When the first Superman movie came out I was frequently asked What is a hero? I remember the glib response I repeated so many times. My answer was that a hero is someone who commits a courageous action without considering the consequences—a soldier who crawls out of a foxhole to drag an injured buddy to safety. And I also meant individuals who are slightly larger than life: Houdini and Lindbergh, John Wayne, JFK, and Joe DiMaggio. Now my definition is completely different. I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles: a fifteen-year-old boy who landed on his head while wrestling with his brother, leaving him barely able to swallow or speak; Travis Roy, paralyzed in the first thirty seconds of a hockey game in his freshman year at college. These are real heroes, and so are the families and friends who have stood by them.
The whole world held its breath when Christopher Reeve struggled for life on Memorial Day, 1995. On the third jump of a riding competition, Reeve was thrown headfirst from his horse in an accident that broke his neck and left him unable to move or breathe.
In the years since then, Reeve has not only survived, but has fought for himself, for his family, and for the hundreds of thousands of people with spinal cord injuries in the United States and around the world. And he has written Still Me, the heartbreaking, funny, courageous, and hopeful story of his life.
Chris describes his early success on Broadway opposite the legendary Katherine Hepburn, the adventure of filming Superman on the streets of New York, and how the movie made him a star. He continued to move regularly between film acting and theater work in New York, Los Angeles, and at the WIlliamstown Theatre Festival in the Berkshires. Reunited with his Bostonians director, James Ivory, in 1992, he traveled to England to work with Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins in The Remains of the Day.
The Man who cannot move has not stopped moving. He has established a charitable foundation to raise awareness and money for research on spinal cord injuries. His work as director of the HBO film In the Gloaming earned him an Emmy nomination, one of five that the film received. His speeches at the Democratic National Convention and the Academy Awards inspired people around the country and the world. He has testified before Congress on behalf of health insurance legislation, lobbied for increased federal funding for spinal cord research, and developed a working relationship with President Clinton.
With dignity and sensitivity, he describes the journey he has made—physically, emotionally, spiritually. He explores his complex relationship with his parents, his efforts to remain a devoted husband and father, and his continuing and heroic battle to rebuild his life.
This is the determined, passionate story of one man, a gifted actor and star, and how he and his family came to grips with the kind of devastating, unexplainable shock that fate can bring to any of us. Chris and Dana Reeve have gathered the will and the spirit to create a new life, one responsive and engaged and focused on the future.
From the Hardcover edition.