Dana Reeve

'Superwoman' widow


Dana Morosini, singer, actress and campaigner: born New York 19 February 1961; married 1992 Christopher Reeve (died 2004; one son); died New York 6 March 2006.

Dana Reeve turned from singer and actress to full-time caregiver in 1995 when her husband, the Superman actor Christopher Reeve, fell from a horse during a competition in Virginia. The accident left him paralysed from the neck down. Over the ensuing years, Dana Reeve was barely away from her husband's side. He often said that he had considered suicide after his fall but that his wife's love gave him the courage to endure.

The couple established the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, dedicated to providing funding for research into cures for paralysis victims. To date it has made grants of about $55m for research, as well an additional $7.5m in quality-of-life grants for paralysis patients. The Reeves also lobbied together for an easing of restrictions on stem cell research, believed to hold out hope for a future cure for paralysis.

In 1999, Dana Reeve published Carepackages: letters to Christopher Reeve from strangers and other friends. She also received many awards for her work, including, most recently, the American Cancer Society's Mother of the Year Award. "She was a woman with an incredible heart," said Kathy Lewis, Chief Executive Officer of the Paralysis Foundation.

In 2004, Dana Reeve was acting in California when word reached her that her husband was losing a battle with a fierce infection. She made it back to the East Coast to be at his bedside when he died on 10 October. Last August, less than a year after her husband's death, Dana revealed that she was suffering from lung cancer. She only made her plight public, she admitted at the time, because she knew a tabloid was about to publish the story.

There had seemed hope, at first, that she could beat the disease. Four months ago, she appeared at a fund-raising gala for the Paralysis Foundation, for which she had become chairman, looking healthy and relaxed. "My prognosis looks better all the time," she told those attending. Asked how she kept her spirits up, she said: "I was married to a man who never gave up."

She was born Dana Morosini in 1961 in the affluent New York suburb of Scarsdale, where her father, Charles, was a cardiologist. A graduate of the California Institute of the Arts, Dana built a career that spanned singing, live theatre, film and television. She appeared on Broadway in More to Love, played several roles off-Broadway, including at the Manhattan Theatre Club and Joseph Papp's Public Theatre. Her television acting included guest-star appearances on Law & Order, Oz and All My Children.

In 1987 she met Christopher Reeve, already a Hollywood star and with two children from a relationship with the British agent and model Gae Exton, while appearing in cabaret at the Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts. They were married in 1992 and had a son of their own, Will.

After Christopher Reeve's accident, many people referred to his wife as "Superwoman". "There was nothing superhuman about standing by Chris," she said. "Like, what's so saintly about that? Lucky me. I'm with him!"

David Usborne

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
News
i100(More than you think)
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Arts and Entertainment
John Hurt will voice Prince Bolkonsky in Radio 4's War and Peace
radioRadio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Recruitment Genius: Development Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Development Scientist is required to join a ...

Recruitment Genius: Accountant

£25000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?