Christopher Reeve’s Legacy: He Made Playing A Superhero Respectable

Superfan Karl Heitmueller wrote this great article on October 11, 2004, the day after Christopher Reeve passed away.

“When the horn rims and blue suit came off to reveal the Superman uniform underneath, everything fell into place. But unlike the actors portraying superheroes before him, Reeve played Superman with something that had previously been lacking: humility.”

Read the entire article here.

Christopher Reeve – Hero and Icon

“It was an ongoing theme for Chris before his accident that he wanted to make a real difference in the world, leave a legacy. He wanted to leave the world a better place for his having lived in it. There is no question that he achieved that goal. And happily, he became well aware of the fact that he was leaving a legacy, that his life did have an impact on the betterment of the world. This sense of accomplishment was one of the tremendous gifts he was given.”

Dana Reeve, October 29, 2004.

Christopher Reeve passed away on October 10, 2004. In the many months following, I was very touched by the many letters and art I received from fans who were deeply affected by Chris, his life, and his amazing quest to find a cure for paralysis. I welcome you and others you know to send me more letters and art for this tribute section. I have already received some new art and a letter today and yesterday. All new letters will be posted on the first “Letters” page under Michael Caine’s quote.

Click here to read the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation article, “Remembering Christopher 5 years later”. .

Click here to see the Christopher Reeve Tribute Gallery.

Click here for information about Christopher Reeve Books, Blu-rays and DVDs.

Thoughts About Christopher Reeve

I miss my friend Christopher Reeve. It is difficult to believe that this world has been without him now for an entire decade. His spirit is very strong, and his tremendously powerful and positive impact on the world is forever.

Chris is my Hero, my Inspiration and the Symbol of Hope in my blessed life. He has taught me a whole new meaning of Family, Strength, Determination and a Positive Attitude. I am reminded each day when I look at the photo of Chris and me of how fortunate I am to be able to get out of bed and make each day count.

How fortunate I was to have met and known Chris. I followed his life’s work, watched every TV and theatrical movie he was in, and bought every photo, magazine, newspaper and clipping I could find about him. I never imagined in 1978 as a 17-year-old young man that someone like Chris would come along and make such a significant and positive impact on my life…and that it would stay with me all of the years following. Chris was the big brother I never had…a true role model in every sense of the word.

Like so many other fans, I stuck with Chris through thick and thin because I knew he was a straight arrow, a doer, a teacher, a perfectionist, a giver, a gentleman, and a devoted husband and father. His “failure is not an option” and hopeful attitude, even when the odds were stacked against him, I often emulated. He believed in himself, and in others who also had goals, dreams and focus.

All of us wanted so much for Chris to walk with his family again, but, now he is free from his wheelchair to do more incredible things in the spirit world for everyone. My wife, Sallie, feels Chris is possibly an Archangel, a highly evolved Angel; and that he is with his family and continuing his mission. I know he and Dana will be closely watching and guiding his young son, Will, for the rest of Will’s life. Sallie also said that Chris is definitely a Lightbearer. Indeed. He is a unique and unstoppable Force in the Universe who will live on infinitely in our hearts. Many people in the world will walk again and live more fulfilling lives because of Chris’ efforts and Guiding Light…and what a bright light it is.

Dana, Will, Matthew and Alexandra are a testament to selfless devotion and support to their husband and father. They are rare and special people whom I admire so much.

Nothing I write about Chris will ever say enough about my admiration for him. He is truly Someone To Believe In. I will remember him forever.

Thank you friends, family and fans for the hundreds of e-mails and telephone calls about Chris in 2004.

Goodbye Dana Reeve

7 March 2006 — We have lost yet another Shining Spirit and Symbol of Hope…Dana Reeve. Dana leaves her loving family in this physical world, and has reunited with her true love, Christopher Reeve, in the spirit world. Together, I know they will send loving energy and protective white light to their children each and every day to help guide them through their own wonderful journey of life.

Actor Robin Williams, a close friend of both the Reeves, laments, “The brightest light has gone out. We will forever celebrate her loving spirit.”

Actress Jane Seymour, who co-starred with Christopher in 1980 movie Somewhere in Time, says, “She showed us all the true power of love. (She was) an unflinching optimist, who never let anything get her down, and if she did she never showed us.”

