Margaret 'Margot' Ruth Kidder had a very long career in Hollywood. It took many different turns. Some will know her from THE AMITYVILLE HORROR... some from BLACK CHRISTMAS... some from the obscure likes of SISTERS... but just about everyone who frequents this site knows her from her most popular work: the definitive Lois Lane in the Christopher Reeve SUPERMAN films of the late seventies and early eighties.
Kidder's IMDB page is a very long series of entries. She worked wherever she could find it. Her lifelong struggles with mental illness put her through a very low period in her life that I want to acknowledge here, but I don't want to dwell on it except to point out that she survived it, again and again. I'm going to remember her in the role that made her special to me-- at what, for me, was her absolute best.
As a child of the seventies, I was lucky enough to have experienced SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE in a theater back when it opened. Kidder was my first, best Lois Lane, and the standard by which I judge the other Lois Lanes. I have enjoyed some, like Terri Hatcher and Amy Adams, but I've always loved Kidder's the best. She was quirky, tenacious, had very little filter to her, and above all, she was always twice the reporter Clark Kent was-- with no superpowers to aid her. The films actually made a bit of a joke about her reporting ('one P in Rapist'), but she was in step with the times and no pushover.
Her voice had a squeaky-scratchy quality to it I liked when she asked Superman, "Who's got you?" when Superman rescues her from a fall off the Daily Planet building. It's the incredulity of a child-- like the one in THE INCREDIBLES who witnesses the Parr family car being hoisted-- mixed with an edgy, chain-smoking badass. That line delivery was important to the series. We believed a 'Man could fly, partially because of how well Margot Kidder sold it at that moment.
My favorite Superman appearance for her was SUPERMAN II, where she put it together that Clark was Superman, only to have him frustrate her over and over again. She loves Superman, and she doesn't need for him to pretend to be Clark anymore. She taunts the Clark persona, but the moment he is true with her and Kal-El/Superman, you just know that she will do anything he asks, without hesitation. I've always wondered if maybe Superman's 'trip'-- an impossibility to a flying man-- is his subconscious saying he wants Lois to know, as she's beating herself up that she got it wrong, and he can't take her pain anymore. Again, Kidder is astounding both in her 'gee, rats' Lois and in the awestruck moments after the Clark veneer drops, and she is standing in the truest Superman's presence, his biggest secret revealed.
Our news cycle marches on, so it's time to post this. I wish I had more time to dig into her career, and her life story, to watch some of her guest-starring appearances and watch BLACK CHRISTMAS again for the first time in 30 years. I hope Talkbackers will share their favorite Kidder performances here and I hope that you will please be respectful of each other's memories.
-- Precious Roy