Is Keanu Reeves related to Christopher Reeves?

Introduction

Clark Kent, John Wick, Superman, Neo – 4 names that are cultural icons. 

The actors that played these roles are both incredibly popular. 

Christopher Reeve and Keanu Reeves are charismatic, good-looking, and boast long, successful filmographies. 

But are they related? 

Granted, Neo can leap tall buildings and stop speeding locomotives, but does their connection run deeper? 

Perhaps a look into the history of these Hollywood luminaries will reveal something that few people know.

Who is Keanu Reeves?

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Keanu Charles Reeves was born on September 2, 1962, in Beirut, Lebanon. 

His parents are Patricia and Samuel Nowlin Reeves Jr.  Patricia was an English performer and costume designer who met Samuel while working in Beirut. 

Samuel is an American from Hawaii who claims descent from Native Hawaiian, Chinese, English, Portuguese, and Irish ancestors. 

Sadly, when Keanu was three years old, his father abandoned the family.

Keanu’s mother took him to Sydney, Australia, and then Toronto, Canada, after marrying Hollywood director Paul Aaron in 1970. 

Although the couple divorced in 1971, Aaron remained friendly with Keanu, offering him career advice. 

Keanu attended several different high schools, one of which he was expelled from for being poorly behaved. 

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He dropped out of high school when he was 17 and moved to Los Angeles, California. 

He could get a green card because of his American step-father but holds Canadian citizenship. 

While he found steady work in the mid to late 1980s, with notable performances in Babes in Toyland (1986) and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), his career really started to take off in 1991. 

Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey was a successful sequel, and Keanu also co-starred with Patrick Swayze in Point Break, laying the groundwork for later action roles.

Reeves has a lengthy filmography.  Although he has never been considered a highly skilled and nuanced actor, he proved adaptable enough to star in dramas, comedies, and action movies. 

In 1999, Keanu starred as Neo in The Matrix, the first of 4 movies in the franchise. 

Reeves spent the rest of the 2000s and the first half of the 2010s with hit-or-miss performances. 

Like Constantine (2005), some have earned him the status of a cult hero. 

Like The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), others received harsh criticism. 

Reeves also started directing movies and documentaries in this period.

2014 saw the release of John Wick, a role that Reeves would reprise at least two more times, and that would catapult him to the level of legendary hero for many fans. 

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The action-packed franchise, where Reeves performs almost all his own stunts and hand-to-hand combat, has increased in popularity with each new release. 

Keanu has always been very close-lipped about his personal life. 

He is unmarried and has not been in many publicly acknowledged relationships. However, he dated Jennifer Syme, with whom he had a stillborn daughter, Ava Archer Syme-Reeves, in 1999. The couple split but remained close. Syme tragically died in a car accident in 2001, and Reeves was deeply affected by the loss. 

In November 2019, Reeves went public with his romantic involvement with Alexandra Grant, an American visual artist he had known since 2009.

Who was Christopher Reeve?

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A Native of New York, Christopher D’Olier Reeve (sometimes erroneously called Christopher Reeves) was born on September 25, 1952. 

His father, Franklin D’Olier Reeve, was a scholar, novelist, and poet. 

His mother, Barbara Pitney Lamb, was a journalist. 

Like Keanu Reeves, Christopher’s parents divorced when he was young, and he moved with his mother to Princeton, New Jersey.  Christopher was an excellent student, athlete, and actor. 

Unfortunately, Reeve had a problematic relationship with his father, who put a lot of pressure on him to excel. Still, the two settled their differences much later in life.

Christopher graduated from Princeton Day School in 1970 and went to Cornell. 

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He promised his mother that he would finish college, though he took a leave of absence after two years to tour the theater scenes of the United Kingdom and France. 

After returning to Cornell, he decided to focus on acting. He convinced the school administration to let him move to Juilliard for a Graduate Diploma even though he had not yet graduated from Cornell. It was agreed that his first-year Juilliard credits would also count for his senior year at Cornell.

Reeve’s early career consisted of several theater performances and minor movie roles. Then, in 1978, Reeve landed the leading role in Superman: The Movie, a part that would catapult him to super-stardom. Christopher went on to play the Man of Steel in 3 sequels and became an enduring cultural icon for his portrayal. 

The success of Superman opened many doors for Reeve, and he went on to act in several critically and financially successful films. Most notable of these were The Bostonians (1984), Street Smart (1987), and The Remains of the Day (1993). 

Reeve had a romantic relationship with Gae Exton, a modeling executive, from 1978 to 1987. Reeve and Exton had two children who lived with their mother after the breakup. 

Luckily, Reeve and Exton remained friends, and Christopher took an active role in the lives of his children.  In 1987, Reeve met Dana Morosini, an actress and singer. 

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The two married in 1992 and had a son named William. They remained happily married for the rest of Christopher’s life.

Christopher Reeve sustained a severe spinal cord injury in 1995, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of his life. He was competing in an equestrian competition for which he had been preparing for several years. 

After his recovery, Christopher added spinal injury research to his long list of causes for activism. He founded the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to help treat people with disabilities. 

Although he was paralyzed, he continued to work in directing, acting, and writing roles until he passed away on October 10, 2004. 

He has been praised as an accomplished actor, writer, philanthropist, and activist. 

The breadth of his talents, his attention to detail, and his kindness have been seen in Keanu Reeves, causing many to ask if the two are in any way related.

Are Keanu Reeves and Christopher Reeve related?

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Although their last names appear similar, Keanu Reeves and Christopher Reeve are not related. 

Both will leave a legacy as pop-culture icons for their titular roles as Superman and John Wick. 

Likewise, both have met with success on the stage and in their philanthropic ventures. 

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People speak about the kindness of each actor in their interpersonal relationships, and both have shown themselves to be very thoughtful and careful with how they behave. However, there is no evidence that the two ever met, nor is there evidence that they are related biologically or by marriage.

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