In terms of the underrated dramatic actresses of my time, MARGOT KiDDER is right up there with SHELLEY DUVAL, CLORiS LEACHMAN, MELANiE GRiFFiTH and MiA FARROW. These were always women I thought pulled out fantastic dramatic roles in far too few films, despite their capabilities. It sounds like a random list and perhaps it is but this Canadian born actress, best known for her role as LOiS LANE in four SUPERMAN movies (with CHRiSTOPHER REEVE) has several more very notable films under her belt that are often overlooked. I also find she had a very multi-faceted complexity – at times known for being a wild child, boozer and opposite of the ingenue, but also plucky, unabashed and at times very fragile, considering her public battles with mental health.
One of the most notable films I’ve seen KiDDER in, was a 1970 GENE WiLDER comedy called QUAKSER FORTUNE HAS A COUSiN iN THE BRONX. KiDDER plays ZAZEL, the love interest to QUACKSER ; an unfortunate young man who collects horse manure for a living. It’s WiLDER’S film but KiDDER’s presence, which was so fresh and young compared to the weathered woman we see today – showed her potential as a off-beat leading lady, much like SHELLEY DUVAL. She represented the stereotypical American girl of 1970. She is able to convey both the innocence and sexual aggressiveness that her character demands and you can get hints of her real-life vulnerability, which I personally find fascinating in context to seeing how her later life unravels at times.
KiDDER’S resume also includes some very cool horror films, which actually make you wonder why its JAMiE LEE CURTiS who often gets the title of Scream Queen. I suppose its because KiDDER never played the ingenue in this regard. BRiAN DePALMA’S ‘SiSTERS‘ (1973) gained notoriety for both director and leading lady KiDDER, who portrayed conjoined twins – and the results are twisted and creepy. She also starred in the classic horror film BLACK CHRiSTMAS (1974) as a whorish sorority sister, and as a unsuspecting newlywed in THE AMiTYViLLE HORROR (1979). And of course there are the beloved SUPERMAN movies with REEVES, and perhaps it makes sense that these are among her most noted films, as this series packed a lot of fun and colorful characters together, bringing a lot of popularity to the super-hero genre.
KiDDER herself, a very complex woman who openly battled with mental health issues (she was diagnosed with bipolar in 1996), and a widely-published manic episode. She has often dealt with having her personal issues exposed to the public but she is also a fighter (be it politically or socially) and this is perhaps another aspect to her that I find intriguing as it paints an interesting character of depth and dimension. Far beyond any of her on-screen characters.
Scroll down below for selected KiDDER images and film clips: