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Margot Kidder’s brother spreads her ashes in Yellowknife, her ‘spirit home’

John Kidder, brother of actress Margot Kidder, was in Yellowknife on Wednesday to spread some of her ashes. (Randall McKenzie/CBC)

The brother of Superman actress Margot Kidder has returned to Yellowknife to spread some of his sister’s ashes in her “spirit home.”

Kidder died in her home in Montana on May 13, 2018, at the age of 69. The actress, who was born in Yellowknife, was well-known for playing Lois Lane in the series of movies opposite Christopher Reeve’s Superman.

Her brother, John Kidder, is in the N.W.T. capital with his wife, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, who is on the campaign trail for the upcoming federal election. But he had another purpose — fulfilling one of his sister’s final wishes.

“In her will, she asked me if I would bring some of her ashes back to Yellowknife,” Kidder said. “She felt so strong and so proud of being a northerner all her life.”

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Former prime minister Pierre Trudeau arrives at the premiere of the film Louisiana with Margot Kidder in 1984 in Montreal. (Moe Doiron/Canadian Press)

He was born in 1947 in Yellowknife, and his sister was born 51 weeks later. They lived in the city until he was about 4½ years old, before moving to Labrador City, where Margot also asked that her ashes be spread.

“Because we moved so often, Margie and I were not just like brother and sister, but we were each other’s very best friends all of our lives, because for most of our life we were the only people we knew in any place we arrived,” Kidder said.

He spread his sister’s ashes in Frame Lake, where they used to swim as children, saying he was “honoured … to bring a little bit of Margie back here.”

Activism and personal troubles

Kidder noted his sister’s long history of activism, including at the Standing Rock protests in North Dakota, and how that gave her a sense of home.

“She felt then that she was kind of getting back in touch because she was living in a teepee in the winter in North Dakota,” he said, “and back in touch with her roots as a northerner.”

As an adult, her personal life “wasn’t very happy,” he said. Fighting back tears, Kidder said it was fitting to return her ashes to a place that brought her joy as a child. 

“It’s not sadness, it’s nostalgia. It’s a recollection of things; mostly it’s just a just an enormous expression of love,” he said about spreading her ashes. 

“And so it just feels like a like a warm complex combination of emotion.”

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John Kidder stands on the shores of Yellowknife’s Frame Lake, where he spread the ashes of his sister, Margot Kidder. (Juanita Taylor/CBC)

Though she was an accomplished actor, Kidder said there was nothing scripted about his sister’s love for the North.

“Honestly, she thought of this as her spirit home, without a shadow of a doubt,” he said.

“It just empowered my sister Margie through all the things she did — the spirit of the North was flying with Lois Lane by God all the way, all the way through the skies, she and Chris Reeve.”

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