In celebration of what would have been his 69th birthday, Google has dedicated a homepage Doodle to Christopher Reeve, an actor best known for playing Superman and an advocate for those with disabilities.

Life of Christopher Reeve

Christopher D’Olier Reeve was born on September 25, 1952, in New York City. After his parents’ divorce, Reeve lived with his mother in Princeton, New Jersey. At the age of 9, Christopher Reeve discovered his first love of acting after he landed a role in a student play, The Yeoman of the Guard.

While his passion for acting continued through his school days, at his mother’s urging, Reeve went to college at Cornell University instead of immediately trying to make a career out of acting. His performances continued upon joining the Cornell theater department, where Christopher Reeve was discovered by an agent. This agent worked to land Reeve roles that respected his mother’s wishes to finish school before a full-time career. Ultimately, Reeve graduated from Cornell, by way of a year at Juilliard in New York.

Christopher Reeve’s acting career began with a simultaneous run in a Broadway play and a soap opera, before landing a small part in a film. With only a few years of professional acting experience under his belt, Reeve auditioned for and received the role of Superman for the 1978 film.

The dual role of Superman and Clark Kent rocketed his career into the big leagues, with the film generating three sequels. Refusing to be typecast as an action star, Reeve spent the rest of his career seeking roles that were meaningful or challenged his abilities as an actor.

Unfortunately, in 1995, Reeve was in a horse riding accident that injured his back and left him paralyzed from the shoulders down. Using the platform he had built with his acting career, Reeve became a major advocate for those with disabilities. For example, his urging helped the United States to pass “The Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999,” which gave those with disabilities far more Social Security benefits, as well as opportunities to rejoin the workforce.

Between cofounding of the Reeve-Irvine Research Center, operating what’s now known as the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, and advocating with lawmakers, Reeve spent the rest of his life seeking better benefits and treatment options for those with disabilities, as well as simply educating others about social issues. Reeve died on October 10, 2004.

Christopher Reeve Google Doodle

Christopher Reeve

This latest Google Doodle features Christopher Reeve in his wheelchair and respirator, smiling heroically with a city skyline in the distance. Overhead, some of the letters of “Google” are spelled out in clouds, while the letters “G” and “e” are formed by a trail through the sky, an homage to Superman.

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Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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