Dana Reeve RememberedBy Susan Bush
12:00AM / Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Williamstown - The March 6 death of Dana Reeve, known for her talents as a singer and actor and her uncompromising devotion to her late husband, actor, director and activist Christopher Reeve, has impacted this small town, its' residents and its' renowned summertime showcase, the Williamstown Theater Festival.
|Dana Reeve died of lung cancer on March 6.|
Reeve died of lung cancer late Monday. She was 44 years old.
"We'll Miss Her Very Much"
Richard and Carol DeMayo, owners of the Bonnie Lea Farm on Route 7, were long-time friends of the couple. The news of Dana Reeve's death came as a cruel blow, said Richard DeMayo.
"Dana was a warm person, a terrific person, no airs at all," said DeMayo. "She was a rock with Chris, and with helping him. She was a good mother, a good person, and a great entertainer. Everything that she did for Chris she did whole-heartedly. This is such a loss...we'll miss her very much."
In August 2005, Reeve, a non-smoker, announced that she'd been diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. During interviews that followed her diagnosis, Reeve seemed optimistic about beating the cancer and had said during at least one CBS news interview that the cancer was responding well to treatment.
In January 2006, she sang publicly at Madison Square Garden during an event honoring New York Rangers hockey legend Mark Messier.
"A Beautiful And Talented Woman"
Williamstown Theater Festival Director Roger Rees described Dana Reeve as "a beautiful and talented woman."
"Dana was one of the great examples of what the Williamstown Theater Festival and theater in general can do with a life," Rees said, and added that both Dana and Christopher Reeve began their careers as unknown entities within the WTF family.
"They both moved through the festival and became international stars," Rees said.
Dana Reeve was a member of the WTF Board of Trustees. In 2005, Rees announced that the final performance of each subsequent WTF season will be dedicated to the memory and work of Christopher Reeve.
Dana Reeve's professional and personal accomplishments stand as a testament to her strength and talent, he said.
"We celebrate her life," he said.
Dana [Morosini] Reeve was performing as a member of the WTF company when she met Christopher Reeve in 1987. The couple married in 1992, and had a son, Will, who is now 13 years old. The family had a home on Treadwell Hollow Road.
Admiration, Adoration, and Respect
Dana Reeve earned tremendous world-wide admiration, adoration, and respect for her unwavering support of her husband after a spring 1995 horseback riding accident left Christopher Reeve paralyzed from the neck down. Christopher Reeve died in October 2004 and Dana Reeve became chairwoman of the Christopher Reeve Foundation following his death. She was the founder of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center.
She continued to perform throughout the years of her marriage and after her husband's death. Among her television appearances were roles on the NBC television series "Law and Order." She hosted a Lifetime Network daily talk show during 2000. She appeared in the movies "The Brooke Ellison Story" and "Above Suspicion."
Her WTF work included a June 2004 "Cabaret & Main" performance at the theater's Main Stage, a 1998 performance as "Marie Castle" in a production of "The Big Knife", which was directed by Joanne Woodward, and a 1997 performance as "Julie Glynn" in a WTF production of "Johnny On The Spot."
She appeared as chorus member Dana Morosini during a 1989 WTF performance of "John Brown's Body." Christopher Reeve acted in a leading role during the production.
Christopher and Dana Reeve performed together during a 1994 WTF 40th anniversary celebration performance of "De-Lovely."
"This Seems So Unfair"
The DeMayo family shared family events and numerous holidays, such as in-town Thanksgiving weekend and New Year's Eve celebrations, with Christopher and Dana Reeve. The Reeve family attended the 2004 wedding of the DeMayo's daughter Carin. Will Reeve is close in age to a DeMayo grandson.
Carol DeMayo sent an e-mail to Dana Reeve last week, and the communication was unanswered, Richard DeMayo said.
"We didn't think very much about that," he said, and noted that Dana Reeve was known for leading a busy, fulfilling life. "There was a good, loving relationship between families."
DeMayo said that the family's heart goes out to Will Reeve, who will be 14 years old later this year. In less than two years, the young man has lost both parents, DeMayo said.
"He's an amazing kid, a great kid, very strong and mature," DeMayo said. "I know he will be well taken care of, and I'm sure that he will handle this, but it will be difficult."
Christopher and Dana Reeve were a down-to-earth couple committed to each other, to friends and family, and to finding a cure for paralysis. The death of Dana Reeve so soon after her husband seems especially sad, DeMayo said.
"They were just warm, genuine people," he said. "Cancer is a horrible thing, and this seems so unfair."
Susan Bush may be reached ay email@example.com or at 802-823-9367.