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A: I just watched the movie "Somewhere in Time," As usual, I cried all the way through it. A friend told me Christopher Reeve appeared in a soap opera. Is she right? Jasmine, Fort Worth, Texas.

Q: Yes he was on "Love of Life," from 1972-1974. His character Ben Harper was a ne'er-do-well. He was a lying, conniving, bigamist. Reeve was 22 at the time. It was his major break. I had the chance to interview him when he was on the show. It was before he beefed up to play "Superman." At the time, he was lanky and happy to have a steady job.

He was fresh out of the famed Juilliard School in New York and talked to me about one of his fellow classmates: "I have a very good friend from school. He is great at everything because unlike me he can let go. He wore tie-dyed shirts with tracksuit bottoms and talked a mile a minute. I'd never seen so much energy contained in one person. He was like an untied balloon that had been inflated and immediately released. I watched in awe as he virtually caromed off the walls of the classrooms and hallways. To say that he was 'on' would be a major understatement."

He was talking about Robin Williams. It was before Williams shot to stardom. Reeve went on to say that not only was this guy a great actor, but also he was a great friend. "A lot of times we were too broke to buy food. Our rooms were across the hall. Robin came up with an idea. We would keep our doors open. If one of us was hungry would grab food from the other guy's fridge. It worked. We never starved."

The two who sadly died too young, remained close. Upon William's death the Reeves family issued the following statement: "We will cherish [Robin] ... for the quiet and unwavering support he showed our family through the hardest times.

The world knew Robin as a comedic titan, but to our family, he was simply one of our dad's dearest friends."

It has been rumored that Williams helped pay Reeve's medical expenses after the horse riding accident that paralyzed him.

At the time of our meeting, I asked Reeve he what he considers a great compliment. "It is not a compliment when someone says I have nice eyes." Nice? They were gorgeous!

"My parents got together. Because of that, I have these eyes. I love doing pottery. If someone says to me, 'Chris that it is a nice pot,' that's a great compliment. It is something I created."

During his "Love of Life" stint, Katherine Hepburn asked him to play opposite her in a touring production of a "Matter of Gravity."

After that he went on to play the Man of Steel. He once said that being in a major movie can be life-changing. He was not talking about fame or money. He was talking about the star treatment you get while promoting the project.

"Everywhere you go, people do everything for you. You never have to get yourself a cup of coffee, open a door, do anything for yourself everyone does it for you. When you get back to reality, you have to remember you need to do all those things for yourself. For the first week you have to go 'no one is going to do this for me.' I like it better that way."

It seems almost like Greek tragedy that after his paralyzing horse riding accident he had to rely on others to do those tasks for him.

In a strange coincidence, I was at Mackinac Island the day of that accident. "Somewhere in Time" was filmed there. He would often attend "Somewhere in Time" fan weekends. He attended the event from time to time. The staff was heartbroken — unsure if he would survive the mishap.

They recalled, "He was so nice."

"Never acted like he was a big deal."

"A gentleman."

The event still takes places on the Island at the end of October.

To find out more about Lynda Hirsch and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.

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