Actor and activist Christopher Reeve (1952-2004) was born on this day in New York City and was a hero with the strength to persevere. A near-fatal 1995 horse riding accident left him paralyzed from the neck down and confined to a wheelchair, but the former Superman star remained strong and optimistic.
"Your body is not who you are. The mind and spirit transcend the body," he said.
Determined to walk again, he worked hard on rehabilitation. By 2004, Reeve had regained sensation in 70% of his body, had moved one of his fingers, and, in water, his arms and legs.
He kept creatively active, too--as a director, writer, and actor. "You can do anything you think you can," said the actor who started out studying drama at Julliard and rooming with comedian Robin Williams.
An accomplished pilot and classical pianist, Reeve won the role of Superman (1978) over 200 hopefuls. His other film credits included: Somewhere in Time (1980), Deathtrap (1983), Street Smart (1987), and The Remains of the Day (1993).
As Chairman of the Board of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation (CRPF), he continued to lobby for pioneering research and possible cures for the more than 250,000 Americans living with spinal cord injuries.
"Either you vegetate and look out a window, or activate and try to effect change," Reeve courageously explained.
"When John Kennedy promised by the end of the 1960s we would put a man on the moon, everybody, including the scientists, shook their heads in dismay. But we did it. We can cure spinal cord injuries, too if there’s the will. What was possible in outer space is possible in inner space."
"Never give up hope..."
Chris REEVE Tributes
Find the strength to persevere and endure obstacles.