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Paralyzed Actor Appears At Benefit

With his blue eyes bright and his chiseled features as handsome as ever, Christopher Reeve joked about his misfortune Monday at his first public appearance since a horse-backriding accident left him paralyzed five months ago.

Reeve, unable to move from the shoulders down, appeared in his wheelchair to present an award to Robin Williams at a benefit dinner for the Creative Coalition, an actors’ advocacy group.

Reeve told the audience of 500 celebrities that he decided to attend the gala after recalling what a former English teacher had once told another student about skipping school.

“She said, ‘The only excuse you could have is a quadruple amputation, and even then you could come in a basket,”’ Reeve said. “So I thought I’d better show up.”

Reeve, 42, broke his neck May 27 when he was thrown from a horse and landed on his head during a riding competition in Culpeper, Va.

The 6-foot-4-inch actor breathes with a ventilator and activates his electric wheelchair by blowing through a tube.

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