Margot Kidder

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Margot Kidder
Margot Kidder 1970 publicity photo.jpg
Kidder in 1970
Born
Margaret Ruth Kidder

(1948-10-17)October 17, 1948
DiedMay 13, 2018(2018-05-13) (aged 69)
Cause of death Suicide by drug and alcohol poisoning
Nationality
  • Canadian
  • American
Education Havergal College
Occupation
  • Actress
  • activist
Years active1965–2017
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s)
Children1

Margaret Ruth Kidder (October 17, 1948 – May 13, 2018), professionally known as Margot Kidder, was a Canadian-American actress, director, and activist whose career spanned over five decades. Her accolades include three Canadian Screen Awards and one Daytime Emmy Award. Though she appeared in an array of films and television, Kidder is most widely known for her performance as Lois Lane in the Superman film series, appearing in the first four films.

Activism efforts to promote, impede, or direct social, political, religious, economic, or environmental change, or stasis

Activism consists of efforts to promote, impede, direct, or intervene in social, political, economic, or environmental reform with the desire to make changes in society. Forms of activism range from mandate building in the community, petitioning elected officials, running or contributing to a political campaign, preferential patronage of businesses, and demonstrative forms of activism like rallies, street marches, strikes, sit-ins, or hunger strikes.

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television presents an annual award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role to the best performance by a lead actress in a Canadian film. The award was first presented in 1968 by the Canadian Film Awards, and was presented annually until 1978 with the exception of 1969, when no eligible feature films were submitted for award consideration, and 1974 due to the cancellation of the awards that year.

The Daytime Emmy Award is an American accolade bestowed by the New York–based National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in recognition of excellence in American daytime television programming. Ceremonies generally are held in May or June.

Contents

Born in Yellowknife to a Canadian mother and an American father, Kidder was raised in the Northwest Territories as well as several other Canadian provinces. She began her acting career in the 1960s appearing in low-budget Canadian films and television series, before landing a lead role in Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx (1970). She then played twins in Brian De Palma's cult thriller Sisters (1973), a sorority student in the slasher film Black Christmas (1974) and the titular character's girlfriend in the drama The Great Waldo Pepper (1975), opposite Robert Redford. In 1977, she was cast as Lois Lane in Richard Donner's Superman (1978), a role which established her as a mainstream actress. Her performance as Kathy Lutz in the blockbuster horror film The Amityville Horror (1979) gained her further mainstream exposure, after which she went on to reprise her role as Lois Lane in Superman II , III , and IV (1980–1987).

Yellowknife Territorial capital city in Northwest Territories, Canada

Yellowknife is the capital and only city, as well as the largest community, in the Northwest Territories, Canada. It is on the northern shore of Great Slave Lake, about 400 km (250 mi) south of the Arctic Circle, on the west side of Yellowknife Bay near the outlet of the Yellowknife River. Yellowknife and its surrounding water bodies were named after a local Dene tribe once known as the 'Copper Indians' or 'Yellowknife Indians', referred to locally as the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, who traded tools made from copper deposits near the Arctic Coast. Its population, which is ethnically mixed, was 19,569 in 2016. Of the eleven official languages of the Northwest Territories, five are spoken in significant numbers in Yellowknife: Dene Suline, Dogrib, South and North Slavey, English, and French. In the Dogrib language, the city is known as Sǫ̀mbak'è.

Northwest Territories Territory of Canada

The Northwest Territories is a federal territory of Canada. At a land area of approximately 1,144,000 km2 (442,000 sq mi) and a 2016 census population of 41,786, it is the second-largest and the most populous of the three territories in Northern Canada. Its estimated population as of 2018 is 44,445. Yellowknife became the territorial capital in 1967, following recommendations by the Carrothers Commission.

<i>Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx</i> 1970 Irish-American comedy film directed by Waris Hussein

Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx is a 1970 Irish-American comedy film directed by Waris Hussein and written by Gabriel Walsh. It stars Gene Wilder as the titular Quackser Fortune, a poor Irish manure collector who falls in love with an American exchange student after she almost runs him over.

