As a kid, I've always loved this simply superb character whom I regarded to be the King of celluloid. I must confess, that there was indeed a time not very long ago, when I refused to believe that Superman was nothing more than a product etched out of a creative mind portrayed purely for thrill and entertainment.
My fascination for this Krypton Character who landed up in Smallville began at a time when satellite television had not gained a fast pace in our lives. Had someone mentioned the name of Christopher Reeve then, I would have almost certainly dismissed it as being someone from the forgotten pages of overloaded history. It did not matter then, if I knew the name of that macho guy who flew around in blue and red overalls.
I still recall the sometimes (mostly) ugly squabbles I had in front of the Television yearning to be part of the privileged 30 minute airtime which belonged to Superman. Probably my ideology to uphold the truth in my own manner and right could well be credited to this screen icon, who I would learn years later, existed merely in print and film.
When the news of Reeve's freak accident in an equestrian competition came in 1995, I was not sure how I wanted to react. But from then on, I would rarely miss an article that featured Christopher Reeve. His marathon effort to champion the cause of the physically disabled has certainly been one of true merit and unsurpassed dedication. Today we relate to the names of Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, HealthExtras, The Creative Coalition and The National Organization on Disability because of this luminous personality.
It is indeed tough to come to terms with the fact that a man who made action portrayal a mission of his life had to be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Even difficult is to comprehend how this man who suffered so much could move the world for a cause, a very good cause that is.
Not long after his disability, he was asked to be part of the honorary jury of the Academy Awards where he moved an entire audience to tears and I couldn't help shed a tear or two even though the context of his words remain unclear to me this very day.
On October 9, 2004 after attending a game of hockey participated by his Son, he slipped into coma. The end came on October 10th when he succumbed to cardiac arrest.
While America and the rest of the world would remember him as an actor par excellence, and a social reformer at best, I'd like to see him as someone who possessed in him a superhuman quality of human excellence.
Christopher Reeve is indeed an exemplary model of how one person can make a difference. He is a legend not merely for his remarkable portrayal of a Kryptonic character who never existed, but because he did what could never be done at a time when merely a thought of doing it was impossible. As he too leaves this planet, I find myself in the crowd, as one who cannot help but think of this remarkable childhood inspiration that was so much a part of my life.
I'm gonna miss him a great deal. The world is terribly short of superb people.
Little wonder they called him Superman!!!
Originally written on October 12, 2004 on Oblivion Redefined
All those Superman fans out there, do visit Caped Wonder for a stellar collection of Superman imagery.
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation