When I was establishing to my boyfriend who had just died (when I say, “Oh!” in a particular tone, he knows what that means), I said, “Lois Lane.” She was in sixty-three movies, was on sixty-four TV shows. Yet to an entire generation, possibly more, she’s Lois Lane and always will be. Oh, she’s not the only Lois Lane, necessarily; I had to establish that I didn’t mean Teri Hatcher. Still, despite a long career, only one role gets brought up.
Perhaps this is the true Curse of Superman, a concept she scoffed at. If so, though, it’s the Curse of Being in Something Popular. I admit I’m not sure she did much of anything else I particularly like (other than apparently taking over the role of Gaia from Whoopi Goldberg on Captain Planet at some point?), but is an entire career almost ten years longer than my lifetime really reduced to four performances, one of which she admitted freely was in a movie with a terrible script?
On the other hand, she also said that she liked what Superman IV was trying to do, even though, yes, terrible script. What I think she would want us to be talking about today, beyond Lois Lane, was not necessarily The Amityville Horror but her history of political activism. She, Canadian by birth, became a US citizen not out of any great love for the US necessarily but because she felt as though she had more influence in the political process by being able to vote as an American.
Honestly, though, she said in an interview with The Advocate that she loved to work and expressed full awareness that many of the movies she made were terrible. She liked living in her small Montana town, but she also loved acting. If all the scripts she got were for terrible movies, well, she was going to make terrible movies. Them’s the breaks, At least it paid for the life she wanted to live, I guess.
It’s possibly not fair, but the first thing I do when a mentally ill person dies is look to see how old they were. Kidder believed her symptoms were managed, and perhaps they were; I don’t know. But sixty-nine is a pretty good run for a bipolar person, and I’m not going to denigrate that. She said she had one of the most publicized breakdowns in history, and she wasn’t wrong. I don’t want to dwell on it here, because I’m not sure it’s fair to her. Let’s remember the good today, even if all we’re remembering is Lois Lane.