Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Hero, Christopher Reeve

Yesterday would have been the 60th birthday of actor Christopher Reeve. He was born on September 25, 1952 in New York. Unfortunately, he died on October 10, 2004.

I'm not ashamed to say that I cried when I read his obituary eight years ago. I was never a Superman fan; that wasn't it. It was more what he ended up representing, and how his potential was cut short. 

Although he was permanently branded with an "S" after making four of the films for Warner Bros, he tried (successfully?) to be an actual ACTOR. He was in "Somewhere In Time," one of the ultimate chick-flicks. He was in "Deathtrap" in a role that took his good looks and squeaky-clean image and turned it on its head. He co-starred with Morgan Freeman in "Street Smart" in 1987. He was in "Remains of the Day." He did Broadway and off-Broadway. He had success. And then, of course, in 1995 he fell off his horse badly and landed on his head. He was instantly paralyzed from the neck down. This man, who had been all about action, now faced life with no mobility or feeling in his body whatsoever.

According to his official homepage he initially faced depression (who wouldn't?) but eventually came to grips with his condition. He made speeches and appearances to raise awareness about paralysis. He even acted again, taking over the paralyzed role made famous by James Stewart in "Rear Window," and the enigmatic Dr. Swann on the TV series "SMALLVILLE,"  among others.

In 2004 he was regaining some feeling and the prognoses were good. Then in October his body had a severe reaction to an antibiotic. He went into cardiac arrest, and we lost him. He was 52 years old.

His wife, Dana Reeve, took over the Christopher Reeve Foundation. Unfortunately, just to prove that Life is in fact a Bitch, Dana was diagnosed with cancer at about this time. She died in March, 2006. This woman, who had been Christopher Reeve's ROCK, went to join him. 

I'm listening to John Williams' iconic SUPERMAN THEME as I write this and crying like a baby.

If we could all face adversity with as much class and as much courage as he did, this world would be a much better place. Christopher Reeve was my hero.

Famous quotes attributed to Christopher Reeve: 

Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out in the ocean.

A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.

Happy Birthday, Christopher Reeve

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