Past News Reports - 2006
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- February 14, 2006: Wayne Klug, a pyschology professor at Berkshire Community College has won three Telly Awards for his 15 minute documentary The Last Wild Place about the fight over the 1,062-acre swath of land southeast of Mount Greylock. Klug's film took top honors in the political commentary and nature/wildlife divisions, and was a finalist for writing. The documentary was started in 1999 and Klug hired Christopher Reeve to narrate. Klug told the Berkshire Eagle: "I knew it was important for the film to have a celebrity connected to it. He was my No. 1 choice. It was intimidating to direct Superman, though." Klug also chose Reeve because he was a staunch environmentalist, a member of the Hoosic River Watershed Association and the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation locally. The narrative script was written by Klug and edited by Reeve as he narated. Klug describes working with Reeve: "He was not happy with many of the takes he recorded. He was a perfectionist." When Reeve misspoke during one take, calling a type of Greylock bird a "ruffled grouse," Klug corrected him, saying it was a "ruffed grouse." Reeve replied, 'Well, their feathers are ruffled, aren't they?'He was a very witty guy." The documentary was completed shortly before Reeve died in October 2004. Klug said,"I had sent him some copies just a few months before he died," Klug said. "And I never heard from him. I thought about calling his wife, but I don't want to bother her."
- March 6, 2006: Dana Reeve, the singer-actress who married the strapping star of the "Superman" movies and then devoted herself to his care and his cause after he was paralyzed, has died of lung cancer, a year-and-a-half after her husband. She was 44.
Although Reeve had announced her cancer diagnosis in August to an outpouring of sympathy and support from admirers around the world her death seemed sudden. As recently as Jan. 12, she looked healthy and happy as she belted out Carole King's "Now and Forever" at a packed Madison Square Garden during a ceremony honoring hockey star Mark Messier, a friend.
"Unfortunately, that's what happens with this awful disease," said Maggie Goldberg of the Christopher Reeve Foundation, where Dana Reeve had succeeded her husband as chair. "You feel good, you're responding and then the downturn."
Reeve, who lived in Pound Ridge, died Monday night at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Medical Center in Manhattan, said foundation president Kathy Lewis.
Officials would not discuss Reeve's treatment or say when she entered the hospital. But Lewis said she visited her there on Friday, when Reeve was "tired but with her typical sense of humor and smile, always trying to make other people feel good, her characteristic personality."
"The brightest light has gone out," said comedian Robin Williams. "We will forever celebrate her loving spirit."
Dana leaves behind 13-year-old son, Will; two grown stepchildren, Matthew and Alexandra; her father, Charles Morosini; and two sisters.
Goldberg said Will was "in the loving care of family and friends" and that his mother had arranged for his future.
No plans for a funeral have been announced.
- March 18, 2006: According to reports in People and The National Enquirer, Dana and Christopher Reeve made arrangements for their son, Will, to remain in his familiar surroundings of Bedford, NY, after their deaths. He will stay with the family of one of his close friends and that arrangement will not change after he starts ninth grade at a new school in the fall. This will let Will, a talented hockey player, continue to play on his hometown team. The boy will also be surrounded by the love of his family. His half-brother, Matthew, 26, a London filmmaker, and half-sister, Alexandra, 22, a law student, both have close relationships with Will.
- April 10, 2006: Nearly a thousand friends and family members gathered at the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York City to celebrate the life of Dana Reeve in a private memorial service. Her son, Will Reeve, appeared arm in arm with his half siblings - Alexandra and Matthew - outside the theatre before the service and assured reporters he "was doing good." Will's classmates were present as were many celebrites from stage, screen, sports, and politics. They included Barbara Walters, Robin Williams, Glenn Close, Katie Couric, Lance Armstrong, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Blythe Danner, Joe Torre, Robert Kennedy, Jr, and Norah Jones, who sang during the tribute. CNN anchorwoman Paula Zahn, a longtime friend, said that Reeve "had so many cruel blows yet never gave in to pity... She had a positive impact on everyone and everything she touched." Hillary Rodham Clinton said after the service: "She had a light within her that was captured by the way people talked about her today, especially her son and stepchildren. She was one of the most exceptional people I have ever known." Many left the two-hour memorial teary-eyed. "I was glad to be here," Matthew Broderick said. "It was beautiful but very, very sad." On his website, Dr. Wise Young, a prominent spinal cord injury researcher and friend of the Reeve family, wrote that the tribute "was very moving and difficult to bear." He said: "the hardest part was seeing the pictures of Dana with her singing in the background and Will's brave speech that really did me in. Person after person got up and talked about Dana's impish sense of humor that kicked in even during the worst of moments. Susan Sarandon described how a few days before her death, Dana had a good day and decided to order a take-out sandwich from a local deli from her hospital bed, with tubes sticking out from all over her, laughing as she tried to get the person on the phone to make the sandwich just right. Will talked about his father's version of his courtship of Dana and her version, drawing laughter from the audience. He is so much like Dana that it hurts. He was comforting the audience in its darkest moments while he is the one who has lost the most."