The 1990s were marked by significant health problems for Kidder: In 1990, she sustained serious injuries in a car accident that left her temporarily paralyzed, and she later had a highly publicized manic episode and nervous breakdown in 1996 stemming from bipolar disorder. By the 2000s, she maintained steady work in independent films and television, with guest-starring roles on Smallville , Brothers & Sisters and The L Word , and appeared in a 2002 Off-Broadway production of The Vagina Monologues . In 2015, she won a Daytime Emmy Award for her performance on the children's television series R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour .

Mania, also known as manic syndrome, is a state of abnormally elevated arousal, affect, and energy level, or "a state of heightened overall activation with enhanced affective expression together with lability of affect." Although mania is often conceived as a "mirror image" to depression, the heightened mood can be either euphoric or irritable; indeed, as the mania intensifies, irritability can be more pronounced and result in violence, or anxiety.

Bipolar disorder mental disorder that causes periods of depression and periods of abnormally elevated mood

Bipolar disorder, previously known as manic depression, is a mental disorder that causes periods of depression and periods of abnormally elevated mood. The elevated mood is significant and is known as mania or hypomania, depending on its severity, or whether symptoms of psychosis are present. During mania, an individual behaves or feels abnormally energetic, happy, or irritable. Individuals often make poorly thought out decisions with little regard to the consequences. The need for sleep is usually reduced during manic phases. During periods of depression, there may be crying, a negative outlook on life, and poor eye contact with others. The risk of suicide among those with the illness is high at greater than 6 percent over 20 years, while self-harm occurs in 30–40 percent. Other mental health issues such as anxiety disorders and substance use disorder are commonly associated with bipolar disorder.

Smallville is an American television series developed by writer-producers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, based on the DC Comics character Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The series, initially broadcast by The WB, premiered on October 16, 2001. After Smallville's fifth season, The WB and UPN merged to form The CW, the series' later United States broadcaster. Smallville, which ended its tenth and final season on May 13, 2011, follows Clark Kent in the fictional town of Smallville, Kansas, before he becomes known as Superman. The first four seasons focus on Clark and his friends in high school. After season five Smallville ventures into adult settings, eventually focusing on his career at the Daily Planet and introducing other DC comic-book superheroes and villains.

In 2005, Kidder became a naturalized U.S. citizen. She was an outspoken political, environmental and anti-war activist, [1] and continued to participate in political and activist causes through the end of her life. Kidder died on May 13, 2018 at her home in Livingston, Montana, aged 69, in what was later ruled a suicide by alcohol and drug overdose.

Anti-war movement

An anti-war movement is a social movement, usually in opposition to a particular nation's decision to start or carry on an armed conflict, unconditional of a maybe-existing just cause. The term anti-war can also refer to pacifism, which is the opposition to all use of military force during conflicts, or to anti-war books, paintings, and other works of art. Many activists distinguish between anti-war movements and peace movements. Anti-war activists work through protest and other grassroots means to attempt to pressure a government to put an end to a particular war or conflict.

Livingston, Montana City in Montana, United States

Livingston is the county seat of Park County, Montana, United States. It is located in southwestern Montana, on the Yellowstone River, north of Yellowstone National Park. The population of Livingston was 7,044 according to the 2010 census.

Suicide intentional act of causing ones own death

Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Mental disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, and substance abuse—including alcoholism and the use of benzodiazepines—are risk factors. Some suicides are impulsive acts due to stress, such as from financial difficulties, troubles with relationships, or bullying. Those who have previously attempted suicide are at a higher risk for future attempts. Effective suicide prevention efforts include limiting access to methods of suicide—such as firearms, drugs, and poisons; treating mental disorders and substance misuse; proper media reporting of suicide; and improving economic conditions. Even though crisis hotlines are common, there is little evidence for their effectiveness.

