I remember him in 1978 night-flying across the silver screen with Margot Kidder on one arm and the whole world on the other. I remember him falling in 1995 never to rise again, and a year later I remember him surprising the world with his strength and courage and resilience at the Academy Awards appearing alone on the stage in his wheelchair. Delivering a tribute to films that examine social issues, he urged his peers and the world to continue to take risks and tackle them. “There is no challenge artistic or otherwise that we can’t meet,” he said. I remember the ovations he got that night. I remember him with Barbara Walters on television a few years later, breathing on his own when everyone said he wouldn’t ever again be able to do so. Between breaths he told Walters that he never wavered in his belief he would walk again, and said he had a hard time tolerating anyone who accepted obstacles instead of overcoming them ó especially people who could do the little things that were now monumental to him. Like walking. And holding someone’s hand. And breathing.
Looking below the fold of the front page of today’s L.A. Times, his name and picture were at the bottom and I remembered that whenever someone of note appears in the “Inside” box there it usually means we’ve lost them. I dropped the paper like a hot potato, as if that could somehow make him not dead. It didn’t work. He’s gone, of cardiac arrest at 52. Rest in peace, Christopher Reeve. You are my hero and an inspiration to us all.