The Dramatic Fight Of a Fallen Superman In Disgrace

"I am here to fight for truth and justice." The 1978 Superman furrowed the skies wielding that and other phrases that have made history. But its protagonist, Christopher Reeve, could not fight against some last years of life in which the misfortune was baited with him. He died on October 10, 2004, now 25 years ago, because of a heart attack. That was the end of a complicated road, the final blow after a series of health problems that led him to be in a wheelchair for nine years after falling off a horse.

The accident took place on May 27, 1995. Reeve participated in an obstacle jump contest in Culpeper (Virginia). Upon overcoming one of them, the actor's horse fell headlong, causing a fall that fractured two cervical vertebrae. Immediately after, he was operated urgently. After saving his life, the doctors told him that he would never move again. Over time, and thanks to a superhuman effort, more typical of a comic book hero than of a normal man, he could only regain mobility in several fingers of his left hand.

Christopher Reeve in a wheelchair. (Cordon Press)


The image of Reeve with assisted breathing, prostrate in a wheelchair, moved everyone for almost a decade. It was usual to see him giving interviews or attending charity galas. Gone is his heroic image as the 'Superman' of Richard Donner, the film that launched him to fame worldwide in 1978. By that time, he had already debuted in the theater and in the cinema with 'Red Alert: Sunken Neptune '. From the Warner movie, released at a time when superheroes were not common, it became a national symbol of the 'proud american'. And that would be for most of the 80s.

Image from the 1978 Superman movie.

Married and with two children, he was always known for his solidarity work, due to causes that sometimes had nothing to do with his state of health. Before suffering the accident, he had been the founder of Creative Coalition, a homeless assistance group. Once he remained quadriplegic, he multiplied efforts to create the Christopher Reeve Foundation for Paralysis, dedicated to the investigation of treatments to cure spinal injuries. He was also decorated, already in 2004, with the Order Bernardo O'Higgins for his defense of Chilean actors during the military regime.

Although for years films like 'What is left of the day' (or the countless sequels of 'Superman') had made him a star full of attractiveness, a superman who liked both boys and girls, his human quality came to light after the accident It was then that he put all his effort into not being knocked down, to return to the screen with a new version of 'The indiscreet window' or even to try to direct with the TV movie 'The story of Brooke Ellison', which told the story of a Young quadriplegic.

Years after his death and several supermen later, Reeve remains the ultimate American hero. Also proof that Hollywood fantasy always prevails over harsh reality. The image of the red cape and the blue mesh suit prevails, today, above that man who tried to outdo himself from a wheelchair.