Keanu Reeves was born in Beirut, Lebanon. Reeves’ first name “Keanu” means “cool
breeze over the mountains”. When Reeves first came to Hollywood to be
an actor, his agent thought his name was too exotic and suggested he changed it. So, in the early movies in his career, he
is sometimes credited as K.C. Reeves (after his full name Keanu Charles
Reeves), or Norman Kreeves, or Chuck Spadina. After leaving England, Keanu’s mother Patricia
Taylor worked as a showgirl in Paris and then in a Beirut casino where she met Reeves’
father, Samuel Nowlin Reeves Jr. They later moved to Toronto where Taylor began
working as a costume designer. One of her clients was rock star Alice Cooper
who used to babysit Reeves. His father was addicted to heroin for two
decades. He abandoned his family when Reeves was three
years old. Reeves last met him when he was 13 years old
and never kept in touch after that. His father was arrested in 1992 at Hilo International
Airport while attempting to sell heroin to someone. He received 10 years in prison but was paroled
after two years. There is a movement called “Keanu Code”
which claims that you can know about the hidden forces that control and influence the world
by studying the movies Reeves starred in. Keanu Reeves wrote a book of sad poems titled
An Ode to Happiness as a joke after a photo of him looking sad and eating a sandwich alone
on a bench went viral. When one of Reeves’ friends, Janey Bergam,
was at his house listening to sad, self-pitying songs in the spirit of poking fun at them
he began to write a poem. The first few lines go, “I draw a hot sorrow
bath/In my despair room/I wash my hair with regret shampoo,” along with mentions of
his “pain soap,” “I hate myself face cream,” and “alone again silk pajamas.” 4,000 limited edition copies were published. Pick it up on Amazon for as little as $821! Reeves is an avid motorcyclist. He co-founded Arch Motorcycle Company, which
builds and sells custom motorcycles. Reeves had his daughter and girlfriend pass
away within 15 months of each other. Reeves’ girlfriend Jennifer Syme was an
American actress and personal assistant to director David Lynch and Dave Navarro. In January 2000, Syme gave birth to her and
Reeves’ stillborn daughter Ava Archer Syme-Reeves after eight months of pregnancy. The grief caused a strain on their relationship. On April 2, 2001, after leaving a party at
Marilyn Manson’s house, Syme drove her Jeep Grand Cherokee into a row of three parked
cars on Cahuenga Boulevard, Los Angeles. This caused her car to roll over several times,
partially ejecting her and killing her instantly. After his success in Speed in 1994, Reeves
became very selective of his work. In 1995, he turned down an $11 million offer,
his largest paycheck to date, for Speed 2 in order to tour with his band
Dogstar and to play the title role in Hamlet at the Manitoba Theatre Centre. Later in 1997, he took a pay cut of $1 million
so that Al Pacino could be cast in The Devil’s Advocate. In 2000, he took a 90% pay cut so that Gene
Hackman could be cast in The Replacements, The next year, Reeves gave up his share of
ticket profits, an estimated $38 million, for working in The Matrix sequels so that
the producers would have the flexibility for an extensive special effects budget. Keanu gave $50 million of his $70 million
earnings from The Matrix sequels to the special effects and makeup staff, saying “Money
is the last thing I think about. I could live on what I have already made for
the next few centuries.” And, in other great facts, Keanu was once
manager of a pasta shop in Toronto, once had a job sharpening ice skates and speaks French
fluently. And don’t forget, June 15 has been declared
“Cheer-up Keanu Day” so let’s celebrate the legend that is Keanu Reeves!