Keanu Reeves is what every celebrity should be

It is a standing joke among those who know me that I have a mad crush on Keanu Reeves going back decades.  What can I say?  I like watching him on the screen.  Lately, I've liked even more watching him in real life because Keanu Reeves just seems to be a very good human being.  His latest good human being moment was the revelation that he donates huge chunks of his salary from the Matrix movies to cancer research.

Back in the glory days of Hollywood, the studios micromanaged their stars' images so that, no matter their private sins, in public the stars were clean-living, good-hearted, patriotic family people.  When the studio system ended, we got to see those Hollywood idols as they really were.  Some are decent, low-key people, but way too many are incredibly shallow, self-entitled people, with thin-skins, sleazy personal lives, and way too high an opinion of their political acumen.

And then there's Keanu Reeves.

For years, whenever Keanu Reeves is in the news, it's for something good.  Keanu Reeves gives up his seat on the subway to a lady with parcels standing near him.  After his flight makes an emergency landing, Keanu Reeves manages to arrange a bus to L.A. for the stranded passengers and is charming to them on the long ride.  Keanu buys an ice cream so that he can sign the receipt for a fan.  Keanu, when Stephen Colbert asks him about what happens when we die, doesn't come up with some inanely shallow philosophical musings but, instead, offers, "I know that the ones who love us will miss us."

And then there's Keanu's commitment to cancer research.  Back in 1991, two really bad things happened to Keanu.  First, his daughter with Jennifer Syme was stillborn.  (Syme died a decade later.)  Next, his sister, Kim, was diagnosed with leukemia.  For the decade she fought the cancer before it went into remission, Keanu became her primary caregiver.  He sold his house so he could be closer to Kim and essentially became her homemaker, preparing her food, cooking her meals, and helping her with her medicines.

Image: Keanu Reeves.  YouTube screen grab.

In Kim's honor, Keanu has a private charitable foundation he set up to donate money to children's hospitals and cancer research.  In addition, he gives the proceeds from his Matrix movies to cancer research:

It's just been made public that the 57-year-old Canadian-raised actor donated a whopping 70% of his original "Matrix" salary to cancer research in honor of his younger sister.

According to LAD Bible, Reeves was paid $10 million for the 1999 sci-fi film up front and earned an additional $35 million over time. The altruistic actor pledged $31.5 million total of that sum to leukemia research.

He's given away other money too over the years:

And it's not the only time Reeves gave up part of his "Matrix" salary. According to ABC News, the actor signed away a portion of back-end profits for the two "Matrix" sequels to the special effects and costume design teams.

"He felt that they were the ones who made the movie and that they should participate," an unnamed movie executive said at the time.

One of the other really nice things about Keanu is that he stays out of politics.  From a few oblique comments he's let drop, I've come away with the feeling that he's probably a standard Hollywood leftist.  You really have to pay attention to pick up on those vibes.  Otherwise, Keanu gracefully stays out of politics.  It's such a refreshing change from those Hollywood types who go around preaching their politics in strident tones, complete with insults and ignorance.

And here's one last thing: in 2018, Keanu starred in a delightful little movie that also had some surprisingly conservative moments.  It's called Destination Wedding, and the whole movie consists almost entirely of conversations between Keanu, who plays an angry, cynical man, and Wynona Ryder, who plays a neurotic, cynical woman, after they meet up on a plane on their way to a destination wedding.  I reviewed the movie here.

Wouldn't it be nice if there were more Keanu Reeveses entertaining Americans and fewer of the run-of-the-mill egotistical, self-centered, self-involved, sleazy, and ignorant types that fill our children's worlds?

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