20 October 2014


Margaret Ruth Kidder was born on October 17, 1948 in Yellowknife, Canada. As a child, she had to confront mood swings and depression, a condition that would come back to haunt her later in life. To help her with her troubles, Kidder's parents sent their daughter to a boarding school...where a lead role as Juliet in "Romeo and Juliet" initiated her interest in acting.

Kidder moved to Los Angeles in the late '60s and soon had a lead opposite Gene Wilder in Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx. Per advice from the film's director, Kidder left for New York to study acting further.

Upon returning to the west coast, she moved into a beach house with her friend and fellow actress Jennifer Salt. The two women were part of a hip crowd that included such up-and-coming directors as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Brian De Palma.

The latter eventually started dating Kidder - and one Christmas, he presented both Kidder and Salt with giftwrapped scripts for a movie he was about to produce and direct. It was called Sisters.

There were more than a few echos of Hitchcock's work, a criticism that would dog De Palma for much of his career. But the movie, about the murderous half of separated siamese twins, was a hit. Kidder was perfect as the schizophrenic sibling with a dual personality. Her French Canadian accent is impeccable. She's sexy, unpredictable...and deadly.

Kidder has a great moment in the film where she savagely stabs her date, who has just brought her a birthday cake. That scene and her twitchy reaction, can send chills up your spine.

With the success of Sisters, Kidder found work with ease. She appeared in numerous television shows and Made-for-TV movies, and in 1974, she returned to her native Canada to shoot Black Christmas for director Bob Clark.

It's an astonshing yuletide horror and a forebearer of the slasher genre that would become the norm within a few years. Kidder played the hard-drinking, foul-mouthed Barb...and with her gravel voice and tough demeanor, she's the last person you would expect to be a victim.

Although never typecast into terror flicks, Kidder did make a handful and almost always stole the ones she appeared in. After filming The Great Waldo Pepper in 1975, Kidder portrayed Marcia Curtis in The Reincarnation of Peter Proud starring Michael Sarrazin.

And then came the part which any actress would kill for. She won the much sought after role of Lois Lane in Superman, which became one of the biggest hits of the decade and the movie for which she is most associated with.

The following year, Kidder starred in The Amityville Horror as Kathleen Lutz. Supposedly based on real events, she is completely sympathetic as the innocent wife whose husband (played by James Brolin) slowly becomes possessed by the spirit of a murderer in the house they have just moved into.

Superman had been filmed concurrently with a sequel - and in 1981, Superman II was released. It too was a smash.

However, when it came time to shoot the third installment, Kidder's role as Lois was drastically reduced, due to a conflict with producers. In the end, her exposure in this franchise led to work throughout the '80s and '90s.

In 1996, Kidder had an unfortunate series of events that culminated with the actress being found in a neighbor's yard, apparently suffering from mental illness.

These days, she is doing well and has become a spokesperson for various mental conditions and alternative recovery programs. Margot Kidder's acting career is active again and we look forward to more great parts for this always interesting and courageous person.

NOTABLE FILMS YEAR
The Amityville Horror 1979
Black Christmas 1974
The Reincarnation of Peter Proud 1975
Sisters 1973
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