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Christopher Reeve

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 disabilities.

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 mother Barbara.

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 my chair."


The most in-depth of more than three dozen sources consulted in preparing this profile, was Christopher Reeve's 1998 autobiography, Still Me.

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