- June 29, 2006: In Braden Keil's Gimme Shelter weekly gossip column in the New York Post he reported that the Westchester County home in Pound Ridge, New York of Christopher and Dana Reeve has just gone on the market. The three-level, 16-room mansion on just more than 3 private acres in Pound Ridge has an asking price of $2.95 million. Reeve bought the shingle-style home on Great Hill Farms Road after it was built in 1992. It features seven bedrooms, 5 1/2 baths, a gourmet country kitchen, gym, movie theater, game room, two offices, servants' quarters, high-tech wiring and a generator system. The grounds include a manicured lawn with specimen trees and water views, but no pool or tennis court. When Reeve was paralyzed after a fall during a horse-jumping competition in 1995, the house was reconfigured with wider doors and ramps, as well as the addition of a first-floor master bedroom and exercise room. Ilyse Bauer of Sotheby's International Realty in Armonk has the listing.
- June 30, 2006: In articles in the Asbury Park Press and The Princeton Packet, Christopher Reeve's mother, Barbara Johnson, said that she got over her initial lack of enthusiasm for the new Superman movie when she learned that director Bryan Singer had grown up in West Windsor, was a graduate of the high school there (West Windsor-Plainsboro) and that his mother, like Johnson, lives in Princeton. Johnson contacted Singer's mother, Grace Sinden, who serves on the Princeton Regional Health Commission, to enlist the Superman Returns director to speak at the Princeton Public Library last November in the Christopher Reeve lecture series. Johnson, who is a member of the Library Foundation board of directors said: "Bryan turned out to be a lovely, modest, unassuming and generous person who was clearly intelligent. And he was very thoughtful about how they were going to approach this icon Superman. When I got up to thank him at the end, I said, 'Well, Bryan, obviously I had mixed feelings about the making of another Superman movie, but now that I have met you and seen a small clip from your movie, I can see it's in good hands, and I wish you well with it.' I think he was relieved I had given him a sort of benediction," said Johnson. With roots of both generations of the Superman film tradition firmly planted in the Princeton area - Bryan Singer remembers seeing Superman: The Movie as a kid at the now-closed Prince Theater on Route 1 in Princeton. Johnson thought it appropriate that Superman Returns have a preview screening at Princeton Garden on June 27. "Grace and Bryan went straight to the top (at Warner Bros. Pictures) for us, and made it possible for the library to get a showing," said Johnson. Money from the Superman Returns screening will go toward teen programs at the library. "Chris was extraordinary," his mother recalled to the Asbury Park Press reporter. "He was endowed with a great many extraordinary talents. He had a wonderful mind, wide-ranging interests, a willingness to take risks. He was an athlete and scholar with a passion for acting, which began very, very early. I think there was a little classroom production of 'Cinderella' when he was in the first or second grade. He played the prince." Reeve played against type when he was 11 at the Princeton Country Day School: He portrayed a Scottish housemaid, complete with accent, in the school's production of "Witness for the Prosecution." Johnson said: "The director told me later that Chris, even at 11, was always asking for direction and always thinking through his characters. He did the same thing when he played on Broadway with Katharine Hepburn (in 'A Matter of Gravity'). He wondered what a nephew would do when visiting his aunt (Hepburn) -- bring flowers! He took the Superman role, quite frankly, as a career move. He felt, even with the risks it entailed, that it would mean he would get a greater recognition and he could bypass the cattle call. He worked in so many areas -- the environment, with Bobby Kennedy on clean Hudson waters and, at great risk, he traveled to Chile on behalf of playwrights and actors threatened by the Pinochet government," she said. "He stood up and spoke for them, in a few words of Spanish. And he was asked to run for Congress after the accident. He considered it but decided against it because he wouldn't have had the strength or health to do it." After his debilitating accident, Johnson said, her son continued his energetic involvement in good deeds, with his trademark sense of humor. "He was marvelously interested in so many things," said Johnson. "He was willing to take risks, which probably did lead to his premature death. Maybe he should have started on horses, in a highly competitive sport, when he was a very young boy, not in his late 30s. I think one of the most important things that Chris did for many, many people was, after his accident and becoming a quadriplegic, he showed them that there is life after a spinal cord injury or after a stroke. You don't have to sit in the dark feeling sorry for yourself. I think that he touched many, many, many people and certainly that was an enormous contribution to the quality of life of the people who had been afflicted with something as restrictive or disabling as a spinal cord injury. He didn't just help quadriplegics like himself," added Johnson. "I know for a fact that a lot of others were kind of led to thinking their way into a happier, more productive life. And that may well be his most lasting contribution."
