View Full Version : Christopher Reeves Dead at 52

October 11th, 2004, 05:36 AM
Some very sad news today:

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. (AP) -- Actor Christopher Reeve, who soared through the air and leapt tall buildings as "Superman," turned personal tragedy into a public crusade, becoming the nation's most recognizable spokesman for spinal cord research - from a wheelchair. Reeve went into cardiac arrest Saturday while at his Pound Ridge home, then fell into a coma and died Sunday at a hospital surrounded by his family, his publicist said. He was 52.

His advocacy for stem cell research helped it emerge as a major campaign issue between President Bush and his Democratic opponent, John Kerry. His name was even mentioned by Kerry during the second presidential debate Friday evening.

Reeve, left paralyzed from the neck down after a riding accident and who pushed for funding to help others like himself, was hospitalized the following day. In the last week Reeve had developed a serious systemic infection from a pressure wound, a common complication for people living with paralysis.

Dana Reeve, Christopher's wife, thanked her husband's personal staff of nurses and aides, "as well as the millions of fans from around the world who have supported and loved my husband over the years."

Reeve's life changed completely after he broke his neck in May 1995 when he was thrown from his horse during an equestrian competition in Culpeper, Va.

Enduring months of therapy to allow him to breathe for longer and longer periods without a respirator, Reeve emerged to lobby Congress for better insurance protection against catastrophic injury and to move an Academy Award audience to tears with a call for more films about social issues.

"Hollywood needs to do more," he said in the March 1996 Oscar awards appearance. "Let's continue to take risks. Let's tackle the issues. In many ways our film community can do it better than anyone else. There is no challenge, artistic or otherwise, that we can't meet."

He returned to directing, and even returned to acting in a 1998 production of "Rear Window," a modern update of the Hitchcock thriller about a man in a wheelchair who becomes convinced a neighbor has been murdered. Reeve won a Screen Actors Guild award for best actor.

"I was worried that only acting with my voice and my face, I might not be able to communicate effectively enough to tell the story," Reeve said. "But I was surprised to find that if I really concentrated, and just let the thoughts happen, that they would read on my face. With so many close-ups, I knew that my every thought would count."

In 2000, Reeve was able to move his index finger, and a specialized workout regimen made his legs and arms stronger. He also regained sensation in other parts of his body. He vowed to walk again.

"I refuse to allow a disability to determine how I live my life. I don't mean to be reckless, but setting a goal that seems a bit daunting actually is very helpful toward recovery," Reeve said.

Before the accident, his athletic, 6-foot-4-inch frame and love of adventure made him a natural, if largely unknown, choice for the title role in the first "Superman" movie in 1978. He insisted on performing his own stunts.

Although he reprised the role three times, Reeve often worried about being typecast as an action hero.

Though he owed his fame to it, Reeve made a concerted effort to, as he often put it, "escape the cape." He played an embittered, crippled Vietnam veteran in the 1980 Broadway play "Fifth of July," a lovestruck time-traveler in the 1980 movie "Somewhere in Time," and an aspiring playwright in the 1982 suspense thriller "Deathtrap."

More recent films included John Carpenter's "Village of the Damned," and the HBO movies "Above Suspicion" and "In the Gloaming," which he directed. Among his other film credits are "The Remains of the Day," "The Aviator," and "Morning Glory."

Reeve was born Sept. 25, 1952, in New York City, son of a novelist and a newspaper reporter. About the age of 10, he made his first stage appearance - in Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Yeoman of the Guard" at McCarter Theater in Princeton, N.J.

After graduating from Cornell University in 1974, he landed a part as coldhearted bigamist Ben Harper on the television soap opera "Love of Life." He also performed frequently on stage, winning his first Broadway role as the grandson of a character played by Katharine Hepburn in "A Matter of Gravity."

Reeve's first movie role was a minor one in the submarine disaster movie "Gray Lady Down," released in 1978. "Superman" soon followed. Reeve was selected for the title role from among about 200 aspirants.

Active in many sports, Reeve owned several horses and competed in equestrian events regularly. Witnesses to the 1995 accident said Reeve's horse had cleared two of 15 fences during the jumping event and stopped abruptly at the third, flinging the actor headlong to the ground. Doctors said he fractured the top two vertebrae in his neck and damaged his spinal cord.

While filming "Superman" in London, Reeve met modeling agency co-founder Gae Exton, and the two began a relationship that lasted several years. The couple had two sons, but were never wed.

Reeve later married Dana Morosini; they had one son, Will, 11. Reeve also is survived by his mother, Barbara Johnson; his father, Franklin Reeve; his brother, Benjamin Reeve; and his two children from his relationship with Exton, Matthew, 25, and Alexandra, 21.

