Christopher Reeve was an American actor, film director, producer, screenwriter, author, activist and equestrian. He achieved stardom for his acting achievements, in particular. He is best known for his motion picture portrayal of the classic DC comic book superhero Superman, beginning with the acclaimed Superman, for which he won a BAFTA Award.
1. His full name was Christopher D’Olier Reeve.
2. He was born on September 25, 1952.
3. He was founder of the Christopher Reeve Foundation and co-founder of the Reeve-Irvine Research Center.
4. Reeve is the first and only actor to star in a DC Comics title character as Superman in more than three films.
5. He was the first actor to play the role of Superman to have been born after the character was created in 1938.
6. He is also the youngest actor ever to be cast as Superman as he was only 24 years old when he first starred as the character in the Richard Donner’s 1978 movie “Superman.”
7. Honoring his contributions to the Arts and Entertainment industry, he was posthumously inducted into the 2012 New Jersey Hall of Fame.
8. He was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on April 15, 1997.
9. He won a Grammy Award in the “Best Spoken Word Album” category for his autobiography “Still Me” which was a best seller.
10. At the 68th Annual Academy Awards in 1996, he received a two-minute standing ovation, while introducing a film montage recognizing how Hollywood has tackled social issues.
11. He has the honor of playing a titular hero more times than any other actor in the American history.
12. Till 2011, he held the record of being cast as the same comic book character more times than any other actor, which he lost to Huge Jackman, who starred as Marvel Comics hero Wolverine in five movies.
13. Until 2013, he was the only actor in the history of “Superman” franchise to play both the roles of Clark Kent and Superman in more than one live-action film.
14. However, in 2013, it was announced that Henry Cavill will reprise the role for the 2016 movie “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
15. He was honored with the Grand Cross of the Bernardo O’Higgins Order, the highest Chilean distinction for foreigners
16. At 6 ft 4 in, he was the tallest of the nine actors who have played the DC comics character of Superman in movies and television.
17. His father, Franklin D’Olier “F.D.” Reeve was a teacher, novelist, poet and scholar and his mother, Barbara Pitney, a journalist.
18. He has a younger sibling Benjamin Reeve.
19. His great-grandfather, Franklin D’Olier, was a prominent businessman, veteran of World War I, and the first national commander of the American Legion.
20. Reeve’s mother was the granddaughter of Mahlon Pitney, a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, and a descendant of William Bradford, a Mayflower passenger.
21. While his schooling days at Princeton Country Day, Reeve was on the honor roll as he distinguished himself by excelling academically, athletically and onstage. The school’s Sportsmanship Award is named after him.
22. It was in the year 1962, when he was nine years old, that he found his passion for acting, as he played his first role in the students play “The Yeomen of the Guard.”
23. Around 6 years later, he joined as an apprentice at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
24. His performance in a scene from “A View from the Bridge,” was praised by actress Olympia Dukakis who said “I’m surprised. You’ve got a lot of talent. Don’t mess it up.”
25. Following several plays, his first debut role in Hollywood was a minor part as a submarine officer in a 1978 movie “Gray Lady Down.”
26. In 1973, approximately 2000 students auditioned for 20 places in the freshman class at Juilliard School. Reeve’s audition was in front of 10 faculty members. Reeve and Robin Williams were the only students who made it through the audition.
27. The director and producers of the movie were in fact searching for the actor since 1975 before finalizing Reeve for the role of Superman, just 35 days before the filming of the movie was due to begin. More than 200 actors auditioned for the role.
28. In preparation for his role in the movie “Superman,” he had to undergo an intense bodybuilding regime supervised by David Prowse, who played Darth Vader in the original “Star Wars” trilogy, for two months. He doubled his food intake and adopted a high protein diet for his role.
29. Later, in an interview, he said that he based his portrayal of Clark Kent on Cary Grant’s character in the 1938 movie “Bringing Up Baby.”
30. He refused to wear fake muscles under the suit and continuously worked out during the entire shooting of the movie “Superman”.
31. Reeve underwent a strict physical training session for months once he landed the role, going from 170 pounds to 212 pounds in the period from pre-production to filming.
32. His performance in the movie “The Bostonians,” was praised by Katharine Hepburn, who was leading lady in the Hollywood for more than 60 years. She called Reeve and told that he was “absolutely marvelous” and “captivating” in the film.
33. For a specific period of time during the principal photography for the movie “The Bostonians,” he lived on his much cherished sail-boat “Chandelle.”
34. He considers his 1985 movie “The Aviator,” to be the first of his few failure movies which knocked him off the A-list in Hollywood. He had mentioned in his biography that after those movies, he had to read or audition for major roles for the rest of his career.
35. Though he is famous for the portrayal of the comic book character Superman, he was never a fan of any comics. He took the role of Clark Kent and Superman, because the dual persona offered a suitable challenge.
36. His fourth movie as Superman “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace,” was a box office bomb, and the lowest-grossing Superman film to date. He publicly regretted his involvement in the movie and he believed the film’s failure to be a huge blow to his career.
37. Reeve accepted the offer to star in “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace,” only when the studio agreed to finance his project “Street Smart” (1987), which he considers as one of his failure movies.
38. Ironically, the last character he played in his entire career, before the accident was as a paralyzed individual in the 1995 “Above Suspicion.”
39. He was offered the lead role in the 1995 movie “Kidnapped,” which was planned to be shot in Ireland. However, he lost his chance to Armand Assante due to his accident.
40. He and his wife Dana opened a center, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center, devoted to teaching paralyzed people to live more independently.
41. It was in in Short Hills, New Jersey.
42. For the first few days after the accident, Reeve suffered from delirium, woke up sporadically and would mouth words to Dana such as “Get the gun” and “They’re after us.”
43. Reeve considered suicide and mouthed to his wife, “Maybe we should let me go.” She tearfully replied, “I am only going to say this once: I will support whatever you want to do because this is your life, and your decision. But I want you to know that I’ll be with you for the long haul, no matter what. You’re still you. And I love you.” Reeve never considered euthanasia as an option again.
44. Reeve suffered from asthma and allergies since childhood.
45. In early October 2004, he was being treated for an infected pressure ulcer that was causing sepsis, a complication he had experienced many times before.
46. He died on October 10, 2004, at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, New York.
47. At the time of his death, he had regained partial movement in his fingers and toes, and said he could feel a pin prick anywhere on his body as well as differentiate hot and cold temperatures.
48. The memorial service for Reeve was held at the Unitarian Church in Westport, Connecticut.
49. His widow, Dana Reeve, headed the Christopher Reeve Foundation after his death.
50. She was diagnosed with lung cancer on August 9, 2005 and died, aged 44, on March 6, 2006.