Inspiring Story of The Matrix fame, School Dropout, Hollywood actor Keanu Charles Reeves overcoming Dyslexia and family problems

Santosh Gaikwad

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Who is Keanu Charles Reeves? (School Dropout with Dyslexia)


In 1999, Keanu Reeves became most famous for his role in the  groundbreaking science fiction film, The Matrix. It earned an impressive $463.5 million at the box office and was nominated for and won four Academy Awards. The Matrix is a happy story in a lot of ways, but the life of its star wasn’t always.

The Matrix
Watch: The Matrix

Now 50 years old, Keanu’s life has been full of more tragedy than you would expect from a movie star. Despite each setback, he’s kept pushing forward. It’s helped develop himself into the awesome person that he is on and off the screen.

Keanu Charles Reeves, whose first name means “cool breeze over the mountains” in Hawaiian, was born September 2, 1964 in Beirut, Lebanon. He is the son of Patricia Taylor, a showgirl and costume designer, and Samuel Nowlin Reeves, a geologist. Keanu’s father was born in Hawaii, of British, Portuguese, Native Hawaiian, and Chinese ancestry, and Keanu’s mother is originally from England. After his parents’ marriage dissolved, Keanu moved with his mother and younger sister, Kim Reeves, to New York City, then Toronto.

In high school, Reeves was lukewarm toward academics but took a keen interest in ice hockey and drama. He eventually dropped out of school to pursue an acting career.

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. His performance in the dark adolescent drama, River’s Edge (1986) was admired, and landed a supporting role in the Oscar-nominated Dangerous Liaisons (1988) with director Stephen Frears.

His first popular success was the role of totally rad dude “Ted Logan” in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989). He then joined the casts of Ron Howard’s comedy, Parenthood (1989) and Lawrence Kasdan’s I Love You to Death (1990).

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 small films, like Feeling Minnesota (1996) and The Last Time I Committed Suicide (1997), and big films like A Walk in the Clouds (1995) and The Devil’s Advocate (1997). 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 siblings’ cyber adventure, The Matrix (1999).

Overcoming Challenges

Well this story seems pretty smooth and straight forward with growing career graph and success one after another, but behind the scene this great actor had to fight against all odds came on his way.

Keanu Reeves in his childhood
Keanu Reeves in his childhood

1. His parent’s separated and his father left when Keanu was just 3 years old.

2. He attended four different high schools, later dropped out and did not obtain a high school diploma.

3. He Struggled with Dyslexia, which made education extremely difficult for him

4. When he was 23, his best friend River Phoenix died of drugs overdose

5. In 1999 his love and wife Jennifer Syme was pregnant with their daughter, gave birth eight months into her pregnancy to their daughter, who was stillborn. The strain put on their relationship by their grief resulted in Reeves and Syme’s breakup several weeks later.

6. In 2001 his x-wife Jennifer was killed in car accident

7. His sister had leukemia, she got cured and he donated most of his money from The Matrix to hospitals that treat leukemia.

His Simplicity, Philanthropy and community outreach

1. He donated majority of his money from The Matrix to hospitals that treat leukemia, as his sister had leukemia.

2. He doesn’t own a big house like other stars.

3. He doesn’t wear fancy cloths.

4. He is worth over $100 million and still rides a local bus

5. He set up a cancer charity, choosing not to attach his name to the organization; he has also supported PETA, the SickKids Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer.

6. He is quoted as saying “Money is the last thing I think about. I could live on what I have already made for the next few centuries”.

We all have a story, but no matter what happens, we can always overcome it.’


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