Some facts about Keanu Reeves: He’s very private; he was really good at ice hockey once; his name means ‘cool breeze over the mountains’… because of course it does; and also, he’s nice.
Not even just baseline-decent-functioning-member-of-society kind of nice. Not just the kind that donates to charity now and then, or gives his seat up on the train (although he does that, too. See video evidence below.)
The 54-year-old Canadian is the kind of nice that actively goes out of his own way or into his own pocket to change people’s lives, to ease their burdens. And he does it without a PR man or news camera in sight.
Here are just a few examples of the beautiful phenomenon that is Kind Keanu Reeves.
He started a secret cancer charity, inspired by his sister.
When Keanu’s younger sister, Kim, was diagnosed with Leukemia in 1991, her famous brother was among her biggest champions: “He was supporting me and comforting me all the time, even when he was away,” she told Women’s Day in 1999. It took doctors more than a decade to rid her of the disease, with Keanu reportedly devoting significant amounts of money – some say in the millions – to help fund her treatment. In the years since, he has also established an organisation to support other cancer patients and fund vital research.
“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,” he told Ladies Home Journal in 2009. “I don’t like to attach my name to it, I just let the foundation do what it does.”
He took a multi-million dollar paycut, so other people could earn more.
In 2001, The Wall Street Journal reported that Reeves had signed away the majority of his back-end deal (a profit-sharing arrangement) for The Matrix sequels, to benefit the franchise’s talented makeup and special effects artists.
“He felt that they were the ones who made the movie and that they should participate,” a source told the WSJ.
Estimates have placed that sacrifice between $34 million and $75 million.
He reportedly gave $20,000 to a struggling set builder.
According to an account posted on Reddit, Reeves gave a very generous helping hand to a crew member on the set of 1999 film The Matrix:
“A family friend builds movie sets, doesn’t design, is one of the poor dudes that just builds. Anyways he worked on the set for the Matrix and Keanu heard about family trouble he was having and gave him a $20,000 Christmas bonus to help him out. He also was one of the only people on the set that genuinely wanted to know peoples names, would say hello and mean it, and would talk to people as they were his peer.”