NBC has confirmed the star of the big screen Margot Kidder, Superman’s love, passed away on Sunday at her home in Livingston, Montana. She was 69. Despite her rise to fame, Kidder suffered from mental illness that left her homeless. Her cause of death is unknown.
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. Kidder also spent time growing up in Labrador City, Newfoundland, and Labrador. Her mother was from British Columbia, Canada, and her father was from New Mexico, United States. She was of Welsh and English descent. Kidder was born in Yellowknife because of her father’s job, which required the family to live in remote locations. Her father was the manager of the Yellowknife Telephone Company from 1948 to 1951. 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 [have done] okay.”
Kidder attended multiple schools in her youth and graduated from Havergal College, a boarding school in Toronto, in 1966. She had a sister, Annie, and three brothers, John, Michael, and Peter. Kidder’s niece Janet Kidder is also an actress.
Margot Kidder began her acting career in the 1960s and rose to fame by playing Lois Lane, starring alongside Christopher Reeve in 1978’s Superman. The comic book movie was the most expensive project to be released at that point, costing $55 million and it was a huge critical and financial success. She also starred in the three sequels that followed. She also starred as Kathy Lutz in The Amityville Horror (1979) and appeared in movies such as Black Christmas (1974) and Heartaches (1981). Kidder acted as producer and starred as Eliza Doolittle in a 1983 adaptation of Pygmalion with Peter O’Toole for Showtime.
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.”
Kidder was in a car crash in December 1990, after which she was unable to work for two years, causing her financial problems.
Kidder 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 was infected with a virus, which caused it to crash and her to lose three years’ worth of drafts. Kidder flew to Los Angeles to have the computer examined by a data retrieval company, who ultimately was unable to retrieve the files. Kidder then 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. She was later placed in psychiatric care. In 2007, Kidder said that she had not had a manic episode in 11 years, and credited her well-being to orthomolecular medicine.
Kidder told PEOPLE five months later that the root of most of her problems — which included “mood swings that could knock over a building” — was manic depression. She was first diagnosed with the condition by an L.A. psychiatrist eight years prior, but she refused to take the recommended prescription of lithium, the recommended treatment.
“It’s very hard to convince a manic person that there is anything wrong with them,” said Kidder, who was working on a memoir at the time. “You have no desire to sleep. You are full of ideas.”
She is survived by her daughter, Maggie McGuane.
Mark Hamill stated on his Twitter feed “On-screen she [Kidder] was magic. Off-screen she was one of the kindest, sweetest, most caring women I’ve ever known. Your legacy will live on forever”.
Photo courtesy of Bing.com
Ref. MSN/entertainment, NBC, People.com, Wikipedia, CBS News