HomeEntertainmentSamuel Nowlin Reeves Jr.: From Humble Beginnings to Abandonment, The Untold Story

Samuel Nowlin Reeves Jr.: From Humble Beginnings to Abandonment, The Untold Story

Long before he became one of the world’s best-loved and highest-paid movie stars, Keanu Reeves had humble beginnings. Though he would be raised largely in Canada, Reeves was born in Lebanon, Beirut on September 2nd, 1964, to British mother Patricia Taylor and Chinese-Hawaiian father Samuel Nowlin Reeves Jr.

Humble Beginnings

Samuel Nowlin Reeves Jr.: From Humble Beginnings to Abandonment, The Untold Story
Keanu was Patricia and Samuel’s first child; they married the year he was born, and would go on to have another child, Keanu’s sister Kim, before they divorced. In the years that followed, Keanu grew more distant from his father, with Samuel’s shady dealings often seeing him on the wrong side of the law.

A Father’s Shady Dealing

Publicly, Keanu has long been reluctant to discuss his father. Before Samuel’s death in 2018, it’s believed that father and son never reconciled, with Keanu not having seen his father since his early teens – arguably for good reason.

Mysterious Origins

Samuel Nowlin Reeves Jr was 22 years old when Keanu was born. He gave his son a traditional Hawaiian name, which literally means ‘cool breeze over the mountains.’ While it is known that Samuel studied geology, it’s not entirely clear how he ended up in Lebanon, although it’s worth noting this was a peaceful, thriving city at the time; speaking to Charlie Herzfeld in 2019, Keanu described Lebanon as “the Paris of the Middle East.”

A Mother’s Story

Samuel Nowlin Reeves Jr.: From Humble Beginnings to Abandonment, The Untold Story
Keanu’s own knowledge of his father’s life seems limited. “I actually don’t really know his story. I think it’s like he was in college and then left and then was in Beirut on the beach. My mother, English, ran away from home, Paris, working showgirl, but then also picking up pins in couture houses getting into fashion where she would end up becoming a clothing designer for musicians. Anne Murray, Dolly Parton.

Love and the Birth of Keanu

“Anyway, so they met, they fell in love and they had a baby. That was me, and then they stayed there for a few months and then they ended up going to Australia.”

A New Beginning in Canada

During the family’s brief stay in Sydney, Keanu’s sister Kim was born, but not long thereafter Samuel and Patricia divorced. After a brief stint in New York, the family relocated to Toronto, Canada. Here they would remain, becoming Canadian citizens, whilst Patricia pursued her successful fashion career.

Keanu’s Stepfather

Samuel Nowlin Reeves Jr.: From Humble Beginnings to Abandonment, The Untold Story
Patricia then married Paul Aaron, a Broadway theatre director who went on to work in Hollywood (with credits including the Chuck Norris movies A Force of One and The Octagon). Although this marriage lasted “about six months,” Keanu maintained a relationship with Aaron, who helped his step-son out when he decided to pursue acting.

Pursuing Acting

Aged 15, Keanu got his first Hollywood job as an assistant on one of Aaron’s productions. Then, when he turned 20, Keanu got a green card and moved to Hollywood with Aaron’s support. (Later, Aaron would even co-produce Keanu’s 1991 hit Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.)

Troubled Relationship

By this time, Keanu’s biological father was seemingly little more than a memory. The actor recalls knowing Samuel “up until I was six. Then I saw him occasionally when I would go to Hawaii on holidays. The last time I saw him was when I was 13.”

Avoiding Dark Chapters

Samuel Nowlin Reeves Jr.: From Humble Beginnings to Abandonment, The Untold Story
Keanu has always preferred to avoid discussing his personal life, in particular, its darker chapters. The actor has known more than his share of tragedy, including the death of his close friend River Phoenix, the stillbirth of his only child with girlfriend Jennifer Syme, and Syme’s subsequent death in a car crash. Keanu’s relationship with his father is another source of grief which he remains hesitant to discuss in interviews.

A Son’s Memories

Samuel himself reflected fondly on having his son with him in Hawaii, playing together on the beach. “Occasionally, the spray would wash over the shelf, and the water would rush around our legs, and I would lift him up and hold him really tight. Then this big old wave really almost swept us right out. I caught my boy just as he was being sucked away by knee-deep water. I think Keanu was 11.”


In conclusion, the relationship between Keanu Reeves and his father Samuel Nowlin Reeves Jr was a complicated one, marked by distance and a lack of reconciliation. Keanu’s own memories of his father are limited, and he has chosen to keep much of his personal life private. Despite the challenges he has faced, Keanu has become a successful actor, carving his own path in the entertainment industry.


1. What is Keanu Reeves’ father’s name?

Keanu Reeves’ father’s name is Samuel Nowlin Reeves Jr.

2. When and where was Keanu Reeves born?

Keanu Reeves was born on September 2nd, 1964, in Lebanon, Beirut.

3. How much does Keanu Reeves know about his father’s life?

Keanu Reeves has limited knowledge about his father’s life and has stated that he doesn’t really know his father’s story.

4. Did Samuel Nowlin Reeves Jr play a significant role in Keanu’s upbringing?

No, Samuel Nowlin Reeves Jr played a minimal role in Keanu Reeves’ upbringing, and the two had a distant relationship.

5. What challenges has Keanu Reeves faced in his personal life?

Keanu Reeves has faced various tragedies in his personal life, including the death of close friends and the loss of his child.


Sophia Hughes
Sophia Hughes
Sophia Hughes specializes in investigative reporting, uncovering government and corporate secrets that shape the nation's policies.