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Beirut-born Keanu Reeves turns 58 today, with film lovers across the planet wishing the star a happy birthday. The Matrix actor has earned huge sums of cash for his roles, as well as amassing a legion of dedicated fans. Reeves’ filmography does not end at the Matrix, and includes turns in Point Break, the Bill & Ted films, as well as the voice of Duke Caboom in Disney’s Toy Story 4.
While his exploits on camera are often hailed, what is sometimes forgotten is his incredible generosity away from it.
When his sister Kim was diagnosed with leukaemia, Reeves donated 70 percent of his film fee from The Matrix to hospitals in order to treat the disease.
According to Bright Vibes, a positive news story website, Reeves once said: “My younger sister had leukaemia. Today she is cured, and I donated 70 percent of my gains from the movie Matrix to Hospitals that treat leukaemia.
“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 $100million, I still ride the subway and I love it!”
The Mirror reported in 2020 that as a result of his sister’s diagnosis Reeves set up a foundation in order to help others who struggled with the condition.
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.”
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Reeves’ life has been fraught with challenges, including when his girlfriend Jennifer Syme died in a 2001 car crash, just over a year after the pair’s daughter Ava was stillborn.
The star also recalled how his father walked out on his family when Reeves was three, and how in 1993 he lost his best friend River Phoenix to a drug overdose.
The American continued: “Working a lot and constantly moving from one film set to another has been important in helping me overcome some of the more painful times in my life.
“Every film set gives me the feeling that I’m part of a new family and I feel fortunate to be able to have a job that gives me a lot of satisfaction.
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“But I still work at finding more inner strength and wisdom and hopefully look towards the future with greater optimism.”
Reeves’ tales of generosity have become Hollywood gold, and he once gave around £75million of his Matrix earnings to those working behind the scenes.
It was a gesture that shocked many, but for Reeves it was worthy considering their amount of work.
Other notable moments that have stunned his fans include when he was pictured hanging out with a homeless man, sharing food and stories with him for hours.
In describing his life, Reeves added: “It’s always nice to open your eyes every morning and see the world – it all seems so simple!
“That’s why I frequently use an expression that I like very much, and which gives me peace of mind: ‘I’m happy to be here’.
“That enormous sense of gratitude is enough for me – I don’t need to surround myself with a lot of objects and possessions to feel that way.”
Growing up, Reeves recalled how England itself had an impact on him, as the country was where his mother Patricia was born.
Speaking to the Mail on Sunday in 2008, he said: “I haven’t gone back to Hampshire (where his mother was born). My mother left home when she was very young, 14 or 15. But she is a very independent woman and passed that on.
“She gave me British manners – which side of the plate the fork goes on, but also the two fingers (he gives me the V-sign). That was an attitude I inherited.
“I do feel English. I was raised on The Two Ronnies, Monty Python… I always loved the irreverence.”
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