support of Bernie Sanders' presidential primary bid.[44][45]

She contributed articles to CounterPunch, a left-wing magazine, beginning in 2009.[46] In an article expressing her reaction to the 2016 Democratic National Convention, she wrote, "I am not an American tonight... I reject the words I voiced at my citizenship ceremony."[47]

In addition to her campaigning in the United States, Kidder expressed support for liberal causes in Canada. In 2011, she supported her brother, John Kidder, in British Columbia, who was running to be a member of Canada's Parliament for the Liberal Party:

I'm here not only because John is a dream candidate but because I'm living in the end game in the United States and it's not funny. Canada is starting the same sort of right-wing, corporate ownership of government, corporate tradeoffs with government, smear campaigns, 'let's lower the corporate tax rate without mentioning it's going to up the private tax rates.' It's happening in Canada. God forbid if anyone should bring up privatizing health care.[48]


Kidder became a United States citizen on August 17, 2005, in Butte, Montana and lived in Livingston.[6][49] She said that she decided to become an American citizen to participate in the voting process, to continue her protests against U.S. intervention in Iraq, and to be free of worries about being deported.[50]


Kidder died on May 13, 2018, at her house in Livingston, Montana, at the age of 69.[51] She was found unresponsive by a friend.[52] The cause of death was initially not released; her agent stated that "she passed away peacefully in her sleep",[53] while, in the days following her death, her friend Jeffrey St. Clair wrote: "I’ve been struggling all week with the image of Margie lying helplessly on the floor of her house."[54] On August 8, 2018, it was reported that Kidder's death had been ruled a suicide by overdose.[55][56] The Park County, Montana, coroner said her death was "a result of a self-inflicted drug and alcohol overdose".[55]

Kidder's friends have related that she had suffered from poor health in recent years, particularly following her lengthy stay at the Standing Rock protest camp in 2016, often enduring frigid temperatures.[57] DC Comics stated on their Twitter feed "Thank you for being the Lois Lane so many of us grew up with. RIP, Margot Kidder".[58][59]



Year Title Role Notes
1968 The Best Damn Fiddler from Calabogie to Kaladar[60] Rosie Prometer
1969 Gaily, Gaily[61] Adeline Alternate title: Chicago, Chicago
1970 Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx[61] Zazel
1973 Sisters[61] Danielle Breton / Dominique Blanchion Alternate title: Blood Sisters
1974 A Quiet Day in Belfast[61] Brigit Slattery / Thelma Slattery Canadian Film Award for Best Actress
1974 The Gravy Train[61] Margue Alternate title: The Dion Brothers
1974 Black Christmas[61] Barbara 'Barb' Coard Canadian Film Award for Best Actress
1975 The Great Waldo Pepper[61] Maude
1975 The Reincarnation of Peter Proud[61] Marcia Curtis
1975 92 in the Shade[61] Miranda
1978 Shoot the Sun Down[62] The Woman from England
1978 Superman[61] Lois Lane Saturn Award for Best Actress
1979 The Amityville Horror[61] Kathy Lutz Nominated - Saturn Award for Best Actress
1979 Mr. Mike's Mondo Video[61] Herself
1980 Willie & Phil[61] Jeannette Sutherland
1980 Superman II[61] Lois Lane Nominated - Saturn Award for Best Actress
1981 Heartaches[61] Rita Harris Genie Award for Best Actress
1982 Some Kind of Hero[61] Toni Donovan
1982 Miss Right[61] Juliette
1983 Trenchcoat[61] Mickey Raymond
1983 Superman III[61] Lois Lane
1985 Little Treasure[61] Margo
1986 GoBots: Battle of the Rock Lords[61] Solitaire Voice
1986 Keeping Track[61] Mickey Tremaine
1987 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace[61] Lois Lane
1989 Mob Story[61] Dolores
1990 White Room[61] Madelaine X
1991 Delirious Woman in Washroom Uncredited
1992 Aaron Sent Me Kaitlynn Prescott
1993 La Florida Vivy Lamori
1994 Maverick Margret Mary Uncredited
1994 WindRunner[61] Sally 'Mom' Cima
1994 The Pornographer[61] Irene
1994 Beanstalk[61] Doctor Kate 'Doc' Winston
1996 Henry & Verlin[61] Mabel
1996 Never Met Picasso[61] Genna Magnus
1997 The Planet of Junior Brown[61] Miss Peebs Alternate title: Junior's Groove
1997 Shadow Zone: My Teacher Ate My Homework[61] Sol
1997 Silent Cradle[61] Cindy Wilson
1999 The Hi-Line[61] Laura Johnson
1999 The Clown at Midnight[61] Ellen Gibby
1999 The Annihilation of Fish[61] Mrs. Muldroone
1999 Nightmare Man Lillian Hannibal
2000 Tribulation[61] Eileen Canboro Alternate title: Apocalypse III: Tribulation
2002 Angel Blade Frida
2002 Crime and Punishment Katerina Marmelodov
2004 Chicks with Sticks Edith Taymore
2004 Death 4 Told Madam Badeau Scream Awards for Best Actress, (segment "The Psychic")
2006 Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut Lois Lane Re-edited director's cut of Superman II (1980)
2008 Universal Signs Rose Callahan
2008 Love at First Kill Beth
2008 On the Other Hand, Death[61] Dorothy
2008 A Single Woman Storyteller
2009 Something Evil Comes Claudia Brecher
2009 Halloween II[61] Barbara Collier
2011 Redemption: For Robbing the Dead[61] Marlys Baptiste
2011 Three of a Kind Claire
2012 HENRi Dr. Calvin Short film
2013 Matt's Chance Mother Mable
2013 Real Gangsters Stella Kelly
2014 The Dependables Jean Dempsey Alternate title: Pride of Lions
2014 The Big Fat Stone Madge
2015 No Deposit Margie Ryan
2016 The Red Maple Leaf Amanda Walker
2017 The Neighborhood Maggie