Early life

Margaret Ruth Kidder, one of five children, was born on October 17, 1948, in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, the daughter of Jocelyn Mary "Jill" (née Wilson), a history teacher, and Kendall Kidder, an explosives expert and engineer. [2] [3] [4] Kidder was born in Yellowknife because of her father's employment, which required the family to live in remote locations. [5] Her father subsequently served as the manager of the Yellowknife Telephone Company from 19481951. Her mother was Canadian, from British Columbia, while her father was an American originally from New Mexico. [6] She was of Welsh and English descent. [7] She had one sister, Annie, [lower-alpha 1] who is a Canadian actress and executive director of the People for Education charity, and three brothers: John, Michael and Peter. Two of her siblings married notable Canadian personalities: Annie to actor Eric Peterson and John to politician Elizabeth May. [8] Kidder's niece Janet Kidder is also an actress. [9]

British Columbia Province of Canada

British Columbia is the westernmost province of Canada, located between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains. With an estimated population of 5.016 million as of 2018, it is Canada's third-most populous province.

Americans Citizens, or natives, of the United States of America

Americans are nationals and citizens of the United States of America. Although nationals and citizens make up the majority of Americans, some dual citizens, expatriates, and permanent residents may also claim American nationality. The United States is home to people of many different ethnic origins. As a result, American culture and law does not equate nationality with race or ethnicity, but with citizenship and permanent allegiance.

New Mexico State of the United States of America

New Mexico is a state in the Southwestern region of the United States of America; its capital and cultural center is Santa Fe, which was founded in 1610 as capital of Nuevo México, while its largest city is Albuquerque with its accompanying metropolitan area. It is one of the Mountain States and shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and Arizona; its other neighboring states are Oklahoma to the northeast, Texas to the east-southeast, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua to the south and Sonora to the southwest. With a population around two million, New Mexico is the 36th state by population. With a total area of 121,592 sq mi (314,920 km2), it is the fifth-largest and sixth-least densely populated of the 50 states. Due to their geographic locations, northern and eastern New Mexico exhibit a colder, alpine climate, while western and southern New Mexico exhibit a warmer, arid climate.

Recalling her childhood in northern Canada, Kidder said: "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." [10] In addition to Yellowknife, she also spent some time growing up in Labrador City, Newfoundland and Labrador. [11] Kidder became interested in politics from a young age, which she credited to debates her parents would have over the dinner table during her childhood; her mother was Canadian with socialist leanings, while her father was originally from the United States, and was a conservative Republican. [12]

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

<i>Bye Bye Birdie</i> musical

Bye Bye Birdie is a stage musical with a book by Michael Stewart, lyrics by Lee Adams and music by Charles Strouse.

Labrador City Town in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Labrador City is a town in western Labrador, near the Quebec border with a population of 9,354 as of 2013. Neighbouring Labrador City is Wabush, a smaller town with a population of approximately 1,861 as of 2011. Together, the "twin towns" are known as Labrador West.

Kidder suffered with mental health issues from a young age, which stemmed from undiagnosed bipolar disorder. [13] "I knew I was different, had these mind flights that other people didn’t seem to have," she recalled. [13] At age 14, she attempted suicide by swallowing a bottle of codeine capsules after her then-boyfriend broke up with her. [13] Kidder found an outlet in acting as she felt she could "let my real self out… and no one would know it was me." [13] "Nobody ever encouraged me to be an actress," she recalled. "It was taken as a joke...  As a teenager, I envisioned myself in every book I read. I wanted to be Henry Miller and Thomas Wolfe. I wanted to eat everything on the world’s platter, but my eyes were bigger than my stomach." [14] She attended multiple schools during her youth through her family's relocations, eventually graduating from Havergal College, a boarding school in Toronto, in 1966. [15] In 1966, she found herself pregnant with her boyfriend who arranged to have an illegal abortion. The abortionist was located in a hotel room and filled Kidder’s uterus with Lysol to terminate the pregnancy. [16] After graduating from Havergal, Kidder relocated to Vancouver to attend the University of British Columbia, but dropped out after one year. [14] She returned to Toronto, where she found work as a model. [14]

Career

1968–1974: Early films and television

Kidder in Nichols with James Garner, 1971 James Garner and Margot Kidder in Nichols (1971).jpg
Kidder in Nichols with James Garner, 1971

