Keanu Reeves donated 70% of his Matrix film earnings to cancer research

4 January 2022, 14:59 | Updated: 10 January 2022, 09:21

Hollywood star Keanu Reeves is widely recognised for his generosity and humility. (Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Hollywood star Keanu Reeves is widely recognised for his generosity and humility. (Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic). Picture: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

By Thomas Curtis-Horsfall

Though the latest episode in The Matrix franchise may have missed the mark with some critics, off-screen Keanu Reeves can seemingly do no wrong.

Earning a reputation as one of Hollywood's most liked actors due to his humble attitude and private persona, it's safe to say that Keanu Reeves is universally adored.

With his re-introduction into the spotlight with the recent release of The Matrix Resurrections, stories of his generosity have also continued to come to light.

"Hollywood's ultimate introvert" has been a dedicated philanthropist throughout his career, even founding his own private cancer charity to help cancer patients and research into treatments.

Recently however, it's been reported that Reeves donated 70% of his fee for the first Matrix instalment towards leukemia research.

The report, from LadBible, noted that Keanu was paid $10 million upfront for the 1999 sci-fi phenomenon, before earning another $35 million when the movie went on to become a box-office blockbuster.

Keanu Reeves revived the role of Neo for the latest instalment of the Matrix franchise, The Matrix Resurrections. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images)
Keanu Reeves revived the role of Neo for the latest instalment of the Matrix franchise, The Matrix Resurrections. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images). Picture: Getty

According to the report, that means he donated a total of $31.6 to leukemia research.

But Keanu Reeves has a deeply personal attachment in the battle against cancer.

In 1991 before his career truly began to kick off, Keanu's youngest sister Kim was herself diagnosed with leukemia and battled it for a decade before entering remission.

Whilst living with the type of blood cancer, Keanu acted as his sister's primary care giver.

This meant the big budget sequels to The Matrix were delayed as he sold his home and moved nearer to his sister to be with her when she needed him the most.

Keanu Reeves with his sisters Kim (left) and Karina at the premiere of The Matrix in Los Angeles, 1999. (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Keanu Reeves with his sisters Kim (left) and Karina at the premiere of The Matrix in Los Angeles, 1999. (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images). Picture: Getty

Keanu and Kim were particularly close during their formative years having overhauled their lives numerous times, living in Hawaii, Australia, New York, and Canada as teenagers.

Before losing Kim in such tragic circumstances, he said in an interview at the time: "She was always there for me, you know. I will always be here for her.”

Several years later he founded his own charity to support people suffering with leukemia and cancer research, without attaching his name to donations to keep it private and away from his celebrity.

In 2009 during an interview with Ladies Home Journal he mentioned it for the first time.

"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,” Reeves revealed. “I don’t like to attach my name to it, I just let the foundation do what it does.”

Despite the tragedies that have befallen him, Reeves maintains his quiet, optimistic, and caring attitude towards life. Hollywood could do with more characters like him.

After being asked what happens after death by presenter Stephen Colbert in 2019, Keanu replied with: "I know that the ones who love us will miss us."

With the incredible work he continues to do for charities close to his heart, he'll continue to make his sister proud. There's no doubt about that.