Christopher Reeve (Superman)

American actor, film director, producer, screenwriter, author & activist Christopher Reeve was born September 25, 1952. He achieved stardom for his acting achievements, in particular his motion-picture portrayal of the fictional superhero Superman. Reeve had been asked to audition for the leading role as Clark Kent/Superman in the big budget film, Superman: The Movie . A meeting between director Richard Donner, producer Ilya Salkind and Reeve was set in January 1977., Reeve was sent a 300-page script for the film. He accepted & was told that Marlon Brando was going to play Jor-El and Gene Hackman was going to play Lex Luthor. He based his portrayal of Clark Kent on Cary Grant in his role in Bringing Up Baby & felt that the new Superman ought to reflect a contemporary male image. Although Reeve was a talented all-around athlete, portraying the role of Superman was a stretch for him, but he was tall enough for the role & had the necessary blue eyes and handsome features. However, his physique was slim & he went through an intense two-month training regimen supervised by former British weightlifting champion David Prowse, (Darth Vader). Despite landing the role, Reeve was never a comic book fan, though he had watched Adventures of Superman starring George Reeves.

The film was a worldwide hit & Reeve won a BAFTA Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles & became an instant international star. He also guest starred in Smallville, about Clark Kent/Superman’s childhood. He appeared as Doctor Virgil Swann, in two episodes titled “Rosetta” and “Legacy”, while his death was made known in the fourth season episode “Sacred”.Reeve’s first role after 1978′s Superman was as Richard Collier in the 1980 romantic fantasy Somewhere in Time which co-starred Jane Seymour . Sadly reviews savaged the film as overly sentimental & melodramatic, however thanks to screenings on cable networks and video rentals; its popularity began to grow and it has since gone on to become something of a cult classic. Director Jean-Pierre Dorléac was also nominated for an Academy Award in Costume Design for the movie.In 1980 Reeves played the lead in the successful play The Front Page,as well as a disabled Vietnam veteran in the critically acclaimed Broadway play Fifth of July. In his research for the role, he was coached by an amputee on how to walk on artificial legs. After The Fifth of July, Reeve played a novice playwright opposite Michael Caine in Sidney Lumet’s film Deathtrap, Reeve was then offered the role of Basil Ransom in The Bostonians alongside Vanessa Redgrave. In 1984, Reeve appeared in The Aspern Papers with Vanessa Redgrave and played Tony in The Royal Family and the Count in Marriage of Figaro.

In 1985, Reeve hosted the television documentary Dinosaur! having been Fascinated with dinosaurs since he was a kid. DC Comics also named Reeve as one of the honorees in the company’s 50th anniversary publication Fifty Who Made DC Great for his work on the Superman film series. In 1986 He starred opposite Morgan Freeman, in the film Street Smart, for which Freeman was nominated for his first Academy Award. The film also received excellent reviews.Reeve was very active and went sailing, scuba diving, skiing, aviation, windsurfing, cycling, gliding, parasailing, mountain climbing, Played baseball, tennis and went horse riding after learning to ride for the film Anna Karenina, he also built a sailboat, The Sea Angel, which he sailed from the Chesapeake to Nova Scotia. He was also a licensed pilot and flew solo across the Atlantic twice, & also raced his sailplane in his free time and joined The Tiger Club, a group of aviators who had served in the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain, who let him participate in mock dogfights in vintage World War I combat planes. He was approached by The producers of the film The Aviator to fly a Stearman in the film, Reeve readily accepted the role and did all of his stunts.

He also served as a board member for the Charles Lindbergh Fund, which promotes environmentally safe technologies, & lent support to causes such as Amnesty International, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and People for the American Way. He joined the Environmental Air Force and was also awarded The Bernardo O’Higgins Order and the Obie Prize and the Annual Walter Brielh Human Rights Foundation award, for helping to save the lives of 77 Actors in Santiago during 1987. Reeve was a member of the Creative Coalition, an organization designed to teach celebrities how to speak knowledgeably about political issues. along with Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin, and Blythe Danner. In 1990, Reeve starred in the Civil War film, The Rose and the Jackal, in which he played Allan Pinkerton, the head of President Lincoln’s new Secret Service, he was also offered the part of Lewis in The Remains of the Day. The film was deemed an instant classic and was nominated for eight Academy Awards. In 1994, Reeve was elected as a co-president of the Creative Coalition. Reeve was also asked by the Democratic Party to run for the United States Congress. He also went to New Mexico to shoot Speechless (co-starring Michael Keaton). Reeve also played a paralyzed police officer in Above Suspicion. He research the role at a rehabilitation hospital and learned how to use a wheelchair to get in and out of cars. Reeve was then offered the lead in Kidnapped and also planned to direct a romantic comedy entitled Tell Me True until his life took An unexpected turn…