No plans for a funeral were immediately announced.

A few months after the accident, he told interviewer Barbara Walters that he considered suicide in the first dark days after he was injured. But he quickly overcame such thoughts when he saw his children.

"I could see how much they needed me and wanted me... and how lucky we all are and that my brain is on straight."



October 11th, 2004, 06:33 AM

We will get to see him one final time. He's going to be on an upcoming Smallville episode, I think it will air in November.

October 11th, 2004, 06:51 AM
That's sad.

Last week it was Rodney Dangerfield, and now Christopher Reeve...

October 11th, 2004, 07:00 AM
omg, thats so sad. I thought he was the one man who would eventually get out of a wheelchair, from something that disasterous, guessed wrong.

Rest In Peace.

October 11th, 2004, 07:09 AM
It said that he actually managed to feel his other limbs. That's more than when he started, and i would guess that if he had continued living, he woudl have eventually made it.

October 11th, 2004, 07:33 AM
He was also starting to breathe on his own more and more.


October 11th, 2004, 07:36 AM
Oh no. That's so sad. And, unexpected.

October 11th, 2004, 07:40 AM
I actually heard this at like 5:30 am. Unexpected? Nah. He was in bad shape. :(

October 11th, 2004, 08:04 AM
It was unexpected to me. I hadn't even heard he was in a coma. Reading it here was the first I even knew anything was wrong (aside from the paralysis, of course)

October 11th, 2004, 09:04 AM
When did he fall into a coma?

Tok'Ra Hostess
October 11th, 2004, 09:10 AM
omg, thats so sad. I thought he was the one man who would eventually get out of a wheelchair, from something that disasterous, guessed wrong.

Rest In Peace.

Yes, it is sad, but his efforts to stand will mean others will walk, eventually.

His courage reminds me of Terry Fox, a Canadian teen who lost a leg to cancer. TF decided to raise awareness and money for cancer research by running across Canada. He only made it halfway across before succumbing to his cancer, but he started something that just won't die out, now. They say we've made such strides in cancer research as a direct result of TF's campaign that if he were alive and diagnosed with the same cancer today, he'd survive it.

CR has done, and will continue to do the same for spinal cord injury and stem cell research. Mr. Reeves, you will be missed. You were truly a super man.

October 11th, 2004, 09:36 AM
:( So sad. he did the best he could with abad hand. And I know if he lived, he would have eventually walked again.

October 11th, 2004, 12:21 PM
Well it was suddan. He was at so event last Tuesday and looked good, he lost his hair through, but otherwise he was his happy upbeat self.

We had an infection, then something about a haert attack and then a coma. It all happened really quickly this weekend. :(

And what I heard on MSNBC the life expecticy of someone with what he had was 7 years, he lived 9 because he was a fighter.

Major Fischer
October 11th, 2004, 12:50 PM
I think that's the best thing that could be said about him. He was a fighter.

October 11th, 2004, 01:17 PM
I think that's the best thing that could be said about him. He was a fighter.
I agree that he was a fighter.

My prayers to the family through this time of sorrow.

Sarcazmo The Clown
October 12th, 2004, 01:12 PM
This is all so sad... He was so close to being able to walk again.
Superman's always been a favorite hero of mine, and I think Christopher Reeve was an even bigger one. Especially after his accident.
I thought he'd make it and was SO happy every time the new would come on and he'd be on it cuz it was always good news....
I'm glad he's out of pain now, walkin' around (make that flying around) heaven. Rest In Peace, Super Man.

October 12th, 2004, 05:09 PM
This makes me very sad, because I always thought he'd be able to walk again one day :(

October 12th, 2004, 06:41 PM
It's so sad, it seems like we're losing another round of the "greats" like we did two summers ago. But as cheesy as it may sound, he wasn't just a great actor, he was a great guy. I really thought that he would be able to walk again, if he only had a little bit more time I bet he would have... :(

Major Fischer
October 12th, 2004, 06:47 PM
I think that what his best legacy is, may be that someday someone will walk again after that kind of injury, because of the work he did towards it, and the awareness he raised of it.

He had more of an impact in these last years, than I think he ever would have had as just a simple actor.

October 12th, 2004, 07:28 PM
He was a great man all the way around, and will be missed. My condolences to his family and the rest of his fans.

October 13th, 2004, 01:54 PM
My math teacher was jogging in Florida several years ago and there was something going on, so my teacher stopped to see what was going on. This joger comes up to him and asks him whats going on, and they talk for a few minutes. The joger has to go and jogs away. There was this older man sitting on a bench near by and he went "Super Man!!!" My teacher was confused, but then he relized the nice stranger he was talking to was Christopher Reeve.