Sep. 2nd, 1964
Guest TV Roles
Himself - Host
Keanu Charles Reeves (born September 2, 1964) is a Canadian actor. Reeves is known for his roles in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Speed, Point Break, and The Matrix trilogy as Neo. He has collaborated with major directors such as Stephen Frears (in the 1988 period drama Dangerous Liaisons); Gus Van Sant (in the 1991 independent film My Own Private Idaho); and Bernardo Bertolucci (in the 1993 film Little Buddha).
Reeves, whose first name means "cool breeze over the mountains" in Hawaiian, was born in Beirut, Lebanon, the son of Patricia Bond (née Taylor), an English-born costume designer/performer, and Samuel Nowlin Reeves, Jr. His father, a Hawaiian-born American, has English, Native Hawaiian, Chinese, Irish, and Portuguese ancestry. "My grandmother is Chinese and Hawaiian, so I was around Chinese art, furniture and cuisine when I was growing up," Reeves said.
After their marriage dissolved, Reeves moved with his mother and younger sister Kim to New York City, then Toronto. Stepfather #1 was 'Paul Aaron', a stage and film director - he and Patricia divorced within a year, after which she went on to marry (and divorce) rock promoter Robert Miller and hair salon owner Jack Bond. Reeves never reconnected with his biological father, who is now in prison on charges of cocaine possession. In high school, Reeves was lukewarm toward academics but took a keen interest in ice hockey (as team goalie, he earned the nickname "The Wall") and drama. He eventually dropped out of school to pursue an acting career.
After a few stage gigs and a handful of made-for-TV movies, he scored a supporting role in the 'Rob Lowe' hockey flick Youngblood (1986), which was filmed in Canada. Shortly after the production wrapped, Reeves packed his bags and headed for Hollywood. Reeves popped up on critics' radar with his performance in the dark adolescent drama River's Edge (1986), but his first popular success was the role of totally rad dude Ted Logan in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989). The wacky time-travel movie became something of a cultural phenomenon, and audiences would forever confuse Reeves's real-life persona with that of his doofy on-screen counterpart. Over the next few years, Reeves tried to shake the Ted stigma with a series of highbrow projects. He played a slumming rich boy opposite 'River Phoenix' narcoleptic male hustler in My Own Private Idaho (1991), an unlucky lawyer who stumbles into the vampire's lair in Dracula (1992), and Shakespearean party-pooper Don Jon in Much Ado About Nothing (1993).
In 1994, the understated actor became a big-budget action star with the release of Speed (1994). Its success heralded an era of five years in which Reeves would alternate between largely unwatched small films, like Feeling Minnesota (1996) and The Last Time I Committed Suicide (1997), and unwatched big films like Johnny Mnemonic (1995) and Chain Reaction (1996). After all this Reeves did the unthinkable and passed on the Speed sequel, but he struck box-office gold again a few years later with the Wachowski brothers' cyberadventure The Matrix (1999).
Despite his deadpan delivery style and reputation as an oaf, Reeves continues to reel in choice roles and fat paychecks. Whatever he knows, he's not telling the public--his self-deprecating interview tactics and mysterious private life provide little insight into his artistry. As far as Reeves is concerned, it seems, he's just a regular guy who rides a motorcycle, plays in a band (Dogstar), and shows up every now and then for a movie shoot.
- Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#28). .
- Auditioned for the Etobicoke School of the Arts in Etobicoke, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; but was rejected.
- Named after his uncle Henry Keanu Reeves. "Keanu" is a derivation of Reeves' great-great-uncle Keaweaheulu, whose name means "the soft breeze raising" in Hawaiian.
- (October 1997) Ranked #23 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list.
- Had job sharpening ice skates.
- Replaced 'Val Kilmer' (qv) as "Johnny Mnemonic" in _Johnny Mnemonic (1995)_ (qv) when Kilmer left the project upon being offered the role of "Batman" in _Batman Forever (1995)_ (qv). Ironically, Kilmer later replaced Reeves as "Chris Siherlis" in _Heat (1995)_ (qv).
- His father was a geologist who served time in prison. He was paroled after serving two years of a ten-year sentence for selling heroin at Hilo Airport in 1992.
- Loves ballroom dancing.