Monday, May 14, 2018

Godspeed Margot Kidder

For a generation of Superman fans, Margot Kidder was Lois Lane. She played the role in four movies opposite Christopher Reeve, for many the definitive Superman. And while that may be the role for which she is forever best known, over the years she played many remarkable roles. She was Quackser Fortune's love interest in Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx (1970).  She played conjoined twins in Brian De Palma's cult classic Sisters (1973). She was the prostitute Margue in Terrence Malick's The Gravy Train (1974). Over the years Miss Kidder played a number of roles. She was arguably one of the great character actresses of our time.

Sadly, Margot Kidder died yesterday, May 13 2018, at the age of 69. No cause has yet been released.

Margot Kidder was born Margaret Ruth Kidder in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories on October 17 1948. Her father was an explosives expert whose job required the family to move often. Miss Kidder attended the boarding school Havergal College in Toronto. She later attended the the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

She made her television debut in an episode of Wojeck in 1968. She made her film debut in the short "The Best Damn Fiddler from Calabogie to Kaladar" in 1969. Her first feature film was Gaily, Gaily (1969). She appeared in Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx the following year. She guest starred on the TV shows Festival, Corwin, The Mod Squad, and Adventures in Rainbow County. She had a recurring role on the Canadian TV series McQueen.

The Seventies would be a very busy time for Margot Kidder. She had a regular role on the short lived TV show Nichols. In addition to Sisters, Superman (1978), and Superman II (1980), she appeared in the films A Quiet Day in Belfast (1974), The Gravy Train, Black Christmas (1974), The Great Waldo Pepper (1975), The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975), 92 in the Shade (1972), Shoot the Sun Down (1978), The Amityville Horror (1979), and Willie & Phil (1980).  She guest starred on the TV shows The Manipulators, Banacek, The Wide World of Mystery, Harry O, Barnaby Jones, Baretta, and Switch.

In the Eighties Miss Kidder appeared in the films Some Kind of Hero (1982), Miss Right (1982), Trenchcoat (1983), Superman III (1983), Little Treasure (1985), Keeping Track (1986), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), Mob Story (1989), and White Room (1990).  On television she had a regular role on the short lived show Shell Game. She appeared in several TV movies, including Bus Stop, Pygmalion, The Glitter Dome, and Body of Evidence. She guest starred on the show The Hitchhiker.

In the Nineties Miss Kidder was a regular voice on the animated TV shows Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Phantom 2040. She had a regular role on the show Boston Common. She guest starred on such TV shows as Tales from the Crypt; Street Legal; Murder, She Wrote; The Adventures of the Black Stallion; Burke's Law; The Hunger; La Femme Nikita; Made in Canada; and The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne. She appeared in the films Aaron Sent Me (1992), La Florida (1993), Maverick (1994), Windrunner (1994),  The Pornographer (1994), Beanstalk (1994), Henry & Verlin (1996), The Planet of Junior Brown (1997), Shadow Zone: My Teacher Ate My Homework (1997), Silent Cradle (1997), The Hi-Line (1999), The Clown at Midnight (1999), The Annihilation of Fish (1999), Nightmare Man (1999), and Tribulation (2000).

In the Naughts Margot Kidder appeared on such TV shows as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Earth: Final Conflict, Smallville, Robson Arms, The L Word, and Brothers & Sisters. She appeared in such films as Crime and Punishment (2002), The Last Sign (2005), The Box Collector (2008), A Single Woman (2008), Universal Signs (2008), and Halloween II (2009).

In the Teens Miss Kidder guest starred on the TV show R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour, for which she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in a Children's or Pre-School Children's Series. She appeared in such films as Servitude (2011), 3 Of a Kind (2012), Real Gangsters (2013), Pride of Lions (2014), The Red Maple Leaf (2016), and The Neighbourhood (2017).

Margot Kidder was not necessarily my favourite Lois Lane (that would be Noel Neill), but I have to say that she was incredible in the role. Her Lois was feisty, tough, quick witted, and intelligent, but at the same time kind hearted and caring. Of the actresses who played Lois, it was Miss Kidder who really brought home the point that Lois actually does care for Clark Kent. Of course, as identified as Miss Kidder was with the role of Lois Lane, she played many other remarkable roles in her career beyond those I mentioned above. While the movie Black Christmas is of debatable quality, Margot Kidder delivered a great performance as sorority sister Barb. She also gave a remarkable performance as the free-spirited Rita in Heartaches. She was delightful as Ruth, the love interest of the protagonist of the title the short-lived show Nichols Margot Kidder consistently gave good performances throughout her career, whether she was in a major motion picture, a B-movie, an independent film, or an episode of a TV show. She was an enormously talented actress with a good deal of versatility.

1 comment:

Gary R. Peterson said...

A nice tribute, Terence. Sad to think both she and Christopher are gone. I watched NICHOLS awhile back and that has become my definitive Margot Kidder role. She was very good, even if the series wasn't. Truth be told, I didn't like her as Lois Lane (Noel Neill is my favorite, too).

One missing credit from your comprehensive list was her guest hosting SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE in 1979, the episode with the superhero party sketch (John Belushi as the Hulk, Dan Aykroyd as the Flash, and Garrett Morris as the Ant Man, the super-hero with the strength of a human!). Good memories of a good actress done too soon.