From 1978's Superman: The Movie to 1987's Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Reeve was indelibly linked to the Superman franchise, a fact he remained well aware of until the end of his life. The movies made him a star, yet he longed to "escape the cape." He made concerted efforts to play other roles, but he couldn't quite shake Superman's specter, despite the acclaim his other work received. Reeve demonstrated heroic qualities of his own as he struggled to overcome physical disability after breaking his neck in an equestrian accident. The direction of his life changed. Instead of fighting fictional aliens or typecasting Hollywood directors, Reeve took on Congress, lobbying for disabled rights and increased support for stem cell research, a divisive cause in the recent election. Even when confined to a wheelchair, Superman never strayed far from Reeve. One of his last roles was an appearance on Smallville as a mysterious astronomer sent to inform Clark Kent about his past, a nudge and a wink to the generation who knew him best as a man able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.