Friday, September 12, 2008

Margot Kidder

Margot Kidder is an actress best known for her role as "Lois Lane" in the hit movie Superman and its sequels. Kidder was born on October 17, 1948 in Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories of Canada.

As a child Kidder's goal was to eventually become a movie star. However, she experienced constant mood swings, but wasn't sure why. She tried to commit suicide several times - the first time was at age 14 - but would quickly recover the days following such mood swings. Kidder's father was a mining engineer and her family move frequently - she attended 11 different schools over a 12-year period. In an effort to help her deal with her emotional problems, Kidder's parents sent her to a boarding school where she took part in school plays such as Romeo and Juliet.

After graduating from high school, Kidder moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. After struggling for a while, she eventually acquired a Canadian agent and appeared in some TV shows. During the late 1960s, Kidder was based in Toronto, and appeared in a number of TV drama series for the CBC, including guest appearances on Wojeck, Adventures in Rainbow Country, and an occasional role as a young reporter on McQueen.

In 1971, Kidder appeared as a barmaid in several episodes of Nichols, a comedy Western TV show starring James Garner. Kidder lived in a beach house in Los Angeles with fellow actress Jennifer Salt during the early 1970s. While living at the beach house, Kidder and Salt befriended several struggling filmmakers, including Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, and Steven Spielberg. Kidder eventually became involved with De Palma and he later cast her in a leading role in his 1973 motion picture, Sisters.

Kidder also had small roles in minor movies and in TV shows such as Barnaby Jones, Baretta, Wide World Mystery, and Switch during the mid-1970s. In an apparent effort to raise her profile, Kidder also appeared nude in the March 1975 issue of Playboy.

Kidder's biggest break came in 1978 when she was cast as Lois Lane in the hugely successful Superman movie. Kidder's portrayal of Lois Lane as an ambitious yet vulnerable and emotionally lonely woman trying to succeed received rave reviews and made her a major movie star. Kidder reprised her role for Superman II, III, and IV. Despite her success, Kidder pissed off the Superman producers when she foolishly publicly criticized the decision to replace Richard Donner with Richard Lester as director of 1980's Superman II. As an apparently punishment, Kidder's role in Superman III was limited to a mere 5 minutes of the film.

Kidder followed up her success in Superman with an appearance in the 1979 hit horror flick, The Amityville Horror. She also appeared in many lesser roles in TV shows and in movies throughout the 1980s and early 1990s.

In her personal life, Kidder has dated former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and director Brian De Palma, as discussed above. She has been married and divorced 3 times - to American novelist Thomas McGuane (with whom she had her only child, daughter Maggie, in 1976), to actor John Heard, and to French film director Philippe de Broca. None of her marriages lasted longer than a year. Since her divorce from De Broca in 1984, she has said that she prefers the companionship of her dogs.

Kidder's life had some unusual twists and turns during the 1990s. In 1990 Kidder was involved in a horrible car accident and went bankrupt when she was unable to work for two years. Kidder suffered horrible pain in her neck and took medication that left her mind "muddied."

In 1996 Kidder apparently suffered a nervous breakdown after a computer virus destroyed three years worth of files stored on her computer's hard drive. Kidder immediately began fearing that her ex-husband Thomas McGuane was trying to kill her. Kidder's paranoia caused her to leave her home and live on the street for a few days. After several days of living on the streets, Kidder was discovered hiding in a neighbor’s bushes. Kidder had cut her hair short with a safety razor in an effort to disguise herself and the neighbors mistook her for a homeless woman. Kidder claimed that during the previous days, she visited other men living in cardboard boxes and smoking crack pipes. One of the bums, named Charlie, looked after Kidder and gave her some food to eat. However, not all of the homeless men treated her well - another homeless man allegedly tried to rape Kidder, kicking her in the stomach, hitting her in the face and dislodging the caps on her front teeth.

Kidder was eventually discovered by police in Glendale, a suburb of Los Angeles, and taken to a hospital for observation. Kidder was diagnosed with manic depression and given treatment. Kidder recovered and has since appeared in minor roles on various TV shows over the past decade.

Kidder is well-known for her left-wing politics and was publicly derided during the first Persian Gulf War for criticizing the U.S.'s war efforts. Kidder's criticism earned her the nickname, "Baghdad Betty."

Margot Kidder rose from obscurity to become one of the best-known actresses on the late-1970s. However, mental illness and her loud, opinionated mouth quickly killed her career. Although she has had a steady stream of minor acting roles over the past 20+ years, Kidder is not even close to being a "Hollywood star" right now. Accordingly, there can be no doubt that Margot Kidder is one washed-up celebrity!