Kirk Alyn became the first actor to give life to the comic book character, Clark Kent in Superman in 1948. However, at the time, screen portrayals of superheroes weren’t seen as the most lucrative projects and were more closely associated with the comedy genre than action.
A lot of actors picked up the seemingly hilarious costume after Alyn, but it was Christopher Reeve, who really made the red cape appear cool among the wider audience. Perhaps the most famous Kal-El of all time, Reeve, first appeared as the superhero in 1978’s Superman. The sci-fi action movie, which was the most expensive film made up to that point – swept up the box office after its release.
Reeve reprised his role in three more Superman installments and showed a glimpse of the potential of the genre that Marvel and DC Studios are realizing nowadays. A tragedy hit the action hero in the 90s, but he continued his penchant for making a difference one way or another.
How Christopher Reeve Remained a Superhero Off-Camera
In 1995, Christopher Reeve broke his neck when he was thrown from a horse during an equestrian competition. The injury paralyzed him from the shoulders down. However, the on-screen Superman didn’t let the tragic incident stop him, picking up the fight against issues disabled individuals face.
After his accident, Reeve helped raise funds for the American Paralysis Association (APA), which was later renamed the Christopher Reeve Foundation. Through his foundation, he continued to help many people and in an interview in 1998, underlined the importance of doing the right thing despite facing hurdles. He told Ability Magazine:
“Who knows why an accident happens? The key is what you do afterward. There is a period of shock and then grieving with confusion and loss. After that, you have two choices. One is to stare out the window and gradually disintegrate. And the other is to mobilize and use all your resources, whatever they may be, to do something positive. That is the road I have taken.”
Reeve sadly passed away in 2004, but his vision was carried forward by his wife, Dana Reeve. However, she died 17 months later, of lung cancer. In 2007, the Foundation announced that it had changed its name to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation on the first anniversary of her death. Years later, the foundation found itself embroiled in a legal battle.
Why Christopher Reeve Foundation Was Sued by Their Former Vice President
Bruce Morgan, who served as vice president of government relations at the CDRF, was sacked in 2009. This led to him suing the organization under the claim that he wasn’t given proper notice about his situation. As per the lawsuit, employees at the foundation were told there were going to be layoffs due to it facing a loss of $2.3 million that year. A month after the announcement, he was fired to cut costs.
Morgan claimed that despite playing a key role in the passage of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act, he didn’t receive any pay for January, February, and March of 2009. His complaints supposedly weren’t addressed properly and Morgan ended up being “discharged without any notice whatsoever” in April of that same year.
Accordingly, for a clear breach of his contract, Morgan sought out his lost wages, as well as “unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, costs, and fees.” This added a cloud of uncertainty over the foundation which was already losing a lot of money.
However, the CDRF is still making a difference, as Reeve’s children, Matthew, Alexandra, and William, have all continued to work to promote and push for research on spinal cord injuries.