US actor. He played the title role in the film Superman (1978) and its three sequels (1981, 1984, and 1987). Reeve appeared as both the muscle-bound hero and his mild-mannered, bespectacled alter ego, and the films owe much of their success to his charm, humour, and sense of irony.
Reeve also tried to play as many different parts as possible; subsequent films include Deathtrap (1981) and The Bostonians (1984), and he appeared in more than 110 stage productions in the USA and England. He was paralysed from the neck down in a 1995 horse-riding accident.
After completing his studies at Cornell and at Juilliard's drama division, Reeve accepted a role in the long-running soap opera Love of Life (1973). This led to a Broadway play, A Matter of Gravity, which starred Katharine Hepburn. Later Broadway appearances include Street Smart (1986) and The Winter's Tale (1989).
He also appeared in Somewhere in Time (1979), Switching Channels (1987), Noises Off (1992), and The Remains of the Day (1993).
Following his accident, Reeve worked as a narrator for television films including Without Pity: A Film About Abilities (1996) and The Toughest Break: Martin's Story (1998). He returned to acting for the first time after his accident in the television version of Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (1998), in which he played the part of an injured man in a wheelchair who sees a murder from his apartment window (the part made famous by James Stewart in the 1954 original). Reeve became determined in his fight to walk again, and in 2002 he and his wife opened the USA's first centre devoted to teaching paralysed people to live more independently.