“It is impossible to overstate the goodness of this beautiful young woman, and the challenge to faith that is involved in trying to understand her death. Every minute of her life for the past decade and more has been spent doing everything she could for other people. Even the moments she took for herself, to sing, were about giving us joy. Chris was my friend; I only got to know Dana later. But I came to see her as perhaps the most extraordinary person I’d ever met. Her radiance as a woman was fueled by her love. Her love was immeasurable and generously, tirelessly given. We will miss her so, so much.” — Meryl Streep

“Dana Reeve had a fierce grace. Under pressure, she embraced her personal struggles with dignity and humor. And always with the focus on the greater good. She filled her life with a love as clear and unflinching as her beautiful voice. Dana made the world a better place and we all shall miss her song terribly.” — Susan Sarandon

Former President Bill Clinton and his wife Senator Hillary Clinton add, “Despite the adversity that she faced, Dana bravely met these challenges and was always an extremely devoted wife, mother and advocate.”

Invitation to Chris’ Memorial Service

I was deeply honored with an invitation to Christopher’s memorial service at Julliard in New York City on Friday, October 29, 2004.

Dana’s Thoughts at Chris’ Memorial Service

Superfan Bill Williams sent me this exerpt from People magazine, dated November 15, 2004, of some of Dana Reeve’s thoughts from Chris’ memorial service at Julliard.

“Chris frequently expressed that he wanted any memorial tribute for him to be a celebration of his life. And we will try to honor that today, I know, but I don’t think he realized at the time just how much he would be missed – how difficult it would be to feel celebratory when all we really want is to have him back. We didn’t get him here on Earth for long enough. But he had a powerful, mystical energy that I know I have felt since his passing, and I have a hunch that here today, in this theater filled with people he cared about, we’ll conjure up some of his amazing, beautiful spirit.

“A sharp wit, a great mind, genuine artistry and, as Will mentioned, a generous capacity to love were Chris’ salvation in the last, most challenging decade of his life. He got through every day calling upon these abundant inner resources and through the grace and steadfast commitment of those around him. You have never met a group of more dedicated people than the people who worked with Chris. His nurses, aides, doctors and personal assistants were also his dear and beloved friends. This blessed army, this family, made it possible for Chris to spend every day accomplishing what he wanted to accomplish with hopefulness and dignity. And they did it with great cheer and ironclad loyalty. Each and every one of them contributed a piece of their heart and soul to Chris’ daily life. There will never be a way to adequately thank them.

“Chris’ life was too short. He had much he still wanted to accomplish, his children had much they still wanted to learn from him, and although he would not have chosen to live life with a disability, he and I often spoke of the hidden gifts and precious life lessons learned by living with his disability’s daily challenges. The last 9 1/2 years had many, many moments of genuine pleasure and joy and laughter – moments uncompromised by his disability and, in some ways, even enhanced by it. Our life was a life lived with deep meaning and love, and I wish – as I know Chris did – that that life, complete with the challenges of living it, could have gone on for a much longer time. Over the past several years, Chris really came to feel at peace with his situation, and he was able to feel genuine gratitude for the insights and special appreciation for life’s gifts that his disability brought him.

“It was an ongoing theme for Chris before his accident that he wanted to make a real difference in the world, leave a legacy. He wanted to leave the world a better place for his having lived in it. There is no question that he achieved that goal. And happily, he became well aware of the fact that he was leaving a legacy, that his life did have an impact on the betterment of the world. This sense of accomplishment was one of the tremendous gifts he was given.”

And from his publicist Wes Combs:

“(They) spoke of a man who had every reason to feel sorry for himself but never let it stand in the way…. Will was exposed to many things children his age don’t have to think about, like the mortality of his own father…. Once you saw the impact that Chris had, you couldn’t help but ask, ‘Am I doing enough for others?’ People came in with heavy hearts. But they left uplifted.”

Thank You Card from Dana

On 19 January 2005, my family and I received a lovely thank you card from Dana Reeve and her family. How thoughtful of them to take the time to write to us. Thank you to the Reeve family…we will always remember your husband and father with love and inspiration.

Letter from Jo Addie of INSITE

I thank you for thinking of me and writing me this week. It has been a very shocking, sad and tragic time. I know we all feel the same feelings, and it’s nice that we can share them together, and comfort one another.

