Reeve was born Dana Charles Morosini in Teaneck, New Jersey to Charles Morosini, a cardiologist, and Helen Simpson Morosini, who died in February 2005. She grew up in the town of Greenburgh, New York, where she graduated from Edgemont High School in 1979. She graduated summa cum laude in English Literature from Middlebury College in Vermont in 1984. In 2004 she and husband Christopher Reeve received honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters from Middlebury. She spent the junior year of her studies at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. In 1984, along with fellow New Yorker, Daryl E. Johnson, she pursued additional graduate studies in acting at the prestigious California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California. She married actor Christopher Reeve in Williamstown, Massachusetts in April 1992, and they had a son, William Elliot “Will” Reeve, born on June 7, 1992, whom they raised in Pound Ridge, New York. Reeve loved to ride horses. In 2005, she told Larry King: “I rode my whole life, and after Chris had his accident, I stopped riding, primarily because he loved it so much, and I think it really would have been painful for him if I was going off riding and he wasn’t able to. And it didn’t mean that much to me to drop.” Her many singing and acting credits included appearances on television, where she had guest roles on Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, soap operas All My Children as Eva Stroupe and Loving, among others. She performed at theatres on Broadway, off-Broadway, and at numerous regional theatres. Reeve also did a long-running commercial for Tide laundry detergent that aired during the 1990s. In 2000, she co-hosted a live daily talk show for women on the Lifetime Network with Deborah Roberts called Lifetime Live and also wrote a brief column for the defunct AccessLife.com These articles can be found at the Christopher Reeve Homepage. She sang the title song on the soundtrack of the HBO drama, In the Gloaming directed by her husband. Reeve also had another cameo in her husband’s movie The Brooke Ellison Story as a teacher. She authored the book, Care Packages: Letters to Christopher Reeve from Strangers and Other Friends. In 2004, she was performing in the Broadway-bound play Brooklyn Boy at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, California when she had to rush home to reach her husband’s bedside after he went into cardiac arrest and a coma. In April 2005, it was also announced that she signed a seven-figure book deal with Penguin Books to write about her relationship with her famous husband. It is not known how far Reeve got with writing the book before she died; the book was never published.
The children’s book Dewey Doo-it Helps Owlie Fly Again: A Musical Storybook Inspired by Christopher Reeve was published in 2005 and included an audio to accompany the book with Mandy Patinkin reading the story as well as Reeve and Bernadette Peters singing.On February 2, 2005, eight days before the death of her mother Helen, Reeve attended President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address seated in the Capitol gallery in Washington, D.C. as the guest of Congressman Jim Langevin. Several months before her death, Reeve taped the PBS documentary The New Medicine focusing on the growing trend in medical care combining holistic and traditional treatment. The program premiered after her death, on March 29, 2006. She also worked on the computer animated movie Everyone’s Hero, a project with the working title Yankee Irving when her husband was the director at the time of his death. The film was released on September 15, 2006, and is dedicated to both her and Christopher Reeve.
On August 9, 2005, Reeve announced that, although she had never smoked cigarettes, she had been diagnosed with lung cancer. Reeve chose to disclose her illness after The National Enquirer announced that it planned to make the information public. In 2005, 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, Reeve stated that the tumor had responded to therapy and was shrinking. She appeared at Madison Square Garden on January 12, 2006, and sang the Carole King song “Now and Forever” in honor of New York Rangers hockey player Mark Messier, whose number was retired that evening. On the night that she died, instead of having a live performer sing the national anthem at Madison Square Garden prior to the Rangers’ game, a recording of Reeve singing was played. Reeve died on March 6, 2006, at the age of 44, eleven days before her 45th birthday at Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. She was survived by her son, her father, her two sisters, and her two stepchildren.
- March, 17, 1961
- Teaneck, New Jersey
- March, 06, 2006
- New York, New York
Cause of Death
- lung cancer