Hollywood has so many "nice" guys. Then whom are we talking about? We're talking about birthday boy Keanu Reeves who turns 51 today. Wondering what makes him a genuinely nice guy? Read on as we explain. Keanu (which means cool breeze over the mountains in Hawaiian) is known to be one of the most generous and charitable celebrities in the industry. The Canadian actor, producer, writer, director and musician began his acting career more than three decades ago, back in 1985. He starred in Point Break and Speed, before his greatest blockbuster ever – The Matrix, in 1999.
Humble as a Keanu
Not only does he ride the subway, but he also gives up his seat for women. Don't believe us? Just watch it below. He is very humble, down to earth and enjoys the simple things in life. He said, "It's easy to stay grounded. The ground is very close. And we walk on it every day.''
Benevolence = Immortality?
He believes that money is not important. He says, "Money is the last thing I think about. I could live on what I have already made for the next few centuries." That explains why he disperses his money with such a big heart. There's a 'theory' that Keanu is immortal. This is because he closely resembles Paul Mounet, a French actor born in 1847, and how remarkably youthful he looks even at 51. What do you know, the guy just does not seem to age…
For The Matrix, he earned a total of $110 million, out of which he gave away around $75 million to the film crew (special effects, makeup, etc.) just because he thought they deserved it. To top that, Keanu gave each member of the stuntman team a Harley Davidson motorbike as a gift. That kind of charity is hard to match.
Compromise & Compensate
His niceness does not end with The Matrix. For the 1997 film The Devil's Advocate, Keanu agreed to cut short his pay by a few million dollars, so the producers could also afford to bring on Al Pacino. He did the same thing for the 2000 film The Replacements, so Gene Hackman could be brought on board. He actually took a 90 percent pay-cut for that. NINETY percent! Keanu also had the chance to star in a movie opposite legends Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in the 1995 thriller, Heat. He turned it down, instead opting to play Hamlet at an 800-seat theatre in Manitoba. What a guy.
Charity can begin anywhere
In 1997, Keanu decided to spend his morning with a homeless man – talking, sharing and treating him as an equal. This was not part of any program, he just felt like it. He has set up a private cancer foundation to help a number of children's hospitals. When his sister, Kim, was diagnosed with leukaemia, he became her main caregiver, spending millions of dollars on her treatment. He also supports PETA, the SickKids Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer.
Those who have less, give more
It is sad that for someone who is so good-natured, has suffered immensely in life. In his words, "Most people know me, but don’t know my story. At the age of 3, I watched my father leave. I attended four different high schools and struggled with dyslexia, making my education more challenging than it is for most. Eventually, I left high school without earning a diploma. At the age of 23, my closest friend River Phoenix died of a drug overdose. In 1998, I met Jennifer Syme. We fell instantly in love and by 1999, Jennifer was pregnant with our daughter. Sadly, after eight months, our child was born stillborn. We were devastated by her death and it eventually ended our relationship. 18 months later, Jennifer died in a car accident. Since then I avoid serious relationships and having kids. My younger sister had leukemia. Today she is cured, and I donated 70% of my gains from the movie Matrix to hospitals that treat leukemia. I am one of the only Hollywood stars without a mansion. I don’t have any bodyguards and do not wear fancy clothes. And even though I’m worth $100 million, I still ride the subway and I love it! So in the end, I think we can all pretty well agree that even in the face of tragedy, a stellar person can thrive. No matter what’s going on in your life, you can overcome it! Life is worth living.”
Well said, Keanu. We wish you the very best for the rest of your life. Happy birthday once again, you gem.