Not long after making these plans, Reeve was invited to compete in the Commonwealth Dressage and Combined Training Association finals at the Commonwealth Park equestrian center in Culpeper, Virginia . He took horse riding seriously and was intensely competitive with it and finished fourth out of 27 in the dressage, before walking his cross-country course. He was concerned about jumps sixteen and seventeen, but paid little attention to the third jump, which was a routine three-foot-three fence shaped like the letter ‘W’. Sadly during the event On May 27, 1995, Reeve’s horse refused to jump the 3rd fence and Reeve fell and sustained a cervical spinal injury that paralyzed him from the neck down. He had no recollection of the incident but landed headfirst on the other side of the fence. His helmet prevented any brain damage, but the impact of his 215-pound (98 kg) body hitting the ground shattered his first and second vertebrae which meant that his skull and spine were not connected. When paramedics arrived he was taken to the local hospital, then flown by helicopter to the University of Virginia Medical Center. He had an operation to reattach his skull to his spine.Reeve was taken to the Kessler Rehabilitation Center in West Orange, New Jersey. At the Institute, one of his aides was a Jamaican man named Glenn Miller, nicknamed Juice, who helped him learn how to get into the shower and how to use a powered wheelchair, which was activated by blowing air through a straw. Reeve had occupational therapy and physical therapy in rehab. In the therapy gym, Reeve worked on moving his trapezius muscle, every day he would try to do better. The most difficult part of rehabilitation was respiratory therapy, the ammount of air Reeve could inhale had to be 750 ccs before getting off the artificial respirator could even be considered. Initially, Reeve could hardly get above zero. By the end of October, he was able to get around 50 ccs. This inspired him, and he felt his natural competitive edge coming back. The next day, he went up to 450 ccs. He reached 560 ccs the day after, and by December 13, 1995, Reeve was able to breathe without a ventilator for 30 minutes.

In July 2003, Christopher Reeve’s continuing frustration with the pace of stem cell research in the U.S. led him to Israel,which was at the center of research in spinal cord injury, He was invited by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to seek out the best treatment for his condition. During his visit, Reeve called the experience “a privilege” and said, “Israel has very proactive rehab facilities, excellent medical schools and teaching hospitals, and an absolutely first-rate research infrastructure.” Throughout his intensive tour, Reeve visited ALYN Hospital, Weizmann Institute of Science, and Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, among many other places. Israelis were very receptive to Reeve’s visit, calling him an inspiration to all and urging him to never give up hope.Reeve left Kessler feeling deeply inspired by the other patients he had met. Because he was constantly being covered by the media, he realized that he could use his name to the benefit of everyone with spinal cord injuries. In 1996, he appeared at the Academy Awards to a long standing ovation and gave a speech about Hollywood’s duty to make movies that face the world’s most important issues head-on.

He also hosted the Paralympics in Atlanta and spoke at the Democratic National Convention. He traveled across the country to make speeches, he narrated the HBO film Without Pity: A Film About Abilities. The film won the Emmy Award for “Outstanding Informational Special.” He then acted in a small role in the film A Step Towards Tomorrow.Reeve was elected Chairman of the American Paralysis Association and Vice Chairman of the National Organization on Disability. He co-founded the Reeve-Irvine Research Center, which is now one of the leading spinal cord research centers in the world. He created the the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to speed up research through funding, and to use grants to improve the quality of the lives of people with disabilities. Reeve used his celebrity status for good causes.He lobbied on behalf of people with spinal-cord injuries and for human embryonic stem cell research, founding the Christopher Reeve Foundation and co-founding the Reeve-Irvine Research Center. Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he visited terminally ill children. He joined the Board of Directors for the worldwide charity Save the Children. and has done more to promote research on spinal cord injury and other neurological disorders than any other person before or since.

