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Margot Kidder, the Lois Lane to Christopher Reeve’s Superman, has died

Rick Marshall
Superman franchise actress Margot Kidder, who played Lois Lane in each of the first four live-action films starring Christopher Reeve, has died at age 69. Her career spanned more than five decades of television and movies.

Margot Kidder, who became the face of intrepid Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane to generations of movie audiences thanks to her role in 1978’s Superman and its sequels, died in her Montana home Sunday.

The cause of death for the 69-year-old actress is unknown at this point, but her passing was confirmed to CNN by her manager.

A Canadian-born actress and activist, Kidder appeared in various small films before starring in Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx opposite Gene Wilder in 1970. She later played twin sisters in Brian De Palma’s thriller Sisters, before breaking out in director Richard Donner’s live-action superhero film playing Lois Lane opposite actor Christopher Reeve’s iconic portrayal of Superman and his mild-mannered alter ego, Clark Kent.

In many ways, her performance as Lois Lane was as character-defining as Reeve’s version of the Man of Steel, and she went on to play Lois Lane in each of the three sequels to Superman.

Her rise to fame in the role of Lois Lane initially concerned her — particularly due to the likelihood of typecasting in Hollywood — but she grew to appreciate the character’s iconic status and her connection to it.

“It was exciting, but for a while being typecast as Lois made my vanity and narcissism scream. Hadn’t people seen my other work?” Kidder told The Guardian in 2005 about playing the character. “But now my grandkids watch it, and think I was Superman’s friend, so that’s a thrill.”

Kidder kept her profile high with a critically praised performance in The Amityville Horror in 1979, and continued to play major and minor roles in a variety of films and television series over the years, including guest roles on Smallville, Brothers & Sisters, and The L Word in recent years. In 2015, she won a Daytime Emmy Award for her portrayal of Mrs. Worthington in the children’s television series R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour.

Although she’s best known for playing the tough-as-nails journalist Lois Lane, Kidder struggled with mental illness over the years, and has spoken publicly about the battle with manic depression she waged both before and after she suffered a nervous breakdown in 1996.

Kidder is survived by her daughter, Maggie McGuane.