He is superman, after all. So it shouldn't surprise anybody that Christopher Reeve has defied the odds again. Last week one of Reeve's rehab doctors, John W. McDonald, reported in a scientific journal that after years of intense therapy, Reeve can now move his right wrist, his hips and the fingers of his left hand. And he can feel sensations on his skin, allowing him to differentiate between a pin prick and soft cotton. No, Reeve still can't walk, button his clothes or breathe consistently without a ventilator--and no one can say whether he'll ever regain enough mobility to do any of that. But, even seemingly small advances are monumental after such a severe spinal injury. "I was blown away," says McDonald, of Washington University School of Medicine's Spinal Cord Injury Program. "His mind-set is just incredible."
When he was thrown off his horse and shattered a piece of his spinal cord in 1995, nobody--other than Reeve--thought he would regain any significant movement or feeling below his neck. And certainly not years after the injury. Most recovery occurs in the first six months and is complete within two years. But in November 2000 Reeve discovered he could voluntarily move his left index finger. From there other movement and sensation began to creep back in.
The news comes at a busy time for Reeve. This week he publishes his second book, "Nothing Is Impossible: Reflections on a New Life." On Wednesday ABC airs "Christopher Reeve: Courageous Steps," directed by the actor's son Matthew. And on Friday Reeve will talk about regaining movement and feeling with "20/20's" Barbara Walters. "It's tremendous," he tells her, "because touch is so important--particularly with children, your loved ones."
After his injury Reeve said he hoped to walk by his 50th birthday, which is next week. He's nowhere near there yet--and may never be. But what a gift: hugs from his family that he can, finally, really feel.
Cedric The Entertainer
Cedric the Entertainer's down-home humor was honed on the African-American comedy circuit. Now 39, he's got his own variety show on Fox and a leading role in the brand-new movie "Barbershop." Cedric, who won't tell his last name, spoke with NEWSWEEK's Allison Samuels.
Bernie Mac, who was in Spike Lee's "Kings of Comedy" with you, says he owes his career to the chitlin circuit. What about you?
No doubt. Going to the Deep South--to small cities where you coming into town is the major entertainment they have to look forward to--is definitely what got all of us to where we are. That's your core crowd. They can be loyal to you, and they love to laugh.
You and the rapper Nelly are both from St. Louis, and you did intros on both his albums.
Yeah, I used to hold these talent shows in St. Louis back in the day, and Nelly and his group the Lunatics would be in them as kids. They were mad talented. My only regret is that I didn't get a deal to make some money from his albums--at least three cents an album.
Bernie says that it's harder being a darker-skinned black man in the entertainment business because you might be perceived as threatening. Do you agree?
I think that both Bernie and I have a particular type of African-American humor that's taken the mainstream a minute to warm to. And there can be an element of a threatening thing because of skin color, but I've always considered myself a cuddly, chocolate, sexy man (laughs). You know--like a teddy bear?
Compared to Eddie Murphy with his red leather suit, you dress like the brother from next door.
Well, I'm from the gentleman's generation, where a nice simple suit would get you in the door. A nice suit and a kickin' hat was all you needed to get the job--that and to be funny. And plus, I'm a grown-ass man and a grown-ass man should dress a certain way.
You use that phrase as the title of your book. What else is involved in being a grown-ass man?
You know, things like whether or not you play basketball with 20-year-olds.