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Christopher Reeve

Christopher Reeve

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Also Known As: Died: October 10, 2004
Born: September 25, 1952 Cause of Death: heart failure following treatment for infection following complications from a pressure wound
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor, screenwriter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

and. She made it just in time to say goodbye, although he was already in a coma when she arrived. The world was shocked - mainly because his health and mobility had seemed to be improving. Close friends like Glenn Close, Jane Seymour and Robin Williams all paid their respects in private as well as in the press. Unfortunately, it would not be long before these same people would have to eulogize again. In a tragic turn of events, Dana Reeve - after boldly taking the reigns of the Christopher Reeve Foundation and all they had worked for - would succumb to lung cancer only two years later, in March 2006, leaving their son Will, an orphan. Fortunately the world embraced the youngster, who would be raised by his best friend's family - an arrangement Dana made before she passed away. His older half siblings also served as pseudo-parents, as well.In the end, Reeve, the actor, left behind not only a legacy of dynamic performances and a character for the ages in Superman, he demonstrated what one person could accomplish, even without mobility; without the ability to breath on one's own that many people take for granted. Years earlier, movieg rs had believed a man - this man - could fly. Off-screen, they also...

and. She made it just in time to say goodbye, although he was already in a coma when she arrived. The world was shocked - mainly because his health and mobility had seemed to be improving. Close friends like Glenn Close, Jane Seymour and Robin Williams all paid their respects in private as well as in the press. Unfortunately, it would not be long before these same people would have to eulogize again. In a tragic turn of events, Dana Reeve - after boldly taking the reigns of the Christopher Reeve Foundation and all they had worked for - would succumb to lung cancer only two years later, in March 2006, leaving their son Will, an orphan. Fortunately the world embraced the youngster, who would be raised by his best friend's family - an arrangement Dana made before she passed away. His older half siblings also served as pseudo-parents, as well.

In the end, Reeve, the actor, left behind not only a legacy of dynamic performances and a character for the ages in Superman, he demonstrated what one person could accomplish, even without mobility; without the ability to breath on one's own that many people take for granted. Years earlier, movieg rs had believed a man - this man - could fly. Off-screen, they also believed, like he himself did, that one day, Reeve would rise up again. That would tragically not be the case, but in his efforts to shine a spotlight on spinal cord injuries and the chance to find a cure, he had proven himself a greater, true-life hero than he could ever have portrayed on screen.e his enchanting turn in "Somewhere in Time," some of Reeve's most revered feature work was of the historic drama genre, including Merchant-Ivory productions like "The Bostonians" (1984), the feature film "The Remains of the Day" (1993) and a CBS adaptation of "Anna Karenina" (1985). He also bridged his theatre and film careers in the star-studded music theater send-up, "Noises Off" (1992).

During the period leading up to 1995, Reeve took several year-plus breaks from Hollywood to do theater in New York and Massachusetts and to spend time with his family, actress/singer Dana Morosini - whom he married in 1992 after catching her sing onstage and falling immediately in love at first sight - their son Will, and Reeve's children Matthew and Alexandra from an earlier relationship with actress Gae Exton. It was while shooting "Anna Karenina" that Reeve was first introduced to horseback riding. Already an accomplished mountain climber, skier, sailor, and scuba diver, he enjoyed the challenge of a new sport, so after that particular film had wrapped, he continued training, eventually joined the competition circuit. It was during one of these competitions - a jumping event in Virginia in May of 1995 - when he was thrown from his horse, breaking his top two vertebrae and nearly dying from his injuries. Rendered paralyzed from the neck down with no chance to walk again, the actor's fate seemed particularly cruel. He was, after all, the man who had been a whole generation's Superman. A superhero who was now rendered to a wheelchair for life. The idea that there was a "Superman" curse became a popular thought as well - seeing as how Reeve's most famous predecessor, actor George Reeves, who had portrayed the Man of Steel on television for many years, had committed suicide in 1959.