Photo: Barbara Johnson with the President of Rutgers University during the 2005 commencement ceremonies when Christopher Reeve was posthumously awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
- June 30, 2006: The Journal News, a local Westchester County paper where the Reeve family used to live, published an article by Sean Gorman about the house going on the market saying that the couple's work for the disabled touched members of the Pound Ridge Police Department, who raised money for the Christopher Reeve Foundation, which funds spinal-injury research Police Chief Dave Ryan said the Reeves were "near and dear" to his officers. "We were very close with them in the police department, not just with Dana and Chris, and their children (but also) their employees and their staff," Ryan said yesterday. "To not have them (in town), it's like your best friend moving away." The couple used to take their son, Will, to swimming classes at the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester, in Mount Kisco. Will has finished eighth grade at Rippowam Cisqua, a private school in Bedford, where he's been active in the drama program. He has been living with friends of the family in the area. The 9,339-square-foot home, on Great Hill Farms Road, has seven bedrooms, 5 1/2 bathrooms and an exercise room.
- July 27, 2006: In a press release put out by Christopher Reeve Foundation, it is announced that Matthew and Alexandra, Christopher Reeve's two children with Gae Exton, are among five new additions joining the expanded Board of Directors. "It is a privilege and an honor to carry on our father and Dana's legacy, and to continue the mission which was so important to them both," said Matthew and Alexandra Reeve. "Our entire family joins us in support and celebration of the Foundation as it goes forward to find a cure." The three other new members of CRF's Board of Directors are: David Blair, chief executive officer and director of HealthExtras, Inc.; Jeff Pfeifle, president of J.Crew; Diana Taylor, New York State Superintendent of Banks. The press release also says that Matthew "...In 2002, Matthew graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts in Semiotics and also directed Christopher Reeve: Courageous Steps, which documented a year in the life of his famous father and was nominated for an Emmy. In 2004 he produced the animated music video "Moving Along" for UK rap group The Planets. The video won several awards and was the official selection of numerous animation festivals around the world. Today he is working on an untitled water-sport documentary to be finished by the end of the year." For Alexandra it said: "...As an undergraduate at Yale University, Alexandra sat on the College Dean's Advisory Committee and the Board of Governors for the Elizabeth Club, received the Percival W. Clement Prize for her senior thesis on Legal Realism and the New Deal, and was captain and publicity director for the women's varsity polo team. She was also one of eight students to establish Yale's first television station, YTV. In May 2005, she graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale with a Bachelor of Arts in History. She is currently attending Columbia Law School, where she is a staff member on the Columbia Business Law Review and serves on the board of the Columbia Society of International Law."
- July 30, 2006: USA Weekend, which is included with millions of American Sunday newspapers, has the cover story "A Super Legacy" describing how the efforts of Christopher and Dana Reeve continue to help others. Barbara Walters, Peter Kiernan, Mark Messier, Paula Zahn, and Dr. John McDonald were among those who shared their memories of Chris and Dana. As their foundation turns ten years old, The Christopher Reeve Foundation's mission very much continues as it spreads its network of neurorecovery network centers, continues "quality of life" grants, and awards millions of dollars of grants for research. Donations have only increased since the Reeves' deaths. "The general public has been moved by what has happened," says Kathy Lewis, foundation CEO and president. "The mission very much goes on."
