But I don't have this respect for Reeves because I can't find any evidence of any charitable work or promoting causes prior to his accident.
So, if someone changes for the better, you can't respect that?
Say I'm an ordinary average joe whose wife suddenly dies of breast cancer. I become a supreme advocate for the cause, despite never having paid it attention before, doing fundraisers, volunteering at clinics for others, speaking publicly. And say that I become a nationally recognized figure as a result of it, being asked to speak by countless organizations on behalf of the cause...I'd call this the same kind of situation, and it sounds like something you wouldn't respect because I didn't do any charitable work or promote causes prior to it happening.
Life-changing experiences can cause people to change for the better. Does that mean we shouldn't respect who they are now because that wasn't who they once were? I recognize that Reeve is famous, and that some would argue that that fame makes him self-serving. I might agree if all the things he did with his fame benefitted only him. Then again, I figure Reeve probably had enough money at the time of his accident that if he wished, he could spend it on healing himself alone, and go that route. He didn't. I don't think of him as a god (which is how I interpret "deify"), I think of him as someone who had a life-changing experience that he ultimately used to benefit the welfare of others.