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Christopher Reeve was an award-winning American
actor best-known for 1978's Superman.
He later went on to even greater fame as a powerful
spokesman for spinal cord research and advocate for
the disabled, after he was paralyzed from the neck
down in a horseback riding accident during a 1995
equestrian competition. Confined to a wheelchair,
Reeve became a vocal supporter of controversial
embryonic stem cell research and founded the
Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, which provides
grants to researchers, and also offers millions of
dollars each year to assist individuals living with
Biographical fast facts
Date, time and place of birth: September 25, 1952,
at 3:12 a.m.*, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Date, time, place and cause of death: October 10, 2004,
at 5:30 p.m., Northern Westchester Hospital, Mount Kisco,
New York, U.S.A. (Heart failure, the result of a serious
systemic infection from a pressure wound)
Spouse: Dana Charles Morosini (m. April 11, 1992 - October 10, 2004) (his death)
Wedding took place at Field Farm, South Williamstown, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Sons: Matthew Exton Reeve (b. December 20, 1979,
Welbeck Hospital, London, England)
William Elliot Reeve (b. June 7, 1992, North Adams
Regional Hospital, North Adams, Massachusetts)
Daughter: Alexandra Exton Reeve (b. December 1983,
Welbeck Hospital, London, England)
Note: His two older children, Alexandra and Matthew,
are from an earlier relationship with Gae Exton,
while Will Reeve is his son with wife Dana.
Father: Franklin D. Reeve (a novelist/professor/Russian literature
scholar) (b. September 18, 1928, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Mother: Barbara Pitney Lamb (a journalist)
Remains: He was cremated and his ashes
were scattered by his family.
Error corrections or clarifications
* 3:12 a.m. is the time Chris personally
reported as his precise time of birth.
NOTE: A couple of sources have erroneously
reported Chris was born in Princeton, New
Jersey. It wasn't until Chris was 4, that
his parents divorced, and he and his brother
moved to Princeton, New Jersey, with their
Selected Credits - Hobbies/sidelines
Christopher Reeve's film credits include,
Gray Lady Down (1978), Superman (1978),
and its three sequels, Superman II (1980), Superman III
(1983), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987),
as well as Somewhere in Time (1980), Deathtrap
(1982), Monsignor (1982), The Bostonians (1984),
The Aviator (1985), Street Smart (1987),
Switching Channels (1988), Noises Off... (1992),
The Remains of the Day (1993), Speechless (1994),
Above Suspicion (1995), and John Carpenter's Village of the Damned (1995).
His television credits include, Smallville,
The Practice, Tales from the Crypt, Road to Avonlea,
Carol & Company, Saturday Night Live,
Black Fox, The Sea Wolf, Mortal Sins,
Death Dreams, Bump in the Night, The Rose and the Jackal,
The Great Escape II: The Untold Story, Anna Karenina,
Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre, and he portrayed
Ben Harper on the television soap opera Love of Life (1974-1976).
His stage credits include, As You Like It,
The Aspern Papers, The Cherry Orchard,
Death Takes a Holiday, The Devil's Disciple,
Fifth of July, Finian's Rainbow, The Firebugs,
The Front Page, Galileo, The Greeks,
The Guardsman, John Brown's Body, Love Letters,
Love's Labour's Lost, The Marriage of Figaro,
A Matter of Gravity, The Merry Wives of Windsor,
The Music Man, My Life, The Plow and the Stars,
Richard III, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,
The Royal Family, South Pacific, Summer And Smoke,
Troilus and Cressida, Waiting for Godot,
The Way of the World, and A Winter's Tale.
His adventurous spirit led him to get his pilot's
license in his early 20s. He twice flew solo across
the Atlantic, was an expert sailor, scuba diver,
skier, and an accomplished horseman.
Quotes - In his own words
"When I was a kid my great heroes were
Harry Houdini and Charles Lindbergh."
"At school I was one of the few kids who were
successful in both academics and sports. Often
you're in one camp or the other, but I was on
the honor roll and I could play soccer, baseball,
tennis, and hockey."
"I think Superman II may be the best of the series . . ."
"The less said about Superman IV the better."
"I came to believe that marriage was merely a
set of obligations undertaken under false pretenses.
It wasn't until I met Dana and knew I was falling
seriously in love with her that all that changed."
On his hobbies:
"I was a good sailor, having raced or cruised
in all kinds of sailboats from the age of seven.
I had flown various airplanes for over twenty
years and made two solo trips across the Atlantic . . ."
"I enjoyed scuba diving, played tennis, and was
a skier as well."
"When I was about thirteen I started learning
the guitar and soon joined a rock band, called,
for some inexplicable reason, The Remnants."
"One of my greatest pleasures was sailing long
distances by myself aboard the Sea Angel."
On his horseback riding accident:
". . . I have no memory of what occurred."
"Head first, six feet, four inches and 215 pounds
of me straight down on the rail. Within seconds I
was paralyzed and not breathing."
"I just happened to hit the rail at an angle
that turned me into a C-2 vent-dependent quadriplegic."
"In all aspects of my life I enjoyed being in
control, which is why my accident was a devastating
shock not only to me but to everyone who knew me."
Following the accident:
"The doctors had explained my condition, and
now I understood how serious it was. This was
not a C5-C6, which means you're in a wheelchair
but you can use your arms and breathe on your
own. C1-C2 is about as bad as it gets. Why not
die and save everyone a lot of trouble?"
"I realized: I can't drift away from this. It
wouldn't be fair to my family. I don't want
to leave. This realization, following what
Dana had said, ended my thoughts of suicide."
(His wife had said, "I am only going to say
this once: I will support whatever you want
to do, because this is your life, and your
decision. But I want you to know that I'll be
with you for the long haul, no matter what.
You're still you. And I love you.")
"Often I listen to music or watch TV so I don't
have to think about being taken care of like a baby."
"The longer you sit in a wheelchair, the more
the body breaks down and the harder you have
to fight against it."
"By January 1997 I was able to breathe off the
vent for up to ninety minutes. I longed for
independence from that machine on the back of
The most in-depth of more than three dozen
sources consulted in preparing this profile,
was Christopher Reeve's 1998 autobiography,
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This page was last updated January 1, 2012. |