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The February update of the American National Biography features four new essays, including Christopher Reeve, Superman actor and activist for people with spinal cord injuries; White House press corps journalist Helen Thomas; Alice Rivlin, economist who served as vice chair of the Federal Reserve and director of the Office of Management and Budget; and S. Willard Saxton, printmaker, Civil War veteran, and federal government employee.
Christopher Reeve (1952 – 2004) rose to worldwide fame as the star of the Superman films during the 1980s. His acting career came to a halt in 1995 when he broke his neck in a horseback riding accident. Reeve’s second act was as an advocate for spinal cord research. He gave speeches, did countless interviews, raised money, and lobbied Congress, insurers, and the medical community to do more for the 300,000 Americans living with spinal cord injuries. He also continued to act and direct as his recovery allowed. At his death, his Christopher Reeve Foundation had raised $47 million for spinal cord research.