Christopher Reeve’s Son Was Orphaned After Losing Both His Parents Within 17 Months

Lamb. He grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, where he discovered his passion for acting and theater when he was just 9 years old after being cast in an amateur version of the operetta “The Yeomen of the Guard” at his school. This interest became stronger when he was 15 years old after he spent a summer as an apprentice at Williamstown Theatre Festival.

After finding moderate success in theater and a stint on the soap opera “Love of Life” after his college graduation in 1974, Christopher was told to audition for an upcoming big-budget film: “Superman.” He easily bagged this role, and it went on to become his most iconic portrayal throughout his career.

It isn’t easy always being pigeonholed into one single role, and Christopher took it upon himself to show his audience that he was more than a superman.

However, no one could have foreseen the accident that would completely turn Christopher and his family’s life upside down. On May 27, 1995, Christopher was involved in an equestrian accident that broke his neck, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. Christopher passed away in 2004 at the young age of 52 from an infection that spread from a bedsore, according to People. His wife, Dana Reeve, headed the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation — which seeks to research treatments and cures for spinal cord injuries — until her untimely death in 2006 due to lung cancer at the age of 44.

This left their only son together, William Reeve, without parents.

Dana Reeve, Christopher Reeve (1998), (Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images)

After both Dana and Christopher passed away, People reported that Will went to live with a childhood friend. Even though Will had two older half-siblings, Dana wanted their son to remain in the community in which he had grown up, and she made arrangements for him to stay there after she passed away. Even though Will lost both of his parents within 17 months of each other, he keeps their memory alive by continuing the work with their foundation even today.

Will has stayed out of the Hollywood spotlight, choosing not to follow in his father’s footsteps. But in recent years, he has been working on his education and starting to build a career in the sports news arena. Recently, however, he made a public appearance that brought him back into the spotlight.

On Nov. 16, 2017, Will made an appearance at the annual fundraising gala for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. Dressed to kill, Will looked much like his dad. He posed on the red carpet along with Matthew and Alexandra Reeve Givens, his older half-siblings.

“I think his legacy is never going to go away and think that is a responsibility that I feel, to carry his and my mother’s legacy on for the rest of my life and hopefully beyond that,” Will told People about his work with the foundation. “I think that the foundation is one way, one tangible way, that his legacy and my mom’s legacy will always live on. And I think the way that I, and my siblings, live our lives is another way. And I think that his impact is felt by the millions of lives that he touched.”

Will, Christopher Reeve (1995), (Evan Agostini/Liaison)

Throughout his acting career, Christopher had worked hard to prove that he had an eclectic range, as he didn’t want to fit into just one category. While he had already found fame and success in the late 1970s, he opted for a simpler career afterward, choosing instead to work in small films and plays. That way, he could prove just how capable he was of taking on more complex roles and characters.

However, there’s no denying that many people first fell in love with Christopher from his rule as Superman in the films “Superman” in 1978 and “Superman II” in 1980. And while many fans continued to see Christopher as Superman for the rest of his life as he dealt with hardships, his son, Will, also saw his father as a hero.

Back in March 2018, Will wrote a piece for the Daily Mail, where he described what it was like growing up and seeing Christopher endure several hardships. Will wasn’t even 3 years old at the time of his father’s accident, so he mostly knew his father as someone who was paralyzed. Will wrote:

“My father was Superman. He also starred in some movies, wearing a cape and tights, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. But, that’s not why he was Superman to me. To millions around the world, he was Superman for the way he fought tirelessly to discover cures for spinal cord injuries after sustaining one himself by falling off a horse in 1995 and dedicating his life to achieving his dream of a world of empty wheelchairs.”

Will added: “No, to me, my father was Superman because he was my hero: Dad.”

Even though Will had two famous parents, he reiterated that he had a normal upbringing. About his parents, he told People, “They were the people who told me to turn off the TV, to eat my broccoli, to go to bed.” He was only 3 years old when Christopher had his accident, but he stated that his dad’s role as a father came first before anything else.

“The fact that he was paralyzed did present its own set of challenges because we couldn’t be spontaneous,” Will said. “That could be difficult, but my parents did such a good job of staying true to their values that I never felt deprived of a normal childhood, even though my experiences, at face value, were inherently different from other children my age.”

Along with his half-siblings, Will continues to honor their father’s memory and legacy by simply “living life.”

The foundation also continues to try and find a cure for spinal cord injuries and provide care for patients who are affected by paralysis. “I understand how important their story is to so many people, and, of course, it’s important to me and my family,” added Will.

“My dad was obsessed with finding a cure for spinal cord injury so that he might walk again; he truly believed that he would. That is what sustained him,” Will said in 2016. However, for Will, like so many other kids, he has one aim: “I hope I make my parents proud. I try to do that every day and like to think they would be.”

Will Reeve (2016), (Bryan Bedder/Getty Image/The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation)

What do you think of Will Reeve and how he’s overcome adversity? Let us know — and be sure to pass this story on to others.

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