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Why Was Christopher Reeve in a Wheelchair? Inside the Tragic Life of the Actor

Titi Dokubo
May 18, 2022
01:10 P.M.
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The late "Superman" actor Christopher Reeve spent a decade of his life in a wheelchair after coming into the limelight at 24. Here is a look at the tragic life of the actor.


Christopher Reeve was born on September 25, 1952. He studied at New York's Julliard School and Cornell University before pursuing a career in acting, which started with the Broadway play "A Matter of Gravity."

The best-selling author of "Still Me" was a qualified pilot, scuba diver, skier, pianist, sailor, and accomplished equestrian, who turned down many roles before his death.

Christopher Reeve circa 1990 | Source: Getty Images


Christopher was married to Dana, an actress, and producer who was known for "Loving," "Oz," and "Everyone's Hero." Their only child, Will, was born on June 7, 1992.

On May 17, 2022, Will received the inaugural Experience Camps Champion for Children Award, which honors leaders in creating a more "grief smart" culture. The camp focuses on children who will have experienced the death of a sibling or parent by the time they reach 18.

Will lost his father when he was only 12, and his mother passed away barely two years later. Ten years before Christopher died, he used a wheelchair to get around. Here are the details of what happened to him.


Christopher and Dana Reeve at the 13th Annual A Magical Evening Gala by The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation on November 24, 2003 | Source: Getty Images


Christopher's troubles started on May 27, 1995, in an equestrian competition where he fell off his horse and injured his spinal cord. The accident changed the actor's life forever.


The fall left him paralyzed from his neck down and confined him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Christopher was only 42 and had no hope of recovery as doctors told him it was "impossible" to regain movement.

Christopher Reeve at an interview on April 16, 1997 | Source: Getty Images


Even though it was a difficult period for his family, Dana supported him and gave him hope. Her support inspired the title of his memoir "Still Me," which was published in 1998 and was a New York Times bestseller for eleven weeks.

Sadly, the actor passed away almost ten years after the incident on October 10, 2004. He died from heart failure at 52 and was a leading advocate for spinal cord research.

Christopher Reeve circa 1978 | Source: Getty Images



When Christopher died, he left behind his wife and three children. While he had one child, Will, with Dana, he had two other children — Matthew Exton Reeve and Alexandra Exton Reeve — from a previous relationship with model Gae Exton.

Not much is known about Matthew and Alexandra. On the other hand, Will is all grown up and is a talented reporter for "Good Morning America." After his parents passed away, he was raised by family friends in Westchester, New York.

Will Reeve on "Good Morning America" set on August 21, 2019 | Source: Getty Images


Will said his parents defined him, and he started a journalism career as a sports reporter. He also dabbled in acting when his parents were alive. He is known for "In the Gloaming," "The Brooke Ellison Story," and "Everyone's Hero."

He is also a philanthropist, serving on the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation board, which his parents founded in 1982.

The foundation promotes a better quality of living for people who have paralysis and spinal cord injuries. His involvement with the foundation was natural as he saw his father live with a spinal cord injury.


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