October 17, 1948 – May 13, 2018
The death of Margot Kidder last month was sad news to the world. Everyone knows her as Lois Lane, the real star of the four “Superman” movies. Many also know of her political activism in the USA. Fewer people are aware of her involvement in improving mental health and of her strong advocacy and commitment to Orthomolecular Medicine.
In 1997 the Canadian Schizophrenia Foundation (later to become the International Schizophrenia Foundation) was planning to make a full-length documentary on the benefits of Orthomolecular Medicine for mental disorders. I had read that while in the early stages of recovery from bipolar depression, Margot was helped by an acupuncturist in Victoria, BC. The acupuncturist told Margot about Dr. Abram Hoffer, also in Victoria, who had treated thousands of people over the past four decades with Orthomolecular Medicine. Margot began researching this approach, and it was in this period that I contacted her.
I met Margot by phone, a year after her April 1996 much-publicized psychotic breakdown in Los Angeles, and asked if she’d be interested in providing narration for the film which we would shoot in the fall of 1998. When she learned that this was the organization that Abram Hoffer founded in 1968, she said, “Hell, I don’t want just to narrate; I want to be in the film. The man saved my life, and I’ve never met him.”
We decided that she’d come to the Nutritional Medicine Today Conference (now known as the Orthomolecular Medicine Today Conference) in Vancouver in May 1998 to meet Abram and other leaders in Orthomolecular Medicine. Margot joined the 200 delegates at the Waterfront Centre Hotel to learn more about Orthomolecular Medicine. It was some time before the audience realized the famous movie star was in their company. A discreet film crew shot some footage during the Conference that would be used in the “Masks of Madness: Science of Healing” documentary.
In October 1998, we assembled for a full-day shoot near Victoria, BC, with Margot and eight people with mental illness from across Canada who had improved with Orthomolecular Medicine. This lively, relaxed round table (sans table) discussion, hosted and led by the well-informed and congenial Margot, was then interspersed with interviews with Abram Hoffer and eight other leading physicians. The 50-minute film was shown on TV around the world, and became the best educational video produced about the benefits of Orthomolecular Medicine.
Margot was very excited during the Masks of Madness production, and wanted to explore ways she could further help our work. She became the Honorary Chair and Spokesperson for the Canadian Schizophrenia Foundation, and we initiated the “Mental Health Regained” series of public workshops. Margot spoke at many conferences and seminars annually in Canada and the USA, inspiring thousands of people and greatly raising the profile of Orthomolecular Medicine.
The KYB Club of Japan, led by Dr. Masotoshi Kaneko, wanted to host a special “Healing Cancer” Convention in Japan. At 89, Abram Hoffer was reluctant to travel to Tokyo, so, in September 2006, the Convention was held in Vancouver instead. In addition to Abram as the keynote speaker, Dr. Kaneko invited Margot as their special guest, along with other leaders in Orthomolecular Medicine. Two hundred health professionals from Japan attended. Margot gave a great talk and introduced a five minute video clip compilation of her in the “Superman” movies that we prepared for the occasion. In one funny and foretelling clip from Superman II, Margot, as Lois Lane, extols the benefits of vitamin C in orange juice, which she’s squeezing from fresh oranges – “pills aren’t natural” – and tells Superman how she plans to keep herself in perfect health, all while smoking a cigarette!
The next year in Toronto, at the Lifetime Achievement Gala honouring Abram in his ninetieth year, Margot gave a fine tribute: “Like thousands of others, when I experienced a mental breakdown I was unable to find the help I needed from mainstream psychiatry. I was so fortunate to find you, Dr. Hoffer, and to discover Orthomolecular Medicine; you have been an inspiration to me for ten years. Your pioneering spirit and deep humanity have sustained and driven this most important approach to healing. It has been an honour for me to work with you. Thank you!”
And we thank you, Margot, for the twenty years we’ve known you as a determined, intelligent, articulate and fearless advocate for better treatment for those with mental illness. May you rest in peace.
– Steven Carter