In 1997, Reeve made his directorial debut with the HBO film In the Gloaming with Robert Sean Leonard, Glenn Close, Whoopi Goldberg, Bridget Fonda and David Strathairn. The film won four Cable Ace Awards and was nominated for five Emmy Awards including “Outstanding Director for a Miniseries or Special. In 1998, Reeve produced and starred in Rear Window, a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 film. He was nominated for a Golden Globe and won a Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance. On April 25, 1998, Random House published Reeve’s autobiography, Still Me. The book spent eleven weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list and Reeve won a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album. In 2000, he also began to regain some motor function, and was able to sense hot and cold temperatures on his body, and was also able to move his left index finger on command, Reeve also lobbied for expanded federal funding on embryonic stem cell research. In 2002, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center, a federal government facility created through a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention non-compete grant, was opened in Short Hills, New Jersey. Its mission is to teach paralyzed people to live more independently. In 2004, Reeve directed the A&E film The Brooke Ellison Story. The film is based on the true story of Brooke Ellison, the first quadriplegic to graduate from Harvard University Reeve’s second book, Nothing is Impossible was also published, Reeve also directed the animated film Everyone’s Hero.

During his recovery He fell ill with mononucleosis, malaria, and superior mesenteric artery syndrome. He also suffered from mastocytosis, a blood cell disorder and fought off a number of serious infections believed to have originated from bone marrow. He also had asthma and many allergies and More than once he had a severe reaction to a drug. In Kessler, he tried a drug named Sygen which helps reduce damage to the spinal cord. The drug caused him to go into anaphylactic shock and his heart stopped, He fell into a coma and was taken to Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, New York. Eighteen hours later, on October 10, 2004, Reeve died of cardiac arrest at the age of 52. His doctor, John McDonald, believed that it was an adverse reaction to the antibiotic that caused his death. During the final days of his life, Reeve also urged California voters to vote yes on Proposition 71, which would establish the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, & allot $3 billion of state funds to stem cell research. A memorial service for Reeve was held at the Unitarian Church in Westport, Connecticut, which his wife attended. Reeve was cremated & his ashes scattered. Proposition 71 was also approved less than one month after Reeve’s death.

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Mark Hamill

American actor, voice actor, producer, director, and writer Mark Richard Hamill was born September 25, 1951. He is best known for his performance as Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars trilogy, as well as his voice role as the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series, its various spin-offs, and the video games Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City. Hamill has also lent his voice to various other villains and anti-heroes in various other animated productions. Mark atended Nile C. Kinnick High School in Yokosuka, and was a member of the drama club. After that he attended Annandale High School in Annandale, Virginia. He subsequently enrolled at Los Angeles City College and majored in drama. Hamill’s early career included voicing the character Corey Anders on the Saturday morning cartoon Jeannie by Hanna-Barbera Productions. He also portrayed the oldest son, David, on the pilot episode of Eight Is Enough, though the role was later performed byGrant Goodeve. He acted in TV series such as The Texas Wheelers, General Hospital, The Partridge Family, and One Day at a Time. One of his earliest films was the made-for-TV film The City. Robert Englund was auditioning for a part in Apocalypse Now when he walked across the hall where auditions were taking place for George Lucas’ Star Wars. After watching the auditions for a while, he realized that his friend, aspiring actor Mark Hamill, would be perfect for the role of Luke Skywalker. He suggested to Hamill that he audition for the part; Hamill did, and won the role. Released in the summer of 1977, Star Wars became hugely, successful and Hamill also appeared in Star Wars Holiday Special (1978) and the Star Wars sequels The Empire Strikes Back(1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983). For each of the sequels, Hamill was honored with the Saturn Award for Best Actor given by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Horror Films. He reprised the role of Luke Skywalker for the radio dramatizations of both Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, but did not act in theReturn of the Jedi radio drama.

After the success of Star Wars, Hamill found that audiences identified him very closely with the role of Luke Skywalker. He attempted to avoid typecasting by appearing in Corvette Summer (1978) and the better-known World War II film The Big Red One (1980). Hamill also made a guest appearance on The Muppet Show as both himself and his role of Luke Skywalker. C3PO and R2-D2 were along with him on a search for Chewbacca in that episode. During the 1980s, Hamill did little film work outside of Star Wars. Instead, he acted on Broadway, starring in The Elephant Man, Harrigan ‘N Hart (for which he received a Drama Desk Award nomination), The Nerd, and other stage plays. Hamill also played the antagonist Hawkins in the Swedish action movie Hamilton in 1998. Some of his other film credits include The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, Britannia Hospital, Slipstream, The Guyver, and the 1995 remake of Village of the Damned. In 1990, he played an escaped mental patient who terrorizes Michael Dudikoff and his wife in Midnight Ride. He also narrated The Sci-Fi Files, a four-part documentary about the influence of science fiction upon present society. In 2001, Hamill starred in Thank You, Good Night alongside Christian Campbell, John Paul Pitoc, and Sally Kirkland. Hamill appeared in the film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and parodies Luke Skywalker, The Joker, The Trickster (of “The Flash” fame), and the rest of the vast array of super-villain voices he has done and himself all at the same time.

