March 16, 2006 by

Dana Reeve

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Categories: Actors

dreeve.jpgDana Reeve has been described as a talented entertainer, a loving mother, a devoted wife and a champion of spinal cord research.
She was, in fact, all of the above.
Dana Morosini was born in Teaneck, N.J., and raised in Scarsdale, N.Y. She graduated cum laude from Middlebury College in Vermont, and studied acting at the California Institute of the Arts and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Dana became a singer and actress, appearing in plays on and off-Broadway, and in numerous television shows, most notably “Loving,” “All My Children,” “Law & Order,” “Feds,” “Oz” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” She also co-hosted “Lifetime Live,” a daily talk show for women on the Lifetime network.
Dana met Christopher Reeve in 1987. She was performing in a cabaret act at the Williamstown Theater Festival in Williamstown, Mass., when the handsome movie star introduced himself. The couple married five years later, and had one son, Will, now 13. Dana also cared for Matthew and Alexandra, Christopher’s children from his first marriage. In 2005, she won a Mother of the Year Award from the American Cancer Society.
When a horse-riding accident in 1995 left Christopher paralyzed, Dana put her show business career on hold and dedicated herself to his care. She co-founded the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, which seeks a cure for spinal cord paralysis, and succeeded her husband as its chairman when he died two years ago at the age of 52. To date, the foundation has awarded $60 million in research grants and $8 million in quality of life grants.
In 1996, the Reeves established the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center, a facility in Short Hills, N.J., that teaches paralyzed people how to live more independent lives. Three years later, Dana published the book, “Care Packages: Letters to Christopher Reeve From Strangers and Other Friends.” For her work, at home and in the philanthropic world, Reeve received the Shining Example Award from Procter & Gamble in 1998, and an American Image Award from the American Apparel and Footwear Association in 2003.
Although Dana never smoked, doctors diagnosed her with lung cancer in August 2005. While undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, she still found the time and energy to tape television spots and make appearances at fundraisers. On Jan. 12, she even donned a wig to cover her hair loss, and performed Carole King’s “Now and Forever” to a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden in honor of the retirement of her friend, former Rangers hockey captain Mark Messier.
“Dana Reeve had a fierce grace. Under pressure, she embraced her personal struggles with dignity and humor. And always with the focus on the greater good. She filled her life with a love as clear and unflinching as her beautiful voice. Dana made the world a better place and we all shall miss her song terribly,” actress Susan Sarandon said.
Reeve died on March 6 of lung cancer at the age of 44. Her final television appearance on the PBS program, “The New Medicine,” will air on March 29. It was taped last November.
Listen to a Tribute From NPR

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