Anne and I were saddened today to hear of the passing of Margot Kidder, the definitive Lois Lane of our generation. Much has been said and will be said around the internet and in the media for days to come. We had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Kidder less than a year ago at the Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL. We always talk about the actors and other personalities we’d love to meet before it was too late. In this particular case, for this amazing woman, we had no idea we were cutting it so close.
Kidder was the main reason Anne absolutely positively had to be at last year’s Celebration no matter what. Her version of Lois Lane brought to life a bold, savvy, sometimes pushy ace reporter who kept that meek Clark Kent in his place. Anne watched the original Superman: The Movie so many times on videodisc as a kid (not a typo) that she memorized it. All of it. Every line. Kidder’s lines, Christopher Reeve’s, Luthor’s, even the bumbling words of poor Otis. She could recite it from start to finish. So there we ventured, and made Anne’s year.
Prior to their joint autograph line, Kidder and Superman II‘s Sarah Douglas also shared a lively Q&A in which Douglas and the moderator took turns stopping Kidder whenever she began a fun Hollywood anecdote not quite suited to an all-ages audience. Both confirmed the pleasure and occasional oddness of working with Marlon Brando. Kidder summed up the first year of her working relationship with a still-unseasoned Christopher Reeve as being like “Lucy and Charlie Brown” until he eventually developed the confidence that showed through the screen. And both agreed flying harnesses were terrible contraptions back in the day.
The event clearly wasn’t easy for her. The line went slowly, but none of us fans got indignant about it, even when she had to take a break for a while. Her handler seemed to be taking care of her (and, in fact, took Anne’s photo with her to get it exactly right), but she confessed she was exhausted by the time it was our turn to say hi and bask in her presence. In our minds, her hanging out here with us ordinary folks in the summertime went above and beyond.
Anne and I were reminded of the time we met Carrie Fisher — another pop culture icon that had been with us since childhood — at a convention roughly a year-‘n’-a-half before her passing. As Anne closed out her obligatory but to-the-point In Memoriam post on Facebook: “Like Carrie Fisher, she was a significant female lead from the ’70s. Like Carrie, she struggled with mental health issues. Like Carrie, she died too soon.”