Actor Christopher Reeve, star of four SUPERMAN films and real life hero after becoming paralyzed from the neck down, died Oct. 10, 2004, in Bedford, New York, from heart failure at the age of 52.
The great-looking lead of four SUPERMAN films, THE BOSTONIANS, SOMEWHERE IN TIME and THE REMAINS OF THE DAY became a quadriplegic, confined to a wheelchair when he broke his neck and injured his spinal cord when he was thrown from a horse in an equestrian event in 1995.
He then took up the cause of the disabled, portraying them in film and television, and raised more than $40 million to spinal cord and stem cell research. He had even begun to make miraculous progress in overcoming the debilitating effects of his paralysis.
His latest project was to take him into the realm of animation as a director of an original feature length animated film, described as an urban fable set in the 1930s, for IDT Ent. Reeve was to oversee the entire production process, from character development, casting and set design through animation, lighting, texturing and post-production.
Upon the news of his untimely death, the production company issued the following statement, IDT Entertainment joins the world in mourning the loss of Christopher Reeve, a great American hero.
We were privileged to be working with Chris on what has now become his final theatrical feature project. YANKEE IRVING the working title of the film - was very close to his heart, following the story of a boy who overcomes personal obstacles to realize his large dreams. Chris was the director of the movie, an animated urban fable, which is planned to be released in 2006.
Christopher Reeve was a great American who led by example and taught the world that obstacles in life are meant to be overcome. He was an inspiration to all of us at IDT Entertainment and everyone who worked with him He will be sorely missed.
Reeve was born Sept. 25, 1952, in New York City, and grew up in Princeton, N.J. He began acting at the age of 15 in the apprentice program of the Williamstown Theater Festival. After training at Cornell and Juilliard (where he roomed with Robin Williams), he debuted on Broadway in Enid Bagnold's A MATTER OF GRAVITY with Katharine Hepburn in 1976.
One of his last roles was in the HBOs ABOVE SUSPICION, in which Reeve played a detective confined to a wheelchair after a bullet pierced his spinal cord.
He is survived by his wife, singer/actress Dana Morosini; their son, Will; and two children, Matthew and Alexandra, by ad exec Gae Exton; his mother, Barbara Johnson; his father, Franklin Reeve; and a brother, Benjamin Reeve.