American Tribute to Vaclav Havel and a Celebration of Democracy in Czechoslovakia 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)
For a world filled with comic book fans, Christopher Reeve had for years been the definitive Superman. For thousands suffering with paralysis and spinal cord injuries, in one tragic moment, he morphed suddenly from an actor perfectly cast onscreen, to a real-life personal inspiration and a champion of medical research and healthcare reform. Standing six-foot-four and sporting a jaw as square as his illustrated predecessor, the then-unknown Reeve became an overnight success when he was cast in "Superman: The Movie" (1978) - most notable for his evenhanded portrait of both the character's sensitive vulnerability and commanding power in the face of injustice - all the while, wearing tights and a cape. Despite playing such an iconic role, he resisted typecasting in the wake of the film series' success, sticking close to his original love of live theater when Hollywood failed to deliver worthy scripts. When he did appear onscreen, he held out for parts in such films as the Academy Award-winning period classic "The Remains of the Day" (1993), the Sidney Lumet thriller "Deathtrap" (1982) and, in his most beloved non-Superman role, the romantic period piece, "Somewhere in Time" (1980). But all the Hollywood razzle-dazzle evaporated in a single instance, when in 1995, the world learned that the man who had epitomized "superhero," was rendered completely paralyzed by an equestrian accident. Although Reeve never regained physical movement and would ultimately lose his life to his handicap, his efforts as a tireless advocate for medical research into spinal cord injuries and his brave battle to regain a quality of life for himself and his family, proved more heroic than any character he could ever have portrayed onscreen.