Keanu Reeves: Snapshot

Keanu Reeves
Date of Birth
September 02, 1964
Birth Place
Beirut, Lebanon
Whoaaa – that's Keanu Reeves' trademark phrase, first uttered as dimwitted stoner Ted Logan in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. To battle being typecast as brainless, Reeves tackled Shakespeare onstage as Hamlet and onscreen in Much Ado About Nothing, opposite Denzel Washington. But it was his action hero roles in Speed and the Matrix trilogy that put the excellence in his career.

His personal life has been less charmed. Girlfriend Jennifer Syme gave birth to a stillborn daughter before her death in a 2001 car accident; his sister Kim is fighting leukemia. When he's not acting, Reeves rides motorcycles, plays bass in his rock band Dogstar, and leads a largely reclusive life.

Keanu Reeves: Five Fun Facts

  1. Keanu Reeves' first name, taken from his great uncle, means "cool breezes over the mountains" in Hawaiian.
  2. Keanu Reeves' mother worked as a costume designer for stars, leading to the occasional wrestling match at his house. "I remember once, Keanu and I trying to take on Alice Cooper," childhood pal Evan Williams tells PEOPLE. "He tied us up like a human knot."
  3. To show his gratitude for their work on the two Matrix sequels, Keanu Reeves bought each of his 12 stuntmen a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
  4. In 1994, a professor at the Art Center College in Pasadena, Calif., introduced a course called "Films of Keanu Reeves." Each week the students studied the "cultural nuances" of his then 16-film body of work.
  5. For nearly his first decade in show business, Keanu Reeves did not rent or own a home. Between films, he would either take a room at L.A.'s famous Chateau Marmont hotel or crash at his sister Kim's home.

Keanu Reeves: Biography


Keanu Reeves

Aloha Means Goodbye

Reeves is two years old when his father, Samuel, a geologist of Hawaiian-Chinese descent, leaves the family. The elder Reeves originally met and married Reeves' British-born mother Patricia in Lebanon. After the split, Patricia moves Reeves and his sister Kim to New York City before settling for good in Toronto. There, she designs theatrical costumes for numerous stars including Dolly Parton, Alice Cooper and David Bowie. Samuel, who sees his son off and on until he is 13, will be sentenced to ten years in prison in Hawaii for cocaine possession in 1994.


High School? Bogus

After attending five high schools in five years, Reeves drops out for good, taking acting lessons and working at a hockey rink in Toronto before piling his things into a 1969 Volvo and moving to L.A.


Keanu Reeves

February 17


As lovable, time-traveling burnout Ted "Theodore" Logan in the slacker cult classic Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Reeves creates one of his most memorable characters, as well as a perception that he may share Ted's dimwitted qualities. "Look at Yoda. He's made of rubber. People say how smart he is," says Matrix producer Joel Silver to Entertainment Weekly in 2003. "People sometimes can't get past the performance to the person."

Read More on Keanu Reeves' Life

Photo Credits

Top Left: Jeff Vespa/WireImage

BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Corbis Sygma; Phil Caruso/Orion/MPTV

Edited by Julia Wang

Keanu Reeves

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