Keanu Reeves Biography

    Keanu Charles Reeves is a Canadian-American actor best known for his portrayal of Neo in the action film trilogy The Matrix, Ted Logan in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, and Officer Jack Traven in Speed.

    Other notable roles include Siddhartha Gautama in Little Buddha; as Scott Favor in the drama My Own Private Idaho opposite River Phoenix; as Johnny Mnemonic in the sci-fi film Johnny Mnemonic opposite Dolph Lundgren; as Kevin Lomax in the supernatural thriller The Devil's Advocate opposite Al Pacino; the chevalier Danceny in Dangerous Liaisons; and starring roles in Chain Reaction, Constantine and the epic surf drama Point Break.

    He played bass guitar in the grunge band Dogstar during the 1990s, and more recently in the band Becky. In an ET online survey in 2006, he was included in the "Top Ten of America's Favorite Stars". On January 31, 2005, Reeves received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

    Early Life

    Reeves was born in Beirut, Lebanon, as the son of Patricia Bond (née Taylor), a costume designer/performer, and Samuel Nowlin Reeves, Jr., a geologist. Reeves's mother is English, and his father is an American of Hawaiian and Chinese descent. Reeves's mother was working in Beirut when she met his father.

    Reeves' father worked as an unskilled labourer and it is alleged that he earned his GED while being imprisoned in Hawaii for selling heroin at the Hilo International Airport (Reeves' father confirmed this in a 2001 interview). He abandoned his wife and family when Reeves was 3, and Reeves does not currently have any relationship with him.

    Reeves is named after his uncle, Henry Keanu Reeves. Keanu is a Hawaiian word which means cool breeze over the mountains. When Reeves first arrived in Hollywood, his agent thought his first name was too exotic, so during the early days of his film career, he was sometimes credited as K.C. Reeves.

    Reeves has one biological sister named Kim (born 1966 in Australia) who was diagnosed with leukemia in the early 1990s. Additionally, through his mother, he has a half-sister named Karina Miller (born 1976 in Toronto) and through his father another half-sister named Emma Rose Reeves (born 1980 in Hawaii).

    Reeves experienced an unstable childhood moving around the world frequently and living with various stepfathers. His parents divorced in 1966. His mother became a costume designer and moved the family to Australia and then to New York City. There she met and married Paul Aaron, a Broadway and Hollywood director.

    The couple moved to Toronto but divorced in 1971. Reeves' mother then married Robert Miller, a rock promoter, in 1976, but the couple divorced in 1980. Her fourth husband, Jack Bond, was a hairdresser. That marriage broke up in 1994. Grandparents and nannies babysat Reeves and his sisters.

    Reeves grew up primarily in Toronto. Within a span of five years, he attended four different high schools, including the Etobicoke School of the Arts, from which he was later expelled. Half-jokingly, Reeves says that he was expelled "because I was greasy and running around a lot. I was just a little too rambunctious and shot my mouth off once too often. I was not generally the most well-oiled machine in the school. I was just getting in their way, I guess."

    Reeves excelled more in hockey than in academics, as his educational development was challenged by dyslexia. He was a successful goalie at one of his high schools (De La Salle College "Oaklands"). His team nicknamed him "The Wall," and voted him MVP.

    Reeves says that he would dream of becoming an Olympic hockey player for Canada. After leaving De La Salle College, he attended a free school (Avondale Alternative), which allowed him to obtain an education while working as an actor; he later dropped out, never obtaining his high school diploma.


    Reeves began his acting career at the age of nine. He appeared on stage at a production of Damn Yankees. At 15, he played Mercutio in a stage production of Romeo and Juliet at the Leah Posluns Theatre. Reeves made his screen acting debut in a CBC Television comedy series, Hangin' In.

    Throughout the early 1980s, he appeared in commercials (including one for Coca-Cola), short films including the NFB drama One Step Away and stage work such as Brad Fraser's cult hit Wolf Boy in Toronto. In 1984, he was a correspondent for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation TV youth program Going Great.

    Reeves' first studio movie appearance was in the Rob Lowe ice hockey film Youngblood, which was filmed in Canada. In it, he played a Quebecois goalie. Shortly after the movie's release, Reeves drove to Los Angeles in his 1969 Volvo.