Kidder made her film debut in a 49-minute film titled The Best Damn Fiddler from Calabogie to Kaladar (1968), a drama set in a Canadian logging community, which was produced by the Challenge for Change. [17] Kidder's 1969 appearance in the episode "Does Anybody Here Know Denny?" on the Canadian drama series Corwin earned her a Canadian Film Award for "outstanding new talent." [18]

Kidder's first major feature was the 1969 American film Gaily, Gaily , a period comedy starring Beau Bridges, in which she portrayed a prostitute. [19] She subsequently appeared in a number of TV drama series for the CBC, [19] including guest appearances on Wojeck , Adventures in Rainbow Country , and a semi-regular role as a young reporter on McQueen , and as a panelist on Mantrap which featured discussions centered on a feminist perspective. [20] During the 1971–72 season, she co-starred as barmaid Ruth in Nichols , a James Garner-led western, [21] which aired 22 episodes on NBC.

During an August 3, 1970 interview on The Dick Cavett Show , Kidder stated that she was ambivalent toward having a film career, and was considering working as a film editor in the future. [22] At this time, she had become an acquaintance of director Robert Altman, and served as an apprentice assisting him in editing Brewster McCloud (1970). [19] She susbequently appeared in "Such Dust As Dreams Are Made On", the first pilot for Harry O which aired in March 1973. She was a guest star in a 1972 episode of the George Peppard detective series Banacek . [23]

Kidder (right) with Jennifer Salt and William Finley in Sisters (1973) Jennifer Salt, William Finley, and Margot Kidder in Sisters.png
Kidder (right) with Jennifer Salt and William Finley in Sisters (1973)

After moving to Los Angeles, Kidder was cast opposite Gene Wilder in Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx (1970) as an exchange student in Ireland who becomes the love interest of a poor horse manure collector in Dublin whom she almost runs over with her car. After filming in Ireland, Kidder relocated to New York City to further study acting. [24] A year later, she returned to California, and was cast in the Brian De Palma film Sisters (1973), which gained notoriety for both director and Kidder, who as leading lady, portrayed conjoined twins, one of whom is a suspect in a brutal murder. [10] Kidder had been in a relationship with De Palma at the time, and had been roommates with co-star Jennifer Salt in Los Angeles. [25] Sisters went on to achieve critical recognition, being considered among the best American films of the decade by critic Robin Wood, [26] as well as one of the most important films in Kidder's career by film critic G. Allen Johnson. [27]

She then starred in the slasher film Black Christmas (1974), for which she won a Canadian Film Award for Best Actress [18] ; followed by a role as a prostitute in the Terrence Malick-scripted The Gravy Train (1974). [25] She received another Canadian Film Award for Best Actress for her performance in the war drama A Quiet Day in Belfast (1974). [18] [28] Also in 1974, Kidder made her directorial debut with a 50-minute short film produced for the American Film Institute, titled Again. [29] The film follows a woman who pastes photographs of her former lovers on her wall, continuously searching for "Mr. Right." [29]

1975–1979: Superman, mainstream recognition

Kidder in The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975) Margot Kidder in The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (2).jpg
Kidder in The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975)

Kidder had a central supporting role in the airplane-themed drama The Great Waldo Pepper (1975) opposite Robert Redford and Susan Sarandon, followed by a lead role in the psychological horror film The Reincarnation of Peter Proud , directed by J. Lee Thompson, in which she portrayed a woman about whom a college professor has recurring nightmares. [30] Variety praised her performance in the latter film as "outstandingly rich." [31] In the summer of 1975, Kidder was hired to direct a documentary short chronicling the making of The Missouri Breaks (1976), a Western film starring Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson. [29] "I was such a jerk," she recalled. "I mean, I thought they wanted a real documentary. So I filmed all the behind-the-scenes rows and arguments and shot footage of the vet shooting up the horses with tranquilizers so the actors would look as if they rode well. What an idiot I was. Then when they fired me, I realized what they'd wanted was a publicity film." [29]

She subsequently co-starred with Peter Fonda in 92 in the Shade (also 1975), a drama directed by novelist Thomas McGuane, based on his own book. [32] While filming, Kidder became romantically involved with McGuane, and in March 1975 relocated with him to Livingston, Montana. [14] She subsequently became pregnant, and gave birth to their only child, daughter Maggie McGuane, on October 28 of either 1975 or 1976. [lower-alpha 2] During this time, Kidder took a hiatus from acting, though she appeared in the March 9, 1975 edition of The American Sportsman , learning how to hang glide, and providing the narration, with a remote microphone recording her reactions in flight; the segment concluded with Kidder doing solos soaring amid the Wyoming Rockies. [35] She was also photographed by Douglas Kirkland for the March 1975 issue of Playboy , accompanied by an article written by Kidder herself. [36] Kidder and McGuane married in August 1976, [37] but the marriage ended in divorce on July 21, 1977. [33] [6] During the marriage, Kidder stated that her self-esteem had faltered significantly, and she found it difficult to maintain a career in film while residing in Montana. [14]

Kidder as Lois Lane in Superman (1978), widely considered her most iconic role Margot Kidder as Lois Lane.jpg
Kidder as Lois Lane in Superman (1978), widely considered her most iconic role

Eager to return to acting, Kidder read for the character of Lois Lane in the 1978 superhero film Superman: The Movie , in the spring of 1977, only one month before principal photography was scheduled to begin. [14] Kidder was subsequently flown to England for screen-tests. [25] Upon meeting with director Richard Donner, Kidder tripped while walking into the room. [39] Donner recalled: "I just fell in love with her. It was perfect, this clumsy [behavior]." [39] She was ultimately cast in the role, which would become her most iconic. [25] Filming lasted approximately eighteen months. [40] Superman was released during Christmas 1978 and was a major commercial success, grossing $300 million worldwide. [41] Kidder won a Saturn Award for best actress for her performance, [42] which was deemed "most charming" by Vincent Canby in The New York Times . [43]

After completing filming for Superman, Kidder starred as Kathy Lutz in the supernatural horror film The Amityville Horror (1979), which further cemented her status as one of Hollywood's leading ladies. The Amityville Horror was a major commercial success, grossing over $86 million in the United States, but it received mixed reviews from critics. [44] Janet Maslin of The New York Times, though giving the film a mixed review, said Kidder "stubbornly remains the bright-eyed life of the party [in the film]." [45] In retrospect, Kidder called the film "a piece of shit." [25] The same year, Kidder hosted an episode of the American sketch comedy TV show Saturday Night Live . [23] On August 25, 1979, she married actor John Heard, but the couple separated only six days into their marriage. [46] Their divorce was finalized on December 26, 1980. [6]

Kidder reprised her role as Lois Lane in Superman II (1980), though she publicly disagreed with the decision of producers Alexander Salkind and Ilya Salkind to replace Richard Donner as director. [14] [47] Superman II was also a box-office hit, grossing $108 million in the United States. [48] Through her appearances in the Superman films, Kidder maintained a close friendship with her 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." [49] Also in 1980, she appeared in Paul Mazursky's romantic comedy Willie & Phil , playing one-third of a love triangle opposite Michael Ontkean and Ray Sharkey. [50]

1981–1988: Career re-evaluation

Kidder starred in the Canadian comedic road movie Heartaches (1981), portraying a free-spirited woman who helps an acquaintance raise her child. [51] Vincent Canby of The New York Times noted: "Nothing happens in Heartaches that isn't telegraphed 15 minutes ahead of time, but Miss Kidder and Miss Potts are good fun to watch, not because they convince you of the reality of their characters but because they handle their assignments with such unbridled, comic, actressy enthusiasm." [51] She then starred opposite Richard Pryor in the comedy Some Kind of Hero (1982), about a Vietnam War veteran who attempts to re-assimilate into civilian life. [52] While filming the picture, Kidder stated she "fell in love with Pryor in two seconds flat," and the two carried on a relationship during the production. [53] Prior to this, Kidder was romantically linked to Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau in the early-1980s. [54] In 1982, she appeared in a stage performance of Bus Stop , playing Cherie opposite Tim Matheson as Bo, which was broadcast on HBO. [55]

