October 10th, 2004, was a terrible day. Suddenly and unexpectedly, Christopher Reeve — who for the last decade had fought not only a devastating spinal cord injury, but also a lack of support, funding, and research into curing this condition for millions worldwide — passed away.
Made famous by the Superman movies, Mr. Reeve was known to many only by that role, overlooking his political activism, family values, and talented filmography. This diversity was captured in A&E's biography, as I discovered when I played the DVD to a classroom of high school students, who were surprised by how little they knew of this actor. Several other books and documentaries published both since Mr. Reeve's accident and his passing have added more details and layers.
I am writing this blog post about my personal hero not on October 10th, but today, because this is the day Superman would've been 57. I could write much more about how he has inspired me, and how he embodies what a role model can and should be. But I'll keep this short and celebrate his life, not his death, by sharing his 1979 appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson — in my opinion, one of the two funniest people of the 20th century. Mr. Carson passed away just three months after Mr. Reeve, but in this video, we can see them both as we remember them, in their prime:
Hat tip to the L.A. Times.