    His ex-stepfather Paul Aaron, a stage and television director, had convinced Erwin Stoff to be Reeves' manager and agent before he even arrived in Los Angeles. Stoff has remained Reeves' manager, and has co-produced many of his films.

    After a few minor roles, Reeves received a more sizable role in 1986's River's Edge. Following the film's success, he spent the late 1980s appearing in a number of movies aimed at teenage audiences, including Permanent Record, and the unexpectedly successful 1989 comedy, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, which, along with its 1991 sequel, Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, typecast Reeves as a sweet-natured teen.

    Much of his subsequent portrayal in the press and much of the response to his acting has been influenced by his portrayal of the airheaded Ted. Reeves has said, "I used to have nightmares that they would put 'He played Ted' on my tombstone".

    During the early 1990s, Reeves started to break out of his teen-film period. He appeared in high-budget action films like Point Break, for which he won MTV's "Most Desirable Male" award in 1992. He was also involved in various lower-budget independent films, including the well-received 1991 film, My Own Private Idaho with his close friend, the late River Phoenix.

    In 1994, Reeves' career reached a new height as a result of his starring role in the action film Speed. His casting in the film was controversial since, except for Point Break, he was primarily known for comedies and indie dramas. He had never been the sole headliner on a film.

    Reeves' career choices after Speed were eclectic: despite his successes, Reeves has never stopped accepting supporting roles, and he has always been willing to support experimental efforts. He scored a hit with a romantic lead role in A Walk in the Clouds. He made news by refusing to take part in Speed 2: Cruise Control and choosing to play the title role in a Manitoba Theatre Centre production of Hamlet in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

    Reeves' other choices after A Walk in the Clouds, however, failed with critics and audiences. Big-budget films such as Johnny Mnemonic and Chain Reaction were critically panned and failed at the box office, while indie films like Feeling Minnesota were also critical failures.

    Reeves started to climb out of his career low after starring in the horror/drama The Devil's Advocate alongside Al Pacino and Charlize Theron. Reeves deferred his salary for The Devil's Advocate, so that Pacino would be cast, as he would do later for the less successful The Replacements, guaranteeing the casting of Gene Hackman.

    The Devil's Advocate did well at the box office, received good reviews, and proved that Reeves could play a grown-up with a career, although many critics felt that his poor performance detracted from an otherwise enjoyable movie.

    The 1999 science fiction hit, The Matrix, solidified Reeves's place as an international superstar. In between the first Matrix film and its sequels, Reeves received positive reviews for his portrayal of an abusive husband in The Gift. Aside from The Gift, Reeves appeared in several films that received mostly negative reviews and unimpressive box office grosses, including The Watcher, Sweet November and The Replacements.

    However, the two Matrix sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, Something's Gotta Give, and the 2005 horror-action film, Constantine, proved to be box office successes and brought Reeves back into the public spotlight.

    His 2006 film, A Scanner Darkly, based on the science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick, received favourable reviews, and The Lake House, his romantic outing with Sandra Bullock, did not do well at the box office.

    Reeves played the main character in two 2008 films, Street Kings and The Day the Earth Stood Still. In February 2009 The Private Life of Pippa Lee - where Reeves starred alongside with Robin Wright Penn, Julianne Moore, Alan Arkin, Winona Ryder, Maria Bello, Monica Bellucci, Zoe Kazan, Ryan McDonald, Blake Lively, Robin Weigert - was presented at Berlinale.

    Personal Life

    For nearly a decade following his initial rise to stardom, Reeves preferred to live in rented homes and hotels and was a long-term resident of the Chateau Marmont. Reeves bought his first house in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles around 2003, and also has an apartment on Central Park West in New York City.

    Although born in Lebanon, Reeves is not a Lebanese citizen, because his parents were not Lebanese. Instead, he is a naturalized Canadian citizen who also holds American and British citizenship through the principle of Jus sanguinis.

    Reeves has never been married. In December 1999, Reeves' girlfriend Jennifer Syme gave birth to a stillborn daughter who was named Ava Archer Syme-Reeves. In April 2001, Syme was killed in a car accident. She was buried next to their daughter in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.
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