By Mandy Froelich,
Keanu Reeves may be one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood. Unlike most stars who have “made it,” Reeves continues to treat every individual he meets as an equal. Furthermore, he consistently goes out of his way to make a positive difference in the lives of others. For example, former co-workers claim he often brought them free breakfast during a movie shoot. And recently, it was revealed that Reeves has been silently funding a children’s hospital for years.
Reeves, who is best known for his roles in The Matrix, Bell and Ted, and Point Break, has had anything but an easy life. When he was just 3-years-old, his father abandoned the family. Growing up, the actor attended four different high schools. His dyslexia made school a constant struggle. For this reason, he dropped out of high school. Despite the setback, he is now a voracious reader.
When Reeves was 23-years-old, his closest friend, River Phoenix, died of a drug overdose. Not long after, he met Jennifer Syme. The two fell in love and in 1999, Jennifer found out she was pregnant. But in her eighth month of pregnancy, the child was born stillborn. The couple was devastated by her death, eventually dissolving their relationship. Unfortunately, 18 months later, Syme was killed in a car accident.
Following Syme’s death, Reeves became the primary caregiver of Kim, his younger sister. She was diagnosed with leukemia in the 1990s and battled the illness for a decade before entering remission. It was during this time period that Reeves generously gave to numerous cancer charities. He also set up his own foundation in her honor without attaching his name to it. The private foundation exists to fund cancer research and support both kids’ hospitals and children’s wards.
Reeves revealed the foundation in 2009, during an interview with the Ladies’ Home Journal. He said, “I have a private foundation that’s been running for five or six years, and it helps aid a couple of children’s hospitals and cancer research. I don’t like to attach my name to it, I just let the foundation do what it does.”
Reeves had every reason to become a bitter and reclusive man in his earlier years. But, he chose to persevere and is an inspiring individual today as a result. Keanu went on to star in a variety of blockbuster films. As a result, he became a very wealthy man. But, he has never been driven by money. That’s why he gives so much of his wealth away.
In 2003, he told Hello! Magazine: “Money is the last thing I think about. I could live on what I have already made for the next few centuries.”
Reeves is so unimpressed by money, he gave $80 million of his $114 million earnings to the special effects and makeup staff of The Matrix film series. According to Higher Perspective, Reeves also took pay cuts on the films The Replacements and The Devil’s Advocates to allow for a larger, well-paid cast within the determined budget.
That’s not all… According to Reddit User Kahi, Reeves once gave a generous donation to a family friend when they desperately needed it. They wrote,
“A family friend builds movie sets, doesn’t design, is one of the poor dudes that just builds. Anyways he worked on the set for the Matrix and Keanu heard about family trouble he was having and gave him a $20,000 Christmas bonus to help him out.”
“He also was one of the only people on the set that genuinely wanted to know people’s names, would say hello and mean it, and would talk to people as if they were his peers and not below him just because they were practically making nothing to build a set,” they concluded. “I’ve never heard anyone say Keanu is a douche, seems like the nicest person in Hollywood from a second hand experience.”
Reportedly, Keanu also manned the phones at a Stand Up to Cancer telethon in 2008. He also volunteered to be the goalkeeper during a charity ice hockey match for Score (Spinal Cord Opportunities for Rehabilitation Endowment). The event was founded in support of players with spinal injuries.
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Though there are many more examples proving Keanu’s generosity, we’ll stop the list right here. Research the actor’s charitable contributions for yourself and be inspired by his uplifting example. One thing is for sure, the world could use more people like Keanu Reeves. Do you agree or disagree? Comment your thoughts below!
Image credit: 123RF