Year Title Role Notes
1969 Wojeck 1 episode
1969 Adventures in Rainbow Country Dr. Janet Rhodes / Sportscar Driver 2 episodes
1969 McQueen Jenny 3 episodes
1969 Corwin Denny Episodes "Does Anybody Here Know Denny?, Pts. 1 & 2"
1970 The Mod Squad Claire Allen 1 episode
1971 Suddenly Single Jackie Television film
1971-1972 Nichols[63] Ruth 5 episodes
1972 The Bounty Man Mae Television film
1972 Banacek[63] Linda Carsini 1 episode
1972 Harry O[63] Helen 1 episode
1973 Barnaby Jones Lori Wright 1 episode
1974 The Suicide Club Television film
1974 Honky Tonk Lucy Cotton Television film
1975 Baretta Terry Lake 1 episode
1975 Wide World Mystery Gerry 1 episode
1976 Switch Andrea Morris 1 episode
1979 Saturday Night Live Herself (guest host) 1 episode: "Margot Kidder/The Chieftains"
1982 Bus Stop Cherie Television film
1983 Pygmalion Eliza Doolittle Television film
1984 Louisiana Virginia Tregan Television film
1984 The Glitter Dome Willie Television film
1985 The Hitchhiker Jane Reynolds 1 episode
1985 Picking Up the Pieces Lynette Harding Television film
1986 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Narrator (one year series)
1986 Vanishing Act Chris Kenyon Television film
1987 Shell Game[63] Dinah / Jennie Jerome 5 episodes
1987 Tales from the Crypt Cynthia 1 episode
1988 Body of Evidence Carol Dwyer Television film
1992 To Catch a Killer Rachel Grayson Television film
1992-1993 Street Legal Charlotte Percy 2 episodes
1993 Murder, She Wrote[63] Dr. Ellen Holden 1 episode
1993-1995 Captain Planet and the Planeteers Gaia (voice) 5 episodes
1994 One Woman's Courage Stella Jenson Television film
1995 Burke's Law Joy Adams 1 episode
1995 Bloodknot[63] Evelyn Television film
1996-1997 Boston Common[63] Cookie de Varen 5 episodes
1996 Phantom 2040[63] Rebecca Madison 1 episode
1997 The Hunger[63] Mrs. Sloan 1 episode
1997 Aaahh!!! Real Monsters Mistress Helga (voice) 2 episodes
1997 The Teddy Bears' Scare Mrs. Jones (voice) Television film
1998 Touched by an Angel[63] Rita 1 episode
1999 La Femme Nikita Roberta Wirth 1 episode; Nominated - OFTA Television Award for Best Guest Actress in a Cable Series[64]
2000 Amazon Morag 3 episodes
2000 Someone Is Watching Sally Beckert Television film
2000 The Outer Limits Serena 1 episode - Revival
2001 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit[63] Grace Mayberry 1 episode
2001 Mentors Queen Elizabeth I 1 episode
2001 Earth: Final Conflict[63] Dr. Josephine Mataros 1 episode
2004 Smallville[63] Bridgette Crosby 2 episodes
2004 I'll Be Seeing You Frances Grolier Television film
2005 Robson Arms[63] Elaine Wainwright 1 season
2005 The Last Sign Endora 2 episodes
2006 The L Word[63] Sandy Ziskin 1 episode
2007 Brothers & Sisters[63] Emily Craft 2 episodes
2014 R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour Mrs. Worthington 1 episode; Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in Children's Programming[65]

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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