After making the decision in his mind that he wanted to stay alive and overcome this sad twist of fate, Reeve made his highly anticipated first public appearance in a wheelchair and attached to a ventilator, on the ABC newsmagazine "20/20" (ABC, 1978- ) in September of 1995 - only 5 months after the accident. It was during that interview with Barbara Walters, that, with Dana by his side, the public first learned the heartache the family had gone through and how much the previously athletic Reeve had wanted to die when first given his prognosis. The touching interview was a ratings goldmine, as interest in Reeve's welfare was genuine. The following month, he appeared in person at the annual awards dinner of The Creative Coalition and made an emotional impact at the Academy Awards in March 1996 by appearing onstage in his wheelchair, to a lengthy standing ovation. That same year he won an Emmy for narrating the TV special "Without Pity: A Film About Abilities" (HBO, 1996). It was almost as if Reeve had become a bigger star; a more beloved celebrity, in light of his unfortunate injury.

The ever passionate Reeve decided to use this high profile to champion medical treatments for spinal cord injuries - which would go on to include in later years, the funding of controversial stem cell research. He also became a powerful and outspoken critic of the health care and insurance systems, speaking before Congress and the United Nations on several occasions. The Christopher Reeve Foundation was formed to generate funding for scientific research into finding cures for spinal cord injury. In 1999, Reeve and Dana launched the Paralysis Resource Center to provide information and support for others with spinal cord injury, whether they needed guidance solving day-to-day living issues, navigating through the health care system or finding a support group. Throughout his work, Reeve remained firmly convinced that he and others like him would one day become mobile again, and his spirit was not only inspirational, it resulted in a marked improvement in his own condition. After joining a rigorous physical therapy program he was able to breathe without a ventilator for over 90 minutes at a time, and regained small but remarkable movement and sensation in some limbs.

Reeve's effort on behalf of spinal cord injury was hardly his first foray into activism. He was co-president of the Creative Coalition, an organization designed to educate artists and performers about pressing issues so that they can use their position to help inform the public and participate in public policy. He was active with Amnesty International, People for the American Way, and the National Resources Defense Council. As a licensed pilot with two solo trans-Atlantic flights under his belt, he had been a member of the Charles Lindbergh Fund - a promoter of environmental technology, and Lighthawk, an environmental aviation association. In 1987, Reeve had led a protest in Chile in defense of 77 actors threatened with execution by dictator Pinochet. He was recognized with several international Human Rights honors. So Reeve's dogged efforts on behalf of people stricken with paralysis, was hardly news to people who knew him personally or for fans who had followed his career since "Superman."

Not letting a little thing like a wheelchair and a ventilator get in the way of his Hollywood career, in 1997, Reeve made his directorial debut with the AIDs drama, "In the Gloaming," (HBO). The next year he starred in ABC's remake of Hitchcock's "Rear Window" (1998) and earned a Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance. Reeve served as an executive producer on the PBS series "Freedom: A History of Us" (2003) and bridged two generations of Supermen when he appeared in a 2003 episode of the WB's "Smallville" (2001- ).

That same year, Reeve became the third person in the United States to undergo a surgical procedure called diaphragm pacing, which allowed him to breathe without a ventilator for hours at a time. He embarked on directing a feature film - the animated baseball tale "Everyone's Hero" (2006). Unfortunately - though no would could know this at the time - neither Reeve nor Dana, who had served as co-producer, would see the project through to it premiere.

Only days after being mentioned by presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry, during a presidential debate in regards to increased stem cell funding, on Oct. 10, 2004, age 52, Christopher Reeve went into cardiac arrest after experiencing an allergic reaction to a medication administered to treat an infection. Dana, who been appearing onstage in California at the time, raced home to be with her husb

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
2.
  In the Gloaming (1997) Director
3.
  Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) 2nd Unit Director (2nd Unit)
4.