In live-action television, Hamill had recurring roles in General Hospital and The Texas Wheelers, and a small role in The Bill Cosby Show. He guest appeared in two episodes as the Trickster in the live-action television series of The Flash, a role he would later reprise in the animated series Justice League Unlimited. He has made cameo appearances on MADtv (where he played the estranged father ofMs. Swan), and appeared on Saturday Night Live (playing himself being sold on a Star Wars-themed home shopping sale). Hamill appeared on single episodes of 3rd Rock from the Sun and Just Shoot Me! He also had a guest spot on The Muppet Show as both himself and his “cousin” Luke Skywalker, along with C-3PO, Chewbacca and R2-D2. In 1986, he appeared in an episode of the TV seriesAmazing Stories (“Gather Ye Acorns”) in the role of Jonathan. He also had a recurring role as Tobias LeConte on seaQuest DSV. It has been recounted by Richard Hatch that, shortly after the filming of Star Wars, when Mark appeared on set for a guest appearance onStreets of San Francisco, he was asked by Richard about recent work, to which Mark had reportedly replied “I just finished a movie called Star Wars.”Hamill also directed and starred in the 2005 direct-to-DVD Comic Book: The Movie. A comic book fan who attended science fiction and comic conventions before he became famous, Hamill claimed that his character was based on an exaggerated version of himself. He and his crew shot most of the “mockumentary” film during the 2002 San Diego Comic-Con, and enlisted Stan Lee, Kevin Smith, andHugh Hefner in small roles. The movie won an award for Best Live-Action DVD Premiere Movie at the 2005 DVD Exclusive Awards.

Mark Hamill has gained a reputation as a prolific voice actor. He previously did voice acting work in the Ralph Bakshi film Wizards, where he played “Sean, leader of the Knights of Stardust,” which was released just three months before Star Wars in 1977. Though the voice-role he is most known for is Batman’s archenemy the Joker, his success as the Joker has led him to portray a wide variety of characters (mostly villainous) in television, film, anime, and video games including the Hobgoblin in the 1990sSpider-Man cartoon series, Lawrance “Larry” 3000, in Cartoon Network’s animated series Time Squad. He also guest starred in The Simpsons episode “Mayored to the Mob”, he played the Gargoyle in the animated series of The Incredible Hulk, the Hobgoblin in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Maximus in Fantastic Four, Captain Stickybeard inCodename: Kids Next Door, and the deranged shock jock anchorman Dr. Jak in Phantom 2040. He even parodied his Joker role in theTom & Jerry Kids episode “Droopy Man Returns,” and in the Animaniacs episode “The Cranial Crusader”, as Johnny Bad-Note. He voiced Dr. Julius Pendecker in The Tick, and Niju the Evil Wolf in Balto II: Wolf Quest. He also voiced Christopher “Maverick” Blair in the animated series Wing Commander Academy. In 1999, he provided the voice of Van Ripper in The Night of the Headless Horseman.

He voiced the character of Chanukah Zombie for the 2007 straight-to-DVD release Futurama: Bender’s Big Score. He also voiced the character Adolpho in Loonatics Unleashed.Hamill was also the voice of Judah in the DreamWorks film Joseph: King of Dreams As well asSolomon Grundy and the Trickster in the DC animated universe seriesJustice League and Justice League Unlimited. He voiced the murderous gangster Tony Zucco in The Batman, an animated series unrelated to the various DCAU shows. He also voiced the Spectre, in an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, another animated series unrelated to the DCAU.Hamill performs the voice of Undergrowth in the Danny Phantom episode “Urban Jungle.” He provided the voice of series antagonist Fire Lord Ozai in Avatar: The Last Airbender and Skeleton King in Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!. He also guest starred as The Moth in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode “Night Light”. Additionally, he played the latter character in the Mina and the Count shorts. In the Hanna-Barbera Productions cartoon SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, Hamill voiced Jonny K., the Red Lynx, and Burke, among others. He is also a recurring voice actor on Seth Green’s Robot Chicken. He also voiced Cry Baby Clown in Sccoby Doo Mystery Incorporated And had a voice cameo in the NASA animated short “Robot Astronomy Talk Show: Gravity and the Great Attractor,” part of the web-series IRrelevant Astronomy, produced by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.