- August 5, 2006: The Realtor.com listing for Christopher and Dana Reeve's former Pound Ridge, New York home shows that the asking price for it has dropped by $400,000 to $2,595,000. The local public schools are: Bedford Elementary School and Fox Lane Midde School and High School. The exterior features of the property include: balcony, fenced, lake/pond, sprinkler system, septic sewer system, water supply from well(s). The house also has a two-car garage and a Colonial style basement. The lot size is between two and five acres.
- August 11, 2006: Yankee Irving, the computer animation movie Christopher Reeve was in progress of directing when he died has been renamed to Everyone's Hero and will be in wide release on Friday, September 15, 2006. In "Everyone's Hero," a young boy (Jake T. Austin) finds himself at an extraordinary crossroads: He has a chance to be a hero - and make a difference against incredible odds - or he can play it safe. With faith in himself instilled by his family, he teams up with a sassy young girl (Raven-Symoné) and some off-the-wall sidekicks and embarks on a sometimes perilous, often funny, cross-country quest. In the process, he restores his family's honor, befriends the world's biggest sports superstar, and reveals the hero within. This partially computer-animated film is a heartwarming tale of a boy who embarks on a 1000-mile quest to help New York Yankee Babe Ruth win the 1932 World Series. It is the first animated movie dedicated to baseball. The celebrity voices include: Brian Dennehy, Whoopi Goldberg, William H. Macy, Mandy Patinkin, Dana Reeve and Rob Reiner. The G rated film runs one hour and 40 minutes.
- October 11, 2006: The Student Society for Stem Cell Research held a candlelight vigil Tuesday night to honor Christopher Reeve. The vigil, marking the two-year anniversary of his death, was held in the Davison Life Sciences Complex, and reached beyond the University, with guests from area advocacy groups. "Our goal is to honor Reeve's memory and what he stood for," said Kurinji Pandiyan, president and founder of the Student Society for Stem Cell Research, which Pandiyan started earlier this semester. Internationally, this is the third year vigils have been held in Reeve's memory. The first took place just a few days after his death in 2004, Pandiyan said. After watching a speech and a video about Reeve, the group moved outside for the candle-lighting and moment of silence.
- November 2, 2006: Christopher Reeve's children are carrying on their dad's crusade: finding a cure for paralysis. Alexandra and Matthew Reeve both serve on the board of the Christopher Reeve Foundation, which Reeve established to fund research for therapies and a cure, People magazine reports in its Nov. 13 issue. "Our dad's accident really did connect us to this community: 4 million people in the U.S. who are suffering from paralysis," Alexandra Reeve, 22, tells the magazine. "We understand how important it is not only to find a cure but also to improve quality of life." She and brother Matthew will join their half brother, Will Reeve, 14, at the foundation's annual gala on Nov. 6 in New York. Asked about her half brother, Alexandra responded, "Will's doing well. He loves school. He is playing hockey and football and keeping busy with friends."
- November 8, 2006: After more than four months on the market, the house that Christopher Reeve and family lived in is now under contract. The Westchester County home located in New York originally had the asking price of $2.95 million in late June before the asking price dropped to $2,595,000 in early August. It is not known what the selling price is or who is buying the house. Ilyse Bauer of Sotheby's International Realty - Armonk Brokerage is the real estate agent for this listing.
