Christopher D’Olier Reeve was an American actor, film director, producer, screenwriter and author. He achieved stardom for his acting achievements, including his notable motion picture portrayal of the superhero Superman.
On May 27, 1995, Reeve became a quadriplegic after being thrown from a horse in an equestrian competition in Virginia. He required a wheelchair and breathing apparatus for the rest of his life. He lobbied on behalf of people with spinal cord injuries, and for human embryonic stem cell research afterward. He founded the Christopher Reeve Foundation and co-founded the Reeve-Irvine Research Center.
Reeve married Dana Morosini in April 1992, and they had a son, William, born that June. Reeve had two children, Matthew and Alexandra, from his previous relationship with his longtime girlfriend, Gae Exton.
Reeve was born in New York City on September 25, 1952, the son of Barbara Pitney, a journalist, and Franklin D’Olier Reeve, who was a teacher, novelist, poet and scholar. His paternal grandfather, Colonel Richard Henry Reeve, had been the CEO of Prudential Financial for over twenty-five years, and his great-grandfather, Franklin D’Olier, was a prominent businessman, veteran of The Great War, and the first national commander of the American Legion. Reeve’s father was also descended from a sister of statesman Elias Boudinot, as well as from Massachusetts governors Thomas Dudley and John Winthrop, Pennsylvania deputy governor Thomas Lloyd, and Henry Baldwin, a US Supreme Court Justice. Reeve’s mother was the granddaughter of Mahlon Pitney, another US Supreme Court Justice, and was also a descendant of William Bradford, a Mayflower passenger.