Margot Kidder, best known for her role as Lois Lane in the four original Superman movies, has died at the age of 69.
A presentative for the actress confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter.
Update – August 9th: A coroner has determined that Kidder died by suicide.
Kidder played the intrepid reporter Lane opposite Christopher Reeve’s Man of Steel in four Superman films from the 1978 original to 1987’s Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Her first turn as the character earned her a Saturn Award for Best Actress and shot her to fame. Kidder delivered what many consider to be the quintessential portrayal of Lane, her gutsy, willful, confident attitude providing the perfect foil for Reeve’s timid and mild-mannered Clark Kent.
Speaking with the website Hey U Guys in 2016, Kidder said her natural chemistry with Reeve was a result of coming from similar backgrounds and sharing a sibling-like affection for each other. “So the energy we had was one of brother and sister, which was often bickering, that took the place of romantic energy,” she said. “No one noticed the difference one from the other — it worked. We didn’t have to create a different reality.”
Born in Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories, Kidder got her start in a number of television dramas for CBC, the most prominent of which was a role as Ruth the bartender on James Garner’s western Nichols from 1971-1972. Her first major studio film was 1969’s Gaily, Gaily, a comedy that starred Beau Bridges. She would go on to star in the original The Amityville Horror and the 1974 cult slasher film Black Christmas. Kidder also played opposite Robert Redford in The Great Waldo Pepper, Richard Pryor in Some Kind of Hero, Gene Wilder in Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx, and Peter Fonda in 92 in the Shade.
Later in her career, she voiced the role of Gaia (Mother Earth) on the popular cartoon Captain Planet and the Planeteers. She also performed in theater productions like a 2002 Broadway staging of The Vagina Monologues and a 1983 performance of Bus Stop alongside Tim Matheson, the latter of which was broadcast on HBO. In 2004, she revisited her Superman legacy by guesting on the show Smallville as Bridgette Crosby. She received a Daytime Emmy Award in 2015 for Outstanding Performer in a Chidlren’s Series for her role as Mrs. Worthington in R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour.
As a sufferer of bipolar disorder, Kidder was an advocate for mental health and particularly supported orthomolecular medicine. She experienced a very public manic episode in April 1996 when a computer virus caused her to lose three years’ worth of drafts of her autobiography. She went missing for four days before being discovered in a Los Angeles homeowners’ backyard.
Kidder was also a major liberal political activist, saying she became an American citizen in 2005 so that she could vote and continue her protest against the war in Iraq. As of 2009, she had served as the Montana State Coordinator for Progressive Democrats of America. In 2011, she was arrested along with dozens of other protestors in Washington, DC as they voiced objection to the Keystone Pipeline extension.
Kidder is survived by her daughter, Maggie McGuane, whom she had in 1976 with her then-husband, Thomas McGuane, and Maggie’s two children.