- November 9, 2006: The star-studded Christopher Reeve Foundation A Magical Evening, which featured performances by Donny Osmond, Nathan Lane and the cast of the Broadway hit Jersey Boys at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, raised more than $2.5 million – the second largest amount the night has ever raised in the Foundation's history. This year, Will, Alexandra and Matthew Reeve presented the first-ever Dana Reeve HOPE Award to Cristina Carlino, the Founder and CEO of philosophy, inc. "Dana Reeve, a woman whose grace and courage under the most difficult of life's circumstances, was a source of inspiration to all of us," Alexandra Reeve said. "Dana was committed to preserving the important work that Christopher pioneered. Her life has become a legacy of hope, enabling each of us to look within and gain the strength and courage to be better." Fourteen-year-old Will Reeve took to the podium and said: "Before I get started I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has supported me and my family through these tough times, and for making me smile and feel good about everything. And I'm doing very well." He spoke poignantly about looking forward to going to the Magical Evening with his parents in the past, and joked about how his parents sometimes had trouble heading out for the evening. "Mom always took at least three efforts to leave the house," he said. "Dad would be patiently waiting in the van, knowing that Mom would be downstairs looking incredible even if she was a few minutes late. "In fact, Dad was secretly glad for those extra minutes anyway. A little-known secret about him: He never wrote his speeches in advance. So on the ride down here he would sit back with his eyes closed, coming up with something funny to say. And he would come out on stage with these perfectly formed paragraphs. Mom looked, as dad would say it, 'Wow!' And we all had a great time and enjoyed the night." Later in the evening, a 3-year-old boy named Chase Ford, who was paralyzed from the neck down (as Christopher Reeve was) only 18 months ago, walked across the stage on his own, using only a small walker. His ability to walk was due to a CRF-funded physical therapy program that is slowly teaching his body to walk again.
- November 15, 2006: Robert F. Kennedy Jr., one of the country's most prominent environmental attorneys and son of Robert F. Kennedy, will speak tonight at Princeton High School in celebration of the second annual Christopher Reeve Lecture Series. Kennedy's topic has not yet been disclosed, but as an ardent environmentalist and chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeepers, it is assumed Kennedy's talk will honor the environmental causes that the late Christopher Reeve supported before his death in October 2004. The lecture, which is sponsored by the Princeton Public Library, is free. All tickets for the event have been reserved, however. In fact, more than 700 of them were reserved within hours of availability, said library spokesman Tim Quinn. The event is one of the biggest the library holds each year.
- November 18, 2006: Barbara Johnson unveiled a plaque dedicated to her son at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts at Cornell University while John Foote, president of the Class of 1974 attended. Christopher Reeve came to Cornell already a seasoned professional actor and with ambitions far beyond Ithaca. But he was proud to attend the same school as his grandfather. "Chris was disappointed that he was not accepted at Yale," said Johnson before the unveiling. "But he was accepted at Brown and Cornell, and he wanted to go to Cornell because of my dad." Cornell and the Class of 1974 celebrated the life and memory of Reeve with a day of events that also included screenings of his films and the formal announcement of an endowed scholarship in Reeve's memory. David Feldshuh, the Schwartz Center's artistic director, and Stephen Cole, associate professor of theater, shared their memories of Reeve at the dedication of the plaque, which reads: "Christopher Reeve '74, 1952-2004, Actor -- Superman -- Hero. Remembered by His Classmates and Friends." When Reeve came to Ithaca for a screening of The Remains of the Day in 1993, "he said he hoped to return to Cornell, to teach a class or perhaps act in a play," Feldshuh said. "Chris unfortunately did not have a chance to return to Cornell, until today." Provost Biddy Martin related the story of Reeve's grandfather, Horace R. Lamb '16, LLB '20, a poor tailor's son who attended Cornell on a Telluride Association scholarship. She marveled at Reeve's accomplishments. "He achieved more between 1995 and his death, under extraordinary circumstances, than many of us achieve in our lifetimes, in excellent health," Martin said. Class of 1974 Vice President C. Evan Stewart said the class had so far raised $50,000 for the Christopher Reeve '74 Scholarship for undergraduates majoring in theater, film, music and English. In her lecture (American) Victorian or Superman? Sabine Haenni, assistant professor of film and American studies, analyzed Reeve's roles in James Ivory's The Bostonians (1984) and The Remains of the Day (1993) and Richard Donner's Superman: The Movie (1978). Cynthia Bernstein-Goun '74 was Reeve's fellow Risley Hall resident and classmate in an 18th-century French literature course. "He came into class speaking French like all the French majors, even though he wasn't," she said. "I couldn't believe he was only 19; he had such poise and carried himself like a man in his 30s. When he told me he got into Juilliard, it was such an accomplishment. He's been a great inspiration to me ever since." To donate to the Christopher Reeve '74 Scholarship Fund, contact Carol True-Palmer in the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development, at (607) 254-6136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- November 21, 2006: Today sees the UK TV Premiere of The Brooke Ellison Story directed by Reeve. It airs at 3:40pm on Five.
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