Christopher Reeve was born in New York City on September 25, 1952. He was a great actor, director, writer, producer, and campaigner in the United States. He is well known for his flawless rendition of the D.C. Comics icon “Superman.” With his blue eyes, towering stature, and muscular physique, Reeve portrayed ‘Superman’ with the utmost ease and panache. Reeve, who was born into an affluent family, got bitten by the acting bug at an early age. While attending Cornell University, Reeve began his professional acting career. Soon after making his Broadway debut, he was asked to portray the character Clark Kent/Superman. Apart from the “Superman” series, Reeve demonstrated his acting prowess in films such as “The Remains of the Day” and “Rear Window.” Reeve was a qualified pilot who had flown across the Atlantic Ocean all on his own twice. He was also a strong advocate for several health and social causes. In 1995, he became a quadriplegic due to an accident during an equestrian competition in Culpeper, Virginia. However, he did not allow his physical disability to hinder his acting or advocacy. Christopher Reeve formed the Christopher Reeve Foundation and advocated for spinal cord injuries and embryonic stem cell research.
Christopher Reeve was born in New York City, New York, on September 25, 1952, to Barbara Pitney and Franklin D’Olier Reeve. His mother was a journalist, and his father held positions as a teacher, author, poet, and scholar. He had a younger brother called Benjamin. His parents separated when he was quite young. Reeve and his brother relocated with their mother in 1959 when she got married to Tristam B. Johnson. Reeve went to Princeton Day School. He was academically strong, an accomplished actor, and also exceptionally talented at soccer, baseball, tennis, and hockey. Reeve discovered his interest in acting at the age of nine when he was cast in an amateur production of “The Yeomen of the Guard.” In 1967, he was an apprentice at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. The next year, he was offered a professional position with the “Harvard Summer Repertory Theatre Company.” In 1970, he graduated from Princeton Day School.
After graduating, Reeve performed in Boothbay, Maine. However, he wanted to return to New York City to pursue a career in the theater. Nevertheless, at his mother’s urging, he applied to college and received an offer from Cornell University. At Cornell, Reeve maintained his enthusiasm for drama and theater. He performed in a variety of plays, including “Waiting for Godot,” “Life Is a Dream,” “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” and “The Winter’s Tale.” Stark Hesseltine, a powerful agency, offered to launch Reeve’s acting career and represent him after being impressed by his acting abilities. Reeve found employment in a production of “Forty Carats” through monthly trips to New York City and talks with casting agents and producers. Reeve quickly secured a full-season contract with the San Diego Shakespeare Festival as a result of his artistic talent. Reeve portrayed significant characters in several plays, including “Richard III,” “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” and “Love’s Labour’s Lost.”
After Superman IV had done badly at the box office, he starred in “Switching Channels” which also did not do well, and his career seemed to have reached its lowest point. Reeve believed his cinematic career was over, and he spent the following few years primarily performing in plays. In the late 1980s, Reeve focused his efforts on other endeavors. He took horseback riding lessons, joined many environmental groups, joined government councils, participated in political activities, and so on. Reeve returned to the big screen in 1990 with the Civil War picture “The Rose and the Jackal.” Next, he starred in the iconic film “The Remains of the Day.” The movie was nominated for eight Academy Awards due to its immense popularity. In addition to films, he also appeared in several television programs, including “Bump in the Night.”
Reeve successfully auditions for "A Matter of Gravity" on Broadway.
Reeve plays Superman/Clark Kent for the first time.
He stars in 'Superman III,' the third installment of the Superman franchise.
After a hiatus, Reeve returns to the big screen with the Civil War picture “The Rose and the Jackal.”
“Still Me,” his autobiography, is released.
Why We Love Christopher Reeve
He left the U.S. to immerse himself in alternative cultures
During his final year at college, Reeve took off three months to immerse himself in English and European culture. He spent time in Glasgow and Paris to immerse himself in their theater culture.
He was great friends with Robin Williams
Reeve and Robin Williams became friends while they were both at Juilliard. They were the only two students selected for the Advanced Program at Juilliard.
The first actor to play Superman and Clark Kent
He was the first actor in the history of the "Superman" franchise to play both Clark Kent and Superman in several live-action films before 2013.
5 Surprising Facts
A Foundation and a Research Center
He established both the Christopher Reeve Foundation and the Reeve-Irvine Research Center.
Only actor in a Superman series
Reeve is the first and only actor to play Superman in more than three films based on a D.C. Comics character.
He won numerous awards for acting
In 1997 he won an Emmy Award; the Screen Actors Guild Award in 1998; a Grammy award in 1991, and 2003, the Lasker Award.
The youngest actor ever cast as Superman
When he portrayed Superman for the first time in Richard Donner's 1978 film "Superman," he was just 24 years old, making him the youngest actor ever to play the role.
He portrayed a titular hero
He holds the distinction of having played a title hero more frequently than any other actor in American history.
Christopher Reeve FAQs
How did Christopher Reeve become a quadriplegic?
He fractured his neck on May 27, 1995, when he was thrown from a horse in Culpeper, Virginia, during an equestrian competition. The incident rendered him paralyzed from the shoulders down, and he was confined to a wheelchair and ventilator for the remainder of his life.
How old was Christopher Reeve when he passed away?
He was 52 when he suffered a heart attack and passed away in October 2004.
Could Christopher Reeve communicate after his accident?
With the breathing tube in his throat, Reeve had difficulty speaking. In the beginning, he could only whisper but with time his voice got stronger.
Christopher Reeve’s birthday dates