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 No (2012)
2.
 Extreme (1999) Narrator
3.
 Rear Window (1998) Jason Kemp
4.
 Step Toward Tomorrow, A (1996) Denny Gabriel
5.
 Above Suspicion (1995) Dempsey
6.
 Village of the Damned (1995) Alan Chaffee
7.
 Black Fox (1995) Alan Johnson
8.
 Black Fox: Good Men and Bad (1995) Alan Johnson
9.
 Black Fox: The Price of Peace (1995) Alan Johnson
10.
 Speechless (1994) Bob Freed
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Princeton, New Jersey
:
Worked at Princeton's McCarter Theater after school in his teens
1968:
Began lengthy recurring association with the Williamstown Theatre in Massachusetts
:
Did national tour of play, "Irregular Verb to Love", opposite Celeste Holm while doing graduate work at Juilliard
:
Lived in England for a time; worked as a stage hand
:
Returned to the United States; played Ben Harper on the CBS daytime serial drama, "Love of Life"
1976:
Broadway debut opposite Katharine Hepburn in "A Matter of Gravity"
1977:
Film acting debut in "Gray Lady Down"
1978:
Gained prominence in film in the title role of "Superman"
1980:
Played the leading role of Ken Talley in the Broadway production of Lanford Wilson's "Fifth of July"
1984:
London debut in "The Aspern Papers", opposite Vanessa Redgrave
1985:
TV-movie debut, "Anna Karenina"
1987:
Screewriting debut "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace"
1990:
Turned down lucrative offer to do cigarette commercials in Japan
1992:
Hosted the second season of the Discovery Channel's compilation documentary TV series, "The Hollywood Stuntmakers"
:
Hosted the Travel Channel's ecology series, "Earth Journeys with Christopher Reeve"
1995:
Paralyzed in a riding accident in May
1995:
Was interviewed by Barbara Walters on ABC newsmagazine "20/20" in September
1995:
First public appearance at The Creative Coalition's annual dinner in October
1996:
Signed by HBO to direct a TV-movie, "In the Gloaming" (aired in April 1997)
1996:
Made public appearance as a presenter at the Academy Awards
1997:
Received star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (April 15)
1998:
First acting role since being paralyzed, a TV remake of "Rear Window"
1999:
Narrated the IMAX extreme sports film "Extreme"
1999:
Wrote first post-paralysis memoir "Still Me," for which he won a Grammy for Spoken Word Album
2000:
Appeared in controversial commerical for biotech company Nuveen airing during the Superbowl which depicted Reeves (via CGI) walking again
2002:
Wrote second memoir "Nothing is Impossible: Reflections on a New Life," a collection of anecdotes and public speeches for which he received a Grammy nomination for Spoken Word Album
2002:
Second interview with Barbara Walters helps ABC win the week's rating race
2003:
Cast as Dr. Swann, a mysterious scientist with information on Clark Kent's origing, on the WB series "Smallville"
2003:
Executive produced the PBS documentary series "Freedom: A History of Us"
2003:
Underwent surgery to have experimental electrodes implanted in his diaphragm, which extended his ability to breathe without a respiriator
2004:
Reprised role as Dr. Swann on the WB series "Smallville"
2004:
Directed the A&E special "The Brooke Ellison Story" based on the real life story of Brooke Ellison, who at age 11 suffered paralysis, but went on to earn her degree from Harvard
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Cornell University: Ithaca , New York -
The Juilliard School: New York , New York -

Notes

Reeve addressed the 1996 Democratic National Convention.

He received an honorary degree from both Boston University's School of Medicine and Juilliard in 1997

Received an honorary degree from Pace University in 1998.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Gae Exton. Former model; agent. Born c. 1951; met in 1977, relationship ended 1987.
wife:
Dana Morosini. Actor; singer. Met on June 30, 1987; announced that they would marry on June 30, 1992, five years to the day that they met; born c. 1960.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Franklin Reeve. Professor. Divorced from Reeve's mother in 1956.
mother:
Barbara Johnson. Journalist. Divorced from Reeve's father in 1956; remarried.
brother:
Benjamin Reeve. Lawyer. Born c. 1953.
half-brother:
Jeff Johnson.
half-brother:
Kevin Johnson.
son:
Matthew Reeve. Born in 1979; mother, Gae Exton.
daughter:
Alexandra Reeve. Born in 1983; mother, Gae Exton.
son:
Will Reeve. Born c. 1992; mother, Dana Morsini.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Man of Steel: The Career and Courage of Christopher Reeve" Signet
"Still Me: A Life" Random House
"Care Packages" Random House
"Nothing Is Impossible"
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

Contributions

Surfer_Girl ( 2006-07-05 )

Source: http://www.chrisreevehomepage.com/biography.html

Christopher Reeve was injured during a cross-country horse jumping event, part of the three-day event he had participated in.

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