Margot Kidder seemed like a fun person to interview, the kind of celebrity who doesn’t shy away from telling you what’s on her mind. We see a little bit of that in the quick chat above, an interview in Perth from 2013. If you want more of that, you should read the excellent interview she did for The A.V. Club in 2009, where she’s being very honest about what worked and what didn’t in her career. Kidder died two days ago at the age of 69.
Born in the Northwestern Territories in Canada, Kidder started out mostly in Canadian TV series in the 1960s, before moving to Los Angeles. In the early 1970s, she appeared in Brian De Palma’s Sisters and the slasher movie Black Christmas. She started winning Canadian acting awards and landed a role in a Robert Redford movie, The Great Waldo Pepper (1975). And then came Superman (1978).
After having had a child, Kidder had taken a break from acting, but her comeback in the shape of Lois Lane made her instantly recognizable all over the world. She came back to the part in the three sequels, but was always more or less unhappy about the final results, especially compared to how good the first movie turned out. The clip above is that enchanting flying sequence from Superman.
Another one of her most famous movies, The Amityville Horror (1979), was in her mind largely ridiculous. But she had bills to pay and wasn’t a snob when it came to work.
The 1980s started out fairly well for Kidder; especially one movie, Heartaches, impressed critics. She kept working in movies, on TV and on stage throughout the decade, but her career was nevertheless in decline – and so was her mental health. Kidder had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had a severe episode in 1996 when she became manic and disappeared for days. She was eventually found in a backyard and received psychiatric care. She recovered and returned to work.
Kidder had a political interest, working on liberal causes and helping the Democratic Party, fighting for Bernie Sanders in 2016. She also definitely had interesting boyfriends in the past, dating men like De Palma, Steven Spielberg, Richard Pryor and Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
Margot Kidder was remembered on Twitter by Mark Hamill…
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) May 14, 2018
… and David Axelrod, former senior advisor to President Obama, who brought up the actress’ candor:
Margot Kidder should be remembered as much for courageously, candidly discussing her battles with mental illness as for any screen role.
There are no Supermen— or women. It is not a character deficiency to acknowledge such struggles and get the help and treatment you need!
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) May 14, 2018