Margot Kidder, best known for playing Lois Lane in the 1978 movie “Superman” and its three sequels, has died at age 69. Kidder, who starred alongside Christopher Reeve’s Man of Steel, passed away on May 13 at her home in Montana.
Although you may have known her for that iconic film role, here are five facts about the actress that you might not have known:
1. Margot Wasn’t Her Birth Name
Like many people in show business, Kidder changed her name early in her acting career. She was born Margaret Ruth Kidder, in Yellowknife, Canada, which is in the Northwest Territories. She became an American citizen in 2005.
2. Being A Klutz Helped Her Land Her Biggest Role
“Superman” director Richard Donner claimed he cast Kidder as Lois Lane in part because she tripped while entering her casting session for the role. Donner was looking for an every-woman Lois, and he felt Kidder was perfect. When Kidder later scratched her eye while putting in her contacts and couldn’t wear them during filming, Donner told The Hollywood Reporter he used her poor eyesight as part of the role.
3. She Had A Star-Studded Love Life
No, Kidder never dated her “Superman” co-star, Reeve, but she did get married and divorced three times. Her first marriage, to author Thomas McGuane, was the longest. The two had a daughter, Maggie, Kidder’s only child. She had two other short marriages, to actor John Heard and director Philippe de Broca. According to Canada’s National Post, she was also romantically connected to other high-profile figures like Richard Pryor (who acted in “Superman III” with her), Brian De Palma, Steven Spielberg and Pierre Trudeau, a former Canadian prime minister.
4. She Helped Bring Mental Health Issues Into The Spotlight
Kidder had a very public mental health breakdown in 1996, when she was found wandering around in a manic state after being homeless for a short period of time. After her eventual recovery, she continued to speak out about her bipolar disorder and try to bring more awareness to mental health issues.
5. She Was Arrested For Her Activism
Aside from her efforts on behalf of mental health issues, Kidder was also an environmental and animal activist. One of her more well-publicized protests was at the White House in 2011, fighting against the Keystone XL pipeline project, for which she was arrested. She also protested the Iraq War and supported Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential race, among other causes. She also made an “environmental impact” onscreen as the voice of Gaia in “Captain Planet and the Planeteers.”
Famous figures took to Twitter to remember Kidder after her death was announced. People, from actors to political figures, talked about what she meant to them. “Star Wars” actor Mark Hamill said she was “one of the kindest, sweetest, most caring” people he’s ever known:
On-screen she was magic.
Off-screen she was one of the kindest, sweetest, most caring woman I’ve ever known.
I’ll miss you #MargoKidder.
Your legacy will live on forever. pic.twitter.com/UBlbszEIhb
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) May 14, 2018
David Axelrod, former staffer for President Obama, praised Kidder for “courageously, candidly discussing her battles with mental illness:”
Margot Kidder should be remembered as much for courageously, candidly discussing her battles with mental illness as for any screen role.
There are no Supermen— or women. It is not a character deficiency to acknowledge such struggles and get the help and treatment you need!
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) May 14, 2018
And the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation said it was “deeply saddened” by the passing of a friend:
The Reeve Family and Foundation are deeply saddened by the loss of Margot Kidder. Fly high, our friend, shine bright. #Superman pic.twitter.com/EYWWevThQN
— Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation (@ReeveFoundation) May 14, 2018
Kidder’s legacy clearly lives on in her acting work and her humanitarian efforts!