48. Christopher Reeve: A Real-Life Superman

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"Look up in the sky! It's a bird; it's a plane. No. It's Superman!" This is one of the most iconic lines in television history. It signaled the beginning of a new episode of The Adventures of Superman. The 1960s show is just one in a series of shows, plays, movies, and comic books that depict the "Man of Steel." The most iconic actor portraying Superman was Christopher Reeve. Reeve starred in four movies during the late 1970s and 80s.

In the 1978 movie classic Superman, Reeve was cast as the legendary American hero based largely on his physical attributes, although he was an accomplished actor. Reeve had the classic Superman look. He was 6'4" tall, weighed 215 lbs., with a square jaw, and other manly features that made him perfect for the role. The film won critical acclaim, and multiple awards, including a "Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects." One of the selling points for the movie was that the special effects were so good that audience would believe that a man can fly after seeing this film.

Reeve went on to star in three sequels to the original movie, and had a very solid acting career in several movies after that. Tragically, Reeve and his family were hit with a devastating blow on May 27, 1995. Reeve was riding his horse through a steeplechase course jumping over obstacles. His horse suddenly stopped, throwing Reeve to the ground. Reeve suffered shattered vertebrae, and instantly lost the use of his arms and legs.

Reeve refused to give up. He spent the rest of his years advocating for spinal cord injury advancement in treatment and technology. He used his celebrity status to help the cause, but sadly, Reeve died at the age of 52 in 2004 due to complications from his injuries. He will always be remembered to his fans as the Man of Steel though.

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