It was reported that, as a result of Kidder's previous objection to Donner's directorial replacement for Superman II, her role in 1983's Superman III was notably small, consisting of 12 lines and less than five minutes of footage, [29] [56] though the producers have denied this in DVD commentaries. The same year Superman III was released, Kidder also starred as a court stenographer-cum-private eye named Mickey Raymond in the comedy Trenchcoat (1983). [57] Critic Roger Ebert disliked the film, deeming it "one of the most tired, predictable, uninteresting movies in a long time." [57] Also in 1983, Kidder produced and starred as Eliza Doolittle in a version of Pygmalion with Peter O'Toole for Showtime. [58]

Kidder subsequently produced and starred in the French-Canadian period television film Louisiana (1984) as a plantation owner in the American South who returns from Paris to find her estate and holdings have been lost. [59] Kidder began dating the film's director, Philippe de Broca, and the two married in France in 1983. [29] Her marriage to de Broca lasted only one year, ending in divorce in 1984. [46] Kidder later characterized the marriage as "impulsive, I'm afraid. Not a little irresponsible. We just weren't meant to be married to each other." [29] In 1984, she reunited with James Garner (her former Nichols co-star) in the Hollywood crime drama The Glitter Dome , as well as the drama Little Treasure for Columbia Tri-Star, with co-stars Ted Danson and Burt Lancaster, where she played a distraught stripper looking for her bank robber-father's buried fortune.

In 1985, Kidder expressed ambivalence toward continuing her career, and was quoted as saying: "I don't feel comfortable as a performer and I'm a big turkey as a movie star." [29] She would subsequently state that the quote was reported out of context, but conceded: "I am in a weird frame of mind at the moment. I know acting is not going to be enough for me for the rest of my life. This business is very hard on women at a certain age, and I never want to end up just having to accept what's offered me. So I am anxious to direct, to have options." [29] In 1986 she was selected as the English narrator for the Japanese animated series The Wonderful Wizard of Oz . Kidder subsequently reprised her Lois Lane role in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), which she filmed in 1986. [60] Body of Evidence (1988), a CBS Movie of the Week, cast Kidder as a nurse who is suspicious that her medical pathologist second husband is a serial killer.

1990–1999: Mental health struggles

In the fall of 1990, Kidder appeared as a singer who becomes a murder victim in the Canadian television film White Room (1990). [61] In December that year, Kidder was seriously injured in a car accident on the set of the television series Nancy Drew and Daughter which left her partially paralyzed as a result of spinal injury. [62] [63] She was unable to work for two years, causing her financial difficulties, resulting in debts of over $800,000. [64] Kidder attempted to sue the Canadian producer, Nelvana, for $1 million in damages but did not receive a settlement, and her launching of the suit rendered her ineligible for Canadian workers' compensation. [63] Kidder returned to the screen with an uncredited cameo appearance in the comedy film Delirious (1991), [65] appearing as a woman in a washroom. This was followed by a role as a psychic in To Catch a Killer (1992), a Canadian television thriller film based on the crimes of John Wayne Gacy. [66] She had several small roles in 1994, including in the Disney Channel film Windrunner, [67] as well as another uncredited appearance in Maverick . [6] She also played a bartender at the Broken Skull Tavern in Under a Killing Moon , an IBM PC adventure game. [64]

Kidder's mental health was declining during this period; she had received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder in 1988, which she refuted at the time, and refused the recommended lithium treatment. [13] In April 1996, she experienced a widely publicized manic episode in Los Angeles. [13] [68] At the time, Kidder had been working on an autobiography when her laptop computer became infected with a virus, which caused it to crash and her to lose three years' worth of drafts. [69] Kidder flew to California to have the computer examined by a data retrieval company, who ultimately was unable to retrieve the files. [69] She entered a manic state and disappeared for four days. She was later found by a homeowner in the backyard of a Glendale residence, [70] 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. [69] She was subsequently placed in psychiatric care. [69] While convalescing from the incident in Vancouver, Kidder said she finally "was able to accept the diagnosis." [13] She would later speak openly about her treatment of the disorder via orthomolecular medicine. [71]

