Today marks 44 years since the release of Superman, in which Christopher Reeve defined the role. Curiously, the anniversary coincides with the exit of Henry Cavill from the role of Superman — at least for the time being.

Just as much as Christopher Reeve defined Superman, Superman defined Christopher Reeve. The actor tried to avoid typecasting by branching out into very different roles. But he was also always conscious of not taking roles that might tarnish the character for which he was best known.

In his 1998 memoir, Still Me, Christopher Reeve looked back on his life before and after the horse-riding accident that paralyzed him in 1995. He recalled that after the success of Superman in 1978, “some producers would not cast me because I had played Superman, others cast me because I had.”

Here are five roles Christopher Reeve passed on — and one he wanted but couldn’t get.

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