Christopher Reeve Essay, Research Paper
What it means to be a Superman
Born on September 25, 1952, native New Yorker Christopher Reeve has lead a life of stardom, coupled with a life of tragedy. Leading a very successful film career, Reeves was on top of the world, until the fifth day of May of nineteen ninety-five. On this day, Reeves life would change forever. However, no tragedy could stop a true Superman.
Attending Princeton day academy Reeves was a success from the beginning. His natural talent and charisma made him a shoe-in for the lead in many school plays. Says Reeves “I never once asked my self, who am I, or what am I doing here…right from the beginning the theater was like a home to me.” At the age of 16, Reeves already had an agent. While touring the country, Chris decided to pursue a college education. And, thanks to an understanding agent was able to continue his work as a professional actor. “Scheduling gigs around my classes.”
By nineteen-seventy-six he was starring with Katherine Hepurn on Broadway, and had become in such demand that he gave up his last year at Julliard. After screen testing for the nineteen seventy-eight movie Superman, he was given the lead role as Clark Kent/Superman. Reeve was an outstanding Superman both on and off the screen. He made Clark Kent/Superman a believable character, says Reeves “somebody you can take home and introduce to your parents”. This part was just like Reeve, A down home good boy with good brains and a great heart.
Reeves went onto appear in a total of 17 feature films, and 12 or so television movies and one hundred and fifty or more plays. With him, it was not about he money. That may be what makes him so great. He turned down many big money roles to play in small films, which of course paid small or no paychecks.
Over the years Reeves has been involved in many charities and causes involving the arts, kids, human rights organizations, and the environment. Amnesty international, Lindbergh Foundation, and people for Creative Coalition, just to name a few. In nineteen eighty-seven Reeve went to Chile to demonstrate in support of some artists with death warrants. For his successful efforts he was awarded a special Obie Award in nineteen eighty-eight. In the years to come, he made several other contributions to other causes, some even involving the United Nations.
On the fifth day of May, nineteen-ninety-five Superman fought his greatest battle of all. The battle for his life. During the cross-country portion of an “eventing” event his horse stopped in its tracks before a jump, throwing Reeve from forward on his head. Incidentally, fracturing the upper-most part of his spinal cord. After hours of grueling surgery, he was stabilized but, unfortunately, left a quadriplegic. This was the true test of his courage. There are few men who can come back from such an experience; Christopher Reeve is one of them.
Showing incredible courage and overcoming the giant risk of embarrassment, Reeve agreed to make appearances at many public and television events. However, that was not the end. He soon joined a team of aides and nurses and traveled across the country speaking at seminars, universities, and many other functions relating to disability issues.
He continued his film career also. He narrated an Emmy award-winning documentary for HBO, and played a small but pivotal role in CBS-TV movie, also taking time to direct another critically acclaimed HBO movie.
Taking much more time out of his daily life to participate in many charities, and other events, Reeve never gave up his battle for life. Having a heartbeat and brain waves is not what makes us alive. Being alive means participating in life. Doing things that make you feel good and make other people feel good. If Christopher Reeve has only done one thing, he has made people feel good about themselves. Displaying such courage and energy along with the state he is in can only encourage other people. If he can continue his life, still reaching for goals, then anybody in this world can do it. Superman was not great because he was indestructible. Superman was great because of his heart, and his courage. Christopher Reeve is not just a Superman on screen. He is a Superman in real-life.