Kidder returned to film with a lead role in the independent comedy-drama Never Met Picasso (1997), portraying an actress living with her gay adult son (portrayed by Alexis Arquette) who is attempting to sort his life out. [72] Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times wrote that "Arquette and Kidder given the chance to come across as quite appealing" in their roles. [72] She next appeared in the slasher film The Clown at Midnight (1998), opposite Christopher Plummer, [73] and alongside Lynn Redgrave and James Earl Jones in the comedy The Annihilation of Fish (1999), playing the landlady of an interracial couple. [74] Critic Todd McCarthy in Variety referred to the film as a "would-be charmer" and "a drear moment in the careers of all concerned." [74]

2000–2018: Independent films, television

Kidder at Toronto during the Canadian National Exhibition in 2005 Margot Kidder.JPG
Kidder at Toronto during the Canadian National Exhibition in 2005

In 2000, Kidder played Eileen Canboro in Apocalypse III: Tribulation , a Christian film dealing with Christian eschatology and the rapture. Kidder stated afterwards that she did not realize until she was on the set that the movie was serious. [75] Also that year she appeared in three episodes of Peter Benchley's Amazon , playing a striking role as an insane Canadian woman bent on domination of all the local tribes. In 2001, she played the abusive mother of a serial killer in "Pique", an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit . In 2002, she appeared alongside Crispin Glover and Vanessa Redgrave in the film adaptation of Crime and Punishment . [25]

Kidder appeared off-Broadway in The Vagina Monologues in December 2002, [76] and toured with the show for two years. After this, she appeared on Robson Arms , a Canadian sitcom set in an apartment block in Vancouver's west end. She played a quirky neighbor of the main cast members. She also had a cameo in Rich Hall's Election Special on BBC Four. In 2006, Kidder played Jenny Schecter's mother Sandy Ziskin on The L Word ; her character was a repressed Jewish woman coming to terms with her daughter's sexuality. [25] In 2007, Kidder began appearing on the television series Brothers and Sisters , playing Emily Craft. In 2004, Kidder briefly returned to the Superman franchise in two episodes of the television series Smallville , as Bridgette Crosby, an emissary of Dr. Swann (played by her Superman co-star, Christopher Reeve). [77]

Kidder became a United States citizen on August 17, 2005, in Butte, Montana, and settled in Livingston. [78] [79] She said that she decided to become an American citizen to participate in the voting process, to continue her protests against U.S. intervention in Iraq, and to be free of worries about being deported. [80]

In 2008, she portrayed an embattled guidance counselor in the gay-themed mystery film On the Other Hand, Death , as well as a supporting role as Laurie Strode's therapist, in Rob Zombie's Halloween II (2009). In an interview with the LGBT publication The Advocate , Kidder discussed her later career choices:

In 2015 Kidder won an Emmy award for Outstanding Performer in Children's Programming for her performance in R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour . [82]

Activism and politics

Kidder was a longtime supporter of the U.S. Democratic party and voiced her support for liberal causes throughout her career. [83] She actively supported Jesse Jackson's bid for the Democratic nomination in the 1984 U.S. presidential election. [84] In the early 1990s, during the first Gulf War, Kidder was branded a "Baghdad Betty" and subjected to abuse for her remarks questioning the war. [85] In a piece called "Confessions of 'Baghdad Betty,'" styled as a letter to her mother and printed in The Nation , Kidder responded by explaining and defending her statements. [86]

As of November 2009, Kidder was the Montana State Coordinator for Progressive Democrats of America. The organization's website carried her article "Ax Max", in which she criticized Max Baucus, Montana's Democratic senator. [87] She also contributed articles to CounterPunch , a left-wing magazine, beginning in 2009. [88] On August 22, 2015, she was named the host of a dinner event by the Yellowstone County Democrats in Billings, Montana called "Billings for Bernie" in support of Bernie Sanders' presidential primary bid. [89] [90] In a CounterPunch article expressing her reaction to the 2016 Democratic National Convention, she wrote, "I am not an American tonight... I reject the words I voiced at my citizenship ceremony." [91]

