Mark (mhaithaca) wrote,

"I want him to walk again."

Just two days after John Kerry spoke glowingly of his friend Chris Reeve, who "exercises every single day to keep those muscles alive for the day when he believes he can walk again," the spinal injury research advocate, actor, and Cornell alum died yesterday. It's going to be hard for me to put my thoughts into words, but I'm glad several of you have expressed your own. I really appreciate the way jccohen put it, saying that few of the celebrities we idolize are really the heroes we make them out to be, but "Chris Reeve was one of them."

The local connection was only occasionally relevant to me; he's spoken at Cornell and was interviewed on WVBR. But I was still a kid when he became Superman. He "played" Superman, he acted a role... but for generations, even those old enough to have seen George Reeves or Kirk Alyn put on the primary colours first, he was Superman. "Deathtrap" and "Somewhere in Time" have also always been among my favourite movies, but they never stopped him from being the incredibly expressive actor who could take off the glasses and still be Clark Kent, but simply stand up a little straighter and tighten his jaw, and suddenly be Superman.

His return to acting has been a huge inspiration for anyone who's ever been told "You can't," or "Not any more." His role in the 1998 remake of "Rear Window" was perfect for him; he was already in the wheelchair. But his appearances on "Smallville" meant a lot more to me. Not only was he symbolically passing the torch to the next Superman generation and those who'll follow, but he was an active participant, making much more than the cameo appearance Alyn had in the 1978 movie. His appearances after each "Smallville" episode with Tom Welling, a brief explanation of his last decade's efforts, and a plea for support, were especially strong and effective because he has put a face on paralysis.

It's going to be a while before traffic to these web sites calms down; none of them is accessible right now. But please think about taking a moment, when you have a chance, to join me and the many others who've made a donation toward spinal injury research because Christopher Reeve asked us to. He might have walked again. Someone else will.

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