Very sad news today... Margot Kidder passed away Sunday at the age of 69. No cause of death has been reported at this time. Kidder was dating Brian De Palma when she starred with her good friend Jennifer Salt in De Palma's Sisters, released in 1973. De Palma had given them each a copy of the screenplay for Christmas. Kidder and Salt were sharing a Nicholas Canyon beach house together in Malibu in the early 1970s, where they held parties and met De Palma, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, John Milius, Paul Schrader, and many many more.
In 1974, Kidder was part of the inaugural class of AFI's Directing Workshop for Women, along with Ellen Burstyn, Lee Grant, and Maya Angelou, among others. Kidder, of course, is most famous for her role as Lois Lane in Richard Donner's 1978 box office smash Superman (and its sequel, Superman II, which was finished by director Richard Lester after Donner was fired). Other notable films include Bob Clark's Black Christmas (1974), George Roy Hill's The Great Waldo Pepper (with co-star Robert Redford, 1975), J. Lee Thompson's The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975), and The Amityville Horror (1979).
Margaret Ruth Kidder was born on Oct. 17, 1948, in Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Her mother, Margaret, was a teacher, and her father, Kendall, was an explosives expert whose job entailed taking the family to whatever remote place ore had been discovered.
“I read books,” she told The Montana Standard in 2016, “and hung out with friends in the woods or at the hockey rink. We’d get Montreal on the shortwave radio once a week. That was about it for entertainment.”
Eventually her parents sent her to boarding school in Toronto, where she started acting in school plays. She later attended the University of British Columbia.
In the late 1960s she landed her first TV roles, in Canadian series like “Wojeck,” “McQueen” and “Corwin.” Her first film was the Norman Jewison comedy “Gaily, Gaily” in 1969.
Among her films in 1975 was “92 in the Shade,” written and directed by the novelist Thomas McGuane, whom she married in 1976; they divorced the next year. Her marriages to the actor John Heard in 1979 and the director Philippe de Broca in 1983 also ended in divorce.
From NPR's Bill Chappell today:
Margaret Ruth Kidder was born in Canada and honed her acting skills on TV shows such as McQueen, Nichols, Banacek and Mod Squad before becoming a movie star.
After landing a lead role in Brian de Palma's Sisters in 1972, Kidder's film career took off. It hit the stratosphere six years later, when she appeared as Lois Lane in the launching of the Superman film franchise. She went on to appear in three sequels over the next nine years.
Famous for her smoky voice and for portraying smart, indomitable characters, Kidder also struggled with addiction and bipolar disorder for much of her life. She suffered from a famous breakdown in 1996, when she disappeared for several days. When police found her in Glendale, Calif., she was hiding in the bushes behind a house.
After Kidder recovered from that incident, she became an advocate for mental health awareness.
"I'm not saying it's all over," Kidder told People magazine after her life derailed in 1996. "I'm saying this is the pattern of my life. In three years I might be having another wig-out. I have no idea. I just have to accept the fact that this is me, or I ain't gonna make it."
Kidder went to take dozens of other acting jobs, from recurring roles on TV's Boston Common in 1997 to 2009's Halloween II.
For decades, Kidder had lived in a log cabin near Livingston. In addition to promoting mental health issues, she spoke publicly as an anti-war and environmental activist.