Actor Christopher Reeve became popular when he began starring in Superman movies and starred in a total of four. Due to a tragic horse-riding accident in 1995, Reeve died of heart failure on October 10, 2004, at the age of 52.
He was born on September 25, 1952, in New York City. After graduation from Cornell University and the Julliard School, he made his Broadway debut in “A Matter of Gravity” with Katherine Hepburn. It was his luck to be selected for the role of Superman from more than 200 other willing actors in 1978. Even though Superman brought him fame after four movies he looked for a change of role not wanting to be typecast. Afterwards, Reeve took on stage and screen roles and among his credits are “Somewhere in Time”, “Deathtrap”, “The Remains of the Day” and “Village of the Damned”.
Reeve was a great athlete and avid horseman so it was a real tragedy when on May 27, 1995, he was thrown from his horse. He broke his neck during an equestrian competition and wound up being paralyzed from the neck down. Not one to feel sorry for himself he became a crusader for people with spinal cord injuries and also lobbied for government funding for embryonic stem-cell research. Reeve also wrote two books about his life experiences and continued his acting career.
He made his directorial debut with “In the Gloaming” on HBO. In 1999 he starred in a remake of the classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller “Rear Window”. He also directed A&E’s “The Brooke Ellison Story” which is a movie based on a true story about the first quadriplegic to graduate from Harvard University. Never one to give up Reeve continued an intensive physical therapy regime and managed to move his index finger by 2000. He was so encouraged that he hoped one day to be able to walk again.
Therefore it was tragic that an infection brought on complications and after receiving an antibiotic, he fell into a coma and died after taken to the hospital. His wife was head of the Christopher Reeve Foundation. More tragedy struck when his wife Dana Reeve was diagnosed with lung cancer and joined her husband in the afterlife in 2006 at the age of 44. They are survived by their three children. Two of them Matthew and Alexandra now serve on the board of directors for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.