- Christopher Reeve
September 25, 1952 - October 10, 2004
Christopher Reeve was a man that stood out from the crowd, in any film he did, he was most definatly the star of the film.
In 1987 Christopher Reeve and Gae Exton parted unmarried, but keeping joint custody of the two children - not an easy arrangement with the Atlantic Ocean between the two parents. During that summer in Williamstown, Reeve met his soul mate, Dana Morosini, where she was performing in a cabaret. It was love at first sight for Reeve but Dana was not impressed. Her friend, Bonnie Monte, recalled: " 'He's going to be an arrogant, stuck-up movie star idiot, and I don't want anything to do with him,' Dana said. Reeve had to fight for her, and he did. In four months they were living together, and in 1992 they were married and had a son, William "Will" Elliot born on June 7, 1992.
Christopher Reeve approached recreation with the same dedication and intensity that he brought to his professional and advocacy work. Reeve set obstacles for himself and then worked to overcome them. He believed that progress in one's life comes from creating your own challenges and then doing the best you possibly can to succeed. An accomplished pianist, he composed and practiced classical music several hours each day and said in an interview that had he not been an actor, he would have liked to have been a professional musician. But Reeve was also a superb athlete who did his own stunts in films and an avid outdoorsman. He earned his pilot's license in his early twenties and twice flew solo across the Atlantic in a small plane. He also flew gliders and was an expert sailor, scuba diver, and skier. By the 1990's, horses had become his passion. He loved the sport called "eventing" which combined the precision of dressage with the excitement of cross-country and show jumping.
In 1978 he auditioned for a part as Superman, which he succesfully made his own.
After the first two films, he was able to make his own suggestions as to the direction the films should take, so by the fourth and fifth films he wanted Superman to be for the world and not just for the U.S.. As the films progressed he would help to make the nations disarm and world peace was assured (if only :))
In May of 1995, it was during the cross-country portion of such an event in Culpeper, Virginia, that Reeve's Throughbred, Eastern Express, balked at a rail jump, pitching his rider forward. Reeve's hands were tangled in the horse's bridle and he landed head first, fracturing the uppermost vertebrae in his spine. Reeve was instantly paralyzed from the neck down and unable to breathe. Prompt medical attention saved his life and delicate surgery stabilized the shattered C1-C2 vertebrae and literally reattached Reeve's head to his spine. Upon regaining consciousness and realizing the gravity of his situation, Reeve wondered to his wife Dana if "maybe we should just let me go." Whereupon Dana uttered the words that gave him the will to live: "But you're still you and I love you." After 6 months at Kessler Rehabilitation Institute in New Jersey, Reeve returned to his home in Bedford, New York, where Dana had completed major renovations to accomodate his needs and those of his electric wheelchair which he operated by sipping or puffing on a straw. Ironically, this most self-reliant and active of men was now facing life almost completely immobilized and dependent on others for his most basic needs. In addition, his condition put him at constant risk for related illnesses - pneumonia, infections, blood clots, wounds that do not heal, and a dangerous condition involving blood pressure known as autonomic disreflexia - all of which Reeve would experience in the coming years.