Keanu Reeves biography 2022

Actor Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves biography

Keanu Reeves was born in Beirut, Lebanon, on September 2, 1964.

His father, Samuel Nowlin Reeves, was a Chinese-Hawaiian geologist, while his British mother, Patricia Taylor, was a showgirl. In 1966, after the birth of the second child Kim, the family moved to Australia for a year.

Patricia and Samuel divorced. With custody of the children, Patricia moved to New York City, where she married stage director Paul Aaron. The family relocated to Toronto, Canada, and became Canadian citizens. A year later, the couple divorced, and Patricia was married to rock promoter Robert Miller, a move that led to her job as a costume designer for Alice Cooper.

In 1976, Keanu welcomed sister number two, Karina, to the family. His early education began at Toronto's Jesse Ketchum Public School.

Next, Keanu attended four high schools, including the Toronto School for the Performing Arts. But he had little interest in academics, and the only fun he had in school was studying drama and playing ice hockey. He was so good as a goalkeeper that he was nicknamed The Wall. Keanu Reeves dropped out of school without getting his degree. He wanted to be an actor, but it was difficult to get work, even though he studied at the famous Second City workshop in Toronto for a year. He worked in landscaping, sharpened skates at an ice rink, and even managed a pasta restaurant to make ends meet.

In 1980, Keanu Reeves was cast in a television commercial for Coca-Cola. A few years later, a commercial for Kellogg's Corn Flakes was added to his resume. At the same time, he got some stage work appearing in Wolfboy in 1984 and as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet a year later. Two small movies followed in 1985: television's Letting Go with John Ritter and One Step Away. His big break came when he joined the cast of Youngblood (1986), a hockey film starring Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze.

In 1986, Keanu Reeves packed up $3,000 and his belongings in an old Volvo and drove to Hollywood with the hopes of contacting his first stepfather Paul Aaron. He hired a manager, and at the time, it was suggested that he change his name to "K.C. Reeves."

He went back to the Keanu. In addition to five television movies in 1986, including a remake of Babes in Toyland starring Drew Barrymore, Keanu Reeves starred in the dark teen angst drama River's Edge (1986).

Oliver Stone offered the part of Chris Taylor in Platoon (1986), but he turned it down, and it went to Charlie Sheen instead. A string of little movies followed in 1988 - The Night Before, Permanent Record, and The Prince of Pennsylvania - before Keanu appeared in a major motion picture. The Oscar-winning Dangerous Liaisons with John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Uma Thurman.

The following year, Keanu auditioned for a bit of time-travel comedy called Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989). Although he tried out for the part of Bill Preston, he was chosen to star as harebrained slacker Ted.

The film was a hit, and his "excellent, dude" attitude became his trademark. After landing supporting roles in Parenthood (1989) and the Kevin Kline comedy I Love You to Death (1990), Reeves returned to starring roles with Tune in Tomorrow... (1990) and Point Break (1991), a movie about a FBI agent who must infiltrate a gang of surfers to catch bank robbers.

His following projects were Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991), My Own Private Idaho (1991), Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), Much Ado About Nothing (1993), Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993), and the unsuccessful Bernardo Bertolucci film, Little Buddha (1993). What came next was a role that would change his career and introduce him to a whole new audience.

In the summer blockbuster Speed (1994), Keanu Reeves was cast as a bomb on a bus filled with passengers. Grossing almost $300 million at the worldwide box office and making a star of Sandra Bullock, Keanu was established as a bona fide movie star who could carry a movie. Keanu Reeves continued alternating between small dramas and big movies, with the films Johnny Mnemonic (1995), A Walk in the Clouds (1995), Chain Reaction (1996), Feeling Minnesota (1996), and The Last Time I Committed Suicide (1997).

In 1997, he joined Al Pacino and Charlize Theron in the thriller, The Devil's Advocate.

With his status as an action star still intact from a few years ago, especially since he had refused to appear in the Speed sequel, Keanu was offered a starring role in a science-fiction picture by the Wachowski brothers. That flick was The Matrix (1999), a film that became a cult classic and earned almost half a billion dollars in box-office receipts.

Commanding a salary of over $12 million per film, Reeves appeared in the football comedy The Replacements (2000), The Watcher (2000), The Gift (2000), Sweet November (2001), and Hard Ball (2001) with Diane Lane. Reeves' following films were The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions (he received a paycheck of $15 million-plus, 15% of the gross for both sequels), and the Jack Nicholson vehicle Something's Gotta Give, all released in 2003. Thumbsucker (2004), the comic book adaptation Constantine (2005), and Tripoli (2007) are Keanu's following projects.

Keanu Reeves is also an avid musician. He used to play bass in the rock band Dogstar, which released the album Our Little Visionary in 1996.

In 2002, he joined a new band, Becky, along with former Dogstar member Rob Mailhouse. A private man by nature, Keanu Reeves splits his time between Beverly Hills and Toronto.

last updated October 2022

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