Dana’s loss is a profound one. She was just as the public saw her….bright, sparkling, warm and genuine through-and-through, always looking to brighten everyone else’s day. There was no “on-view persona” with Dana, she was the real deal. (She perfectly matched Chris in all his treasured qualities.) She was a rare and precious person.

I have been very moved by the world’s outpouring of grief over Dana. The media gave her what is usually reserved only for dignitaries, which goes to show how deeply her life touched people. The media have reported that emails have flooded news agencies, comparable to when Mother Theresa passed. We don’t often think of the many levels on which Dana inspired others, but this week we are realizing how she put a face to the trials and quiet dignity of those who care for seriously ill loved ones. Her death rippled through hospital and hospice corridors as well as private homes. Her dignity and grace amidst incredible challenges will remain a role model for all.

An INSITE member sent me a recording of Rush Limbaugh who talked this week about his meeting Dana some years back at a function. He had been seated next to her. All evening long, people kept coming up to Dana, saying how they admired her, and how so many people would have “bolted” from the situation with Chris. Dana seemed continually puzzled and embarrassed by the attention. When Rush expressed his own same sentiment, on her sacrifices of her own career, her reply was, “There haven’t been any sacrifices, I love this man.”

She had a heart so big, that she was able to fit in everyone else who has had to cope with disability. She is credited with creating the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center, a first-time place to acquire information and sources for improved day-to-day living. (By the way, the President has cut the funding for the budget that fed $6,000,000 to this facility.)

I hope you have seen the Message Board posted to the SIT Website, on Tuesday. I was unable to answer your emails until now, and I do hope you will take a look and maybe add something to the board.

We all are agonizing over this development and ache for Will. I ask that you keep him continually in your prayers, for the skills to cope with his incredible losses. He is a wonderful kid and is the product of two magnificently positive people, so I have little doubt he will be okay. Yet, we can do more than just hurt for him and hope for the best….we can also pray that the media leave him alone, and let him stay out of the public spotlight.

Again, I appreciate your sensitive comments, and your gestures of friendship.

Yours in time,

Jo Addie
INSITE President/Editor

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8 years ago

Você sempre foi é será meu Herói.

Michael Hernandez
10 years ago

I met Christopher Reeve, when he was doing the movie “Street Smart” with Morgan Freeman, they were doing a scene in a restaurant, I just finished work from the SYEP (Summer Youth Employment Program) in New York in Harlem, when I saw a bunch of people, I went to a man sitting in a truck and asked him what was going on? He said a movie was in progress in the restaurant, and that Christopher Reeve was in there. When I heard, I had to see him. I was a big fan, of course, of the Superman movies.

The crowd was getting bigger, mostly with children like myself waiting to see the Man of Steel; he came storming out with Morgan Freeman and went to a car with cameras mounted on the hood and drove around the block and came back. When he exited, as the scene ended, he was swamped with people running up to him, I have seen nothing like it, after everyone touched him, he then made his way to his trailer; this in my mind was my opportunity!

I followed him to his trailer behind him, I was about 20 feet behind him, he slowly walked to his trailer where they were all parked, then he came across his and walked up a small stoop and went it, one problem in front of the trailer was a guard; I asked him if Mr. Reeve was coming out and he said that he was just changing for another scene. When that door opened and he stepped out, I was met with my idol my childhood hero, he walked down the stoop, and remembered looking up at him I thought I would break my neck, and quietly asked him if I could have his autograph. Of course, he said yes and wrote it on my notebook, which I proudly have to this day!

Then, this bum sleeping near him woke up, and ask Mr. Reeve for his autograph also, and handed him his liquor bottle in a paper bag to sign. Mr. Reeve obliged and did it without hesitation, then handed it back to the bum. Then the bum looked at the autograph on the side of the paper bag holding the liquor bottle, shrugged his shoulders confused, quickly drank the last remaining drops of it and threw it in the garbage and walked away! Then Mr. Reeve let out a loud laughter, threw his head back, and slapped his thigh, walked back to where I saw him originally to film another scene.

I tell this story all the time where ever I go; to break the ice with women and how I met my childhood idol Christopher “Superman” Reeve!

11 years ago

Mr. Reeve was an idol and an inspiration to everybody because hes effor and talent.