Margot Kidder, the actress best known for her role as Lois Lane opposite Christopher Reeve in the Superman films produced in the 1970s and ‘80s, has died. Kidder died at home in Montana yesterday of unknown causes, according to TMZ, which broke the news. She was 69.
Born in the tiny capital city of Yellowknife in Canada’s wild Northwest Territories on October 17, 1948, Kidder began her career in the late ‘60s with guest-starring roles on popular TV series like McQueen and The Mod Squad. A minor role in Norman Jewison’s Gaily, Gaily (1969) and a starring role opposite Gene Wilder in Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx (1970) brought Kidder to the attention of movie producers, and she became a hot commodity throughout the early and mid-’70s, appearing in a number of films including Brian De Palma’s Sisters (1972) and the landmark proto-slasher Black Christmas (1974).
Kidder became a household name when she was cast as tenacious girl reporter Lois Lane in Richard Donner’s big-budget big-screen version of Superman in 1978. She followed that up with her role as newlywed Kathy Lutz in another horror hit, the original 1979 version of The Amityville Horror, and reprised her role as Lois Lane in Superman II (1980), Superman III (1983), and Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987), with many roles in between. (Twelve years after starring opposite Wilder in Quacker Fortune, she co-starred with his comedic partner Richard Pryor in the Vietnam vet dramedy Some Kind Of Hero in 1982.)
Kidder kept working consistently through the late’80s and early ‘90s, when she began to take on voiceover work like that of Earth goddess Gaia on the popular animated series Captain Planet And The Planeteers (1993-1996). In 1996, Kidder’s lifelong struggle with bipolar disorder came to a head when she disappeared for four days in Los Angeles and was discovered by police hiding out in a stranger’s backyard “in obvious mental distress.” Her manic episode made international headlines, and after a brief hospitalization, Kidder began to advocate for mental health issues, and would continue to do so for the rest of her life.
After her breakdown, Kidder began to slow down, but not stop, her acting career, taking small roles in films and on TV. She appeared in The Vagina Monologues on Broadway in the early 2000s, and won a Daytime Emmy for her role on the children’s series R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour in 2015. She became a U.S. citizen in 2005 and moved to Livingston, Montana, when she lived until her death. She is survived by her daughter, Maggie McGuane.