Christopher Reeve : Google Doodle Honors Christopher Reeve’s 69th Birthday
Christopher D’Olier Reeve (September 25, 1952 – October 10, 2004) was an American actor, director, and activist, best known for playing the main character and title role in the film Superman (1978) and its three sequels.
Born in New York City and raised in Princeton, New Jersey, Reeve discovered a passion for acting and the theater at the age of nine. He studied at Cornell University and the Juilliard School and made his Broadway debut in 1976. After his acclaimed performances in Superman and Superman II, Reeve declined many roles in action movies, choosing instead to work in small films and plays with more complex characters.
He later appeared in critically successful films such as The Bostonians (1984), Street Smart (1987), and The Remains of the Day (1993), and in the plays Fifth of July on Broadway and The Aspern Papers in London’s West End.
Reeve was born on September 25, 1952, in New York City, the son of Barbara Pitney Lamb, a journalist; and Franklin D’Olier Reeve (1928–2013), a teacher, novelist, poet, and scholar. Many of his ancestors had been in America since the early 17th century, some having been aboard the Mayflower. Other ancestors of Reeve came from the French aristocracy. His paternal grandfather, Colonel Richard Henry Reeve, had been the CEO of Prudential Financial (when it was called Prudential Life Insurance Company) for over 25 years.
Franklin and Barbara divorced in 1956, and she moved with Christopher and his younger brother to Princeton, New Jersey, where they attended Nassau Street School and then Princeton Country Day School, which later merged with Miss Fine’s School for Girls to become the co-educational Princeton Day School. Reeve’s parents both remarried. Reeve excelled academically, athletically, and onstage; he was on the honor roll and played soccer, baseball, tennis, and hockey. The sportsmanship award at Princeton Day School’s invitational hockey tournament was named in Reeve’s honor.
Google Honors Christopher Reeve’s 69th Birthday with Doodle
Today’s Doodle celebrates American actor, director, author, and humanitarian Christopher Reeve, who is best known for his spinal cord research advocacy work alongside his leading role in four “Superman” feature films.
Christopher D’Olier Reeve was born on this day in 1952 in New York City. He graduated from The Juilliard School and made his stage debut in the 1976 Broadway comedy “A Matter of Gravity.” After only two years of acting in soap operas and plays, Reeve auditioned to play the Man of Steel himself in the 1978 “Superman” film, landing the role ahead of 200 other aspiring actors.
His performance as the iconic superhero in the four-part film franchise launched him to international fame, but he refused to be typecast in action roles. To this end, he brought a diverse range of characters to life both in cinema and on stage throughout his career. Outside of acting, he was an enthusiastic equestrian and athlete. In 1995, Reeve was paralyzed from the neck down due to a riding accident; these injuries led him to become an outspoken champion for those with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities across Hollywood, the nation, and the world.
Reeve used his platform to bring increased awareness to topics related to disabilities and dedicated his life to driving positive change for the community. This included sponsoring bills to raise lifetime insurance “caps” to better support people with disabilities and helping pass the 1999 Work Incentives Improvement Act, which secured ongoing insurance payments to people with disabilities even after they return to work. He focused on efforts to directly improve the quality of life for people with disabilities by distributing millions in individual grants through his foundation and serving on the boards of various disability organizations with this aim. Reeve also advocated for support and government funding of responsible stem cell research to further the knowledge and treatment of numerous health conditions, including spinal cord injuries. Calling on Hollywood to draw attention to other important social causes, Reeve led by example with his 1997 directorial debut “In the Gloaming,” a five-time Emmy nominated drama centered around a man diagnosed with HIV.
Today, his legacy is carried on by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, which he founded in 1998.
Happy birthday, Christopher Reeve—who remains a hero to many both on and off the screen!