(March 17, 1961 – March 6, 2006)
was an American actress and singer. She was a founding board member and chairperson of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation.
The widow of Superman star Christopher Reeve, and tireless crusader for spinal-cord injury research, has died of lung cancer. She was 44.
Reeve died Monday at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Medical Center in New York, said Kathy Lewis, president of the Christopher Reeve Foundation.
"On behalf of the entire board of directors and staff of the Christopher Reeve Foundation, we are extremely saddened by the death of Dana Reeve, whose grace and courage under the most difficult of circumstances was a source of comfort and inspiration to all of us," Lewis said in a statement.
Reeve was born Dana Morosini in New York City to cardiologist Charles and Helen Morosini. She graduated cum laude from Middlebury College in 1984. She and her husband also received honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters from Middlebury 2004 and she pursued additional graduate studies in acting at the California Institute of the Arts.
She married actor Christopher Reeve in April 1992, and they had one child, William, who was born on June 7, 1992.
In 1995, she was thrust into the role as a very public supporter and caretaker for her husband, Christopher, when he was paralyzed in a horse-riding accident. After his death on October 10, 2004, she assumed the role of chairperson of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, which funds research on paralysis and works to improve the lives of the disabled. To date, it has awarded more than $55 million (USD) in research grants and more than $8 million in quality-of-life grants. She also had a career as a motivational speaker and activist for the rights of the disabled and proponent of stem cell research.
On August 9, 2005, at the age of 44, Reeve, a non-smoker, announced that she had been diagnosed with lung cancer. Her mother, Helen Morosini, had recently died of complications from ovarian cancer. "Now, more than ever, I feel Chris with me as I face this challenge," she said. "As always, I look to him as the ultimate example of defying the odds with strength, courage, and hope in the face of life’s adversities." She chose to disclose her illness after the National Enquirer announced that it was going to make the information public.
In 2005, Dana Reeve received the Mother of the Year Award from the American Cancer Society for her dedication and determination in raising her son after the loss of her husband.
In her final public appearances, Dana Reeve stated that the tumor had responded to therapy and was shrinking. She appeared at Madison Square Garden on January 12, 2006 to sing in honor of New York Rangers hockey great Mark Messier, whose number was retired that evening.
She is survived by her son, Will age 13, her father, Charles Morosini, two sisters, Deborah Morosini and Adrienne Morosini Heilman, and her late husband’s two grown children, Matthew and Alexandra.