FLASHBACK: Christopher Reeve on ‘The Tonight Show’

Sept. 25, 2009 | 12:30 p.m.


The late Christopher Reeve would have been 57 today.

The actor, born in New York in 1952, died on October 10, 2004, after a truly valient second-life as a champion for victims of spinal cord injury and advocate for stem cell research. Reeve had been left a quadriplegic after he was thrown from a horse in Virginia in 1995 during an eventing competition.

The Man of Steel in four films, he also had memorable turns in “Remains of the Day,” “Deathtrap” and “Somewhere in Time.” He is sorely missed. Here’s a look at his appearance on ” The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson” shortly after the release of Richard Donner’s 1978 classic “Superman.”

— Geoff Boucher


Bob Holiday as Superman on Broadway

A look back: Superman on Broadway in 1966

Richard Donner: Give Geoff Johns a crack at a new Superman movie 

See the 1959 L.A. Times coverage of George Reeves death

More footage of the caped George Reeves and the trailer for “Hollywoodland” 

The Superman problem: Can he still fly in 21st century?

The sordid secret of “Superman” co-creator Joe Shuster

All images from the Los Angeles Times archive.


8 Responses to FLASHBACK: Christopher Reeve on ‘The Tonight Show’

  1. ScottA says:

    What a great guy Reeve was, and such a tragedy that he died so young. I think it shows how classy a guy he was that he didn't correct Carson when Carson thought that Kryptonite GAVE Superman his powers… Reeve just politely changed the subject instead of embarrasing Carson. Also, I thought he kept his cool and even held his own surrounded by some of the greatest comedians of the time, despite clearly being a little nervous; most people would have been speechless or unable to keep up with all those guys at once.

  2. Robert says:

    The one and only Superman.
    God Bless yuo Chris, we love and miss you Superman

  3. Jason Davis says:

    It made me smile seeing this. It was sad how this perfect choice for Superman ended. When he had his accident, Superman truly died. They keep trying to replace you Christopher, but they never will. We miss you.

  4. Linda Serra says:

    I miss Christopher Reeves and agree that he made one of the best superman heoros ever! What a great loss for Hollywood and all his fans! Imagine only $4.50 for a movie ticket when he starred in Superman!!!

  5. timdan says:

    I have nothing against Christopher Reeves, but I really don't understand why everyone thinks he is the embodiment of Superman! I've seen the movies. They're not that good. They were probably amazing for their time, and set a new standard, but they do not hold up. Christopher Reeves is awesome, again, but just wasn't that great of a superman. (I know I'm going to get flack for this…)

    • MzTropiq says:

      Why Christopher Reeve was such an affective Superman was because in his own personal life he held those standards that the character does. He never let Hollywood get to his head and was still working part time as a pilot while the first Superman hit the theaters.. He took the role of Superman seriously, being a father himself he took pride that the Superman movies he made were not overly violent, that it always had valuable lessons.. He also was requested many times to meet terminally ill kids as their dying wish to meet Superman and attended their funerals… And when he became a paraplegic, he over came his depression and campaigned to walk again.. he made everyone think and pay attention to his cause.. though he didn't succeed for himself his campaign is still going strong with his kids still campaigning in his memory.. today paraplegics have come leaps and bounds with new therapies and treatments..
      The most amazing thing about him he never really understood why people kept on referring to him as Superman because he thought of himself as an ordinary humble man..
      Brandon Routh failed as the character because I don't think he personally has the values that Superman does and I believe that Henry Cavill is a better choice because he has a more positive and humble persona to Brandon Routh.. And I think Christopher Reeve would have welcomed this new take on Superman and approved on Henry Cavill putting on the red cape because they are very alike.. People will just have to give this new guy a chance.. he is not an egotistical hollywood actor..

      People keep on debating on who should play those comic heroes, when they should really be looking deeply at the actors themselves.. the success of their movies depends heavily on the character of the actors.. they are believable when they believe in hero they are portraying and are willing to meet terminally ill little fans and do things beyond the movies they are making..

  6. bmw says:

    Chris Reeve is the only REAL Superman. He gave the role depth that the cartoony previous versions couldn't imagine. Now everything's about the effects, but Chris had heart.

  7. Mark says:

    Christopher Reeve was better than any special effect.

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