In addition to her campaigning in the United States, Kidder expressed support for liberal causes in Canada. In 2011, she supported her brother, John Kidder, in British Columbia, who was running to be a member of Canada's Parliament for the Liberal Party:

I'm here not only because John is a dream candidate but because I'm living in the end game in the United States and it's not funny. Canada is starting the same sort of right-wing, corporate ownership of government, corporate tradeoffs with government, smear campaigns, 'let's lower the corporate tax rate without mentioning it's going to up the private tax rates.' It's happening in Canada. God forbid if anyone should bring up privatizing health care. [92]

Throughout her life, Kidder was also invested in efforts protesting for environmental and anti-nuclear causes. [93] On August 23, 2011, Kidder, Tantoo Cardinal, and dozens of others were arrested while protesting in Washington, D.C. against the proposed extension of the Keystone Pipeline. [94] In 2012, she appeared in a video for Stop the Frack Attack, an environmental organization working toward regulating fracking practices. [95] When discussing sustainable energy, Kidder said: "The first thing people have to start facing, contrary to the advertising fed to us by oil and gas companies, is that environmentalism and economic stability go hand-in-hand on any long term basis." [12] Kidder spent the winter of the 2016–2017 residing in a tent at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. [96]

In addition to environmental causes, Kidder was a vocal supporter of LGBT rights, and in 2003 hosted benefits at a gay and lesbian health center in Boston, Massachusetts. [63] Following her publicized nervous breakdown in 1996, she also spoke outwardly about her struggles with mental health and her bipolar disorder diagnosis. [13] In 2001, she was awarded the Courage in Mental Health Award from the California Women’s Mental Health Policy Council for her public dialogue on mental illness. [13]

Death

Flowers for Kidder at the Motor City Comic Con in May 2018, where she was scheduled to appear several days after her death MCCC 01 (28461858308).jpg
Flowers for Kidder at the Motor City Comic Con in May 2018, where she was scheduled to appear several days after her death

Kidder died on May 13, 2018, at her house in Livingston, Montana, at the age of 69. [38] She was found unresponsive by a friend. [97] The cause of death was initially not released; her agent stated that "she passed away peacefully in her sleep", [98] while, in the days following her death, her friend Jeffrey St. Clair wrote: "I’ve been struggling all week with the image of Margie lying helplessly on the floor of her house." [99] On August 8, 2018, it was reported that Kidder's death had been ruled a suicide by overdose. [100] [101] The Park County, Montana, coroner said her death was "a result of a self-inflicted drug and alcohol overdose." [100]

Kidder's friends have related that she had suffered from poor health in recent years, particularly following her lengthy stay at the Standing Rock protest camp in 2016, often enduring frigid temperatures. [102] DC Comics stated on its Twitter feed: "Thank you for being the Lois Lane so many of us grew up with. RIP, Margot Kidder". [103] [104] After her death, Kidder's close friend, director Ted Geoghegan, stated:

Margot lived at the foot of Canyon Mountain, right outside of Livingston. Like much of Montana, the mountain was filled with wolves. But instead of fearing them, Margot loved them. She left meat out for the wolves so she could watch them come down the mountain and eat from the safety of her home...  She'd asked her closest friends—if they stopped by her place and found her dead—to tell no one, place her naked body in a bedsheet, drag it up Canyon Mountain, and leave her for her other friends, the wolves. [105]

Kidder was survived by her daughter, Maggie, and two grandchildren from Maggie's marriage to novelist Walter Kirn. [106]

Acting credits

Filmography

Stage credits

YearTitleRoleNotesRef.
1982 Bus Stop CherieStaged at Garrison Theatre, Claremont, California [55]
2001 The Vagina Monologues Off-Broadway and touring production [76]

Notes

  1. Annie Kidder is married to actor Eric Peterson.
  2. In a timeline published in Conversations with Thomas McGuane (2007), he and Kidder's daughter Maggie is noted as having been born October 28, 1976. [33] This, however, conflicts with a February 9, 1976 article in People magazine which notes that Kidder was "mothering their out-of-wedlock 3-month-old daughter, Maggie," suggesting her birth year to in fact be 1975. [34]

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