Picks and Pans Review: Talking With...
When actor Christopher Reeve, 47, became a quadriplegic after a horseback-riding accident in 1995, he and his wife, Dana, were deluged with mail from sympathetic well-wishers. Within a month they had received about 35,000 letters; four years later the total had reached a quarter million. "We read them aloud to Chris," says Dana, who wed the Superman star in 1992. "They inspired us." In her new book, Care Packages: Letters to Christopher Reeve from Strangers and Other Friends, Dana shares 200 of her favorite missives. "It popped in my mind that they would be helpful for others to read," she says. A family affair, the book is dedicated to the couple's 7-year-old son Will. Reeve's children from a previous relationship, Alexandra, 16, and Matthew, 20, helped Dana sift through the collection, which took her two years to edit.
Many letters bear the signatures of celebrity friends, including John Travolta, David Hyde Pierce, the Clintons and Nancy Reagan. (Kate Hepburn memorably wrote, "Let me know if I can do anything. Golly, what a mess.") But some of the most poignant are from people the Reeves never met. "The children's letters make me laugh," says Dana. "One from a little boy says, 'I'm sorry, let's hope it doesn't happen again.' "
Sadly missing, however, is a note from Princess Diana, whom Reeve met in the '80s. "He'd always been a fan of her grace, kindness and beauty," Dana says. Alas, the letter disappeared while the couple were renovating their Upstate New York country home to make it wheelchair-friendly.