He also appeared in Star Wars episode VII and the forthcoming episode VIII alongside Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, and is also doing voicework for several characters in the Metalocalypse animated series. He voices Skips in the animated series Regular Show and also voices Frank the Director in Random! Cartoons on Frederator Studios. He provided the voice for Abraham Kane in the new series, Motorcity. He voiced Colonel Muska in the English-language version of Castle in the Sky and the Mayor of Pejite in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, both directed by Hayao Miyazaki and distributed by Disney. Hamill provided the voice of Commander Taylor in Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles, the sequel to the 1980s adapted anime series Robotech. He was also in Afro Samurai Resurrection. Hamill provides the voice of Jameson Burkright in the miniseries comedy The Wrong Coast, and Yamma in the joint Cartoon Network/Production I.G anime series IGPX Immortal Grand Prix. In early 2010, he voiced as Dante’s father in the anime film version of Dante’s Inferno. Hamill also co-wrote The Black Pearl, a comic book miniseries published by Dark Horse Comics. He wrote an introduction to the Trade Paperback Batman: Riddler Two-Face which reprints various stories involving The Riddler and Two-Face to tie in with Batman Forever. He has also written several stories for Simpsons Comics, including “Catastrophe in Substitute Springfields!”, which parodies DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths and also references several other classic comics. It was confirmed that Hamill is also doing the voicework for Alvin the Treacherous, a villain who is appeared in DreamWorks Television Series, Dragons: Riders of Berk.

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman is out on DVD. It is based on the DC Comics character of the same name, and is the fourth installment in the DC Extended Universe. The film stars Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman with Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, and Elena Anaya in supporting roles. It is Set in 1918, and tells the story of Princess Diana, who grows up on the Amazon island of Themyscira, home to the Amazon race of warrior women created by the gods of Mount Olympus to protect humankind. However, Ares, the god of war, slew most of his fellow gods, until his father, Zeus, struck him down. Before succumbing to his injuries, Zeus left the Amazons a weapon capable of killing his renegade son: the “Godkiller”, presented as a ceremonial sword. Queen Hippolyta, Diana’s mother, believes that Ares will never return and forbids Diana from training as a warrior, however Diana begins training in secret.

Then Diana rescues American pilot Captain Steve Trevor (Pine) after his plane crashes off the coast of Themyscira and he tells her about the ongoing World War. The island is soon invaded by the landing party of a German cruiser pursuing Steve. The Amazons confront the German sailors, but Antiope dies. Steve reveals that “The War to End All Wars” is raging in the outside world, and that he is an Allied spy. He has stolen a notebook with valuable information from the Spanish chief chemist Isabel Maru, who is attempting to engineer a deadlier form of mustard gas under the orders of General Erich Ludendorff from a weapons facility in the Ottoman Empire. Believing Ares is responsible for the war, Diana arms herself with the sword and leaves Themyscira with Steve to find and destroy Ares.

When the two arrive in London, they deliver Maru’s notebook to the Supreme War Council, including Sir Patrick Morgan, who is trying to negotiate an armistice with Germany. Diana translates Maru’s notes and reveals that the Germans plan to release the deadly gas at the warfront. So Steve, with secret funding from Sir Patrick, recruits spy Sameer, marksman Charlie, and smuggler Chief to help prevent the gas from being released. Diana rallies the Allied Forces on the Western Front in Belgium,

Steve and Diana infiltrate a gala held at the nearby German High Command intending to locate the gas and destroy it, and kill Ludendorff, however Ludendorff unleashes the gas killing many so Diana pursues Him to a base where the gas is being loaded into a bomber aircraft bound for London. Diana discovers Ares whereabouts and confronts him. After destroying the ceremonial sword, Ares tells Diana she is the true “Godkiller”, and tries to persuade her to help him destroy humankind to restore paradise on Earth…