The Life of Christopher Reeve

Christopher Reeve was a classically trained actor who is best remembered as starring as Superman in a series of hit movies. However, due to a horse riding accident, Reeve spent the later part of his life as an advocate for the disabled and pushed for developments in stem cell research.

Christopher Reeve was born on September 25, 1952 in New York City. At the age of nine, Reeve was bitten by the acting bug when he performed in the first of many school plays. At the age of fifteen, Reeve worked as an apprentice for a summer at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. This led him on his career path as an actor.

Reeve then went on to study acting at Cornell University, then to the famed Julliard School in New York City. During those early years, Reeve learned the craft of acting both on stage and behind the scenes. It was during those years that Reeve started to meet other young actors who were also looking to start careers in acting. After Julliard Reeve began to get small roles in movies such as Grey Lady Down as well as acting in some plays.

However, his first big break came in 1979 when he was cast as the new Superman. This was the first of four movies where he put on the cape and played the “Man of Steel.” In addition to the Superman series, Reeve was cast in 1979 in the time travel romance “Somewhere in Time”. Reeve also acted in several other movies including “The Bostonians”, “Deathtrap” and “Noises Off”. Reeve displayed a wide range of acting skills from comedy to drama to action.

On May 27, 1995, the life of Christopher Reeve took a dramatic and tragic turn. Reeve had been involved in horse riding and in an event in Virginia he was thrown from his horse and the impact of the landing on his head and neck caused paralysis. Upon arrival at the hospital it was determined that the injury would cause Reeve to be a quadriplegic for life.

After his physical recovery from the accident and his status stabilized, he was faced with the prospect of living the remainder of his life confined to a wheelchair. This became difficult for the actor which had been used to being an active outdoorsman. Once he overcame the psychological trauma of the accident he began to become an advocate and spokesperson for the disabled.

Christopher Reeve and his wife Dana became proponents of stem cell research as a way to help regain function for the wheelchair bound. They founded the Christopher Reeve Foundation which led in the research and development for the disabled.

Due to complications from the fall, the remainder of Reeve’s life was plagued with medical conditions. These issues contributed to his death on October 10, 2004 due to cardiac arrest.

The life of Christopher Reeve will be remembered forever as one of outstanding acting ability, physical strength and determination as a result of his accident. The life of Reeve will be remembered in the work of his foundation which will carry on the hopes and ideals of Christopher Reeve.