River Phoenix
American actor, musician and activist
River Phoenix
River Jude Phoenix was an American film actor, musician, and activist. He was the oldest brother of fellow actors Rain, Joaquin, Liberty, and Summer Phoenix. Phoenix's work encompassed 24 films and television appearances, including the science fiction adventure film Explorers, the coming-of-age film Stand By Me, the action sequel Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and the independent adult drama My Own Private Idaho.
Biography
River Phoenix's personal information overview.
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Photo Albums
Popular photos of River Phoenix
News
News abour River Phoenix from around the web
9 Stinkers That Prove 'Romancing The Stone: The Series' Is A Bad Idea - Screen Junkies
Google News - over 5 years
George Lucas handpicked River Phoenix to play the titular character, but it turns out that such a request is only effective if the person in question accepts the request. Phoenix did not, so the role was played by Sean Patrick Flannery, who was still a
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Rose McGowan (and Joaquin Phoenix)'s cult Children of God advocated pedophilia ... - Starcasm.net
Google News - over 5 years
But she isn't the only star to have been part of this strange cult, Joaquin and his deceased brother River Phoenix also spent part of their childhood with the Children of God, and former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Jeremy Spencer quit the band to join the
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River Phoenix Has Always Been Dead, and 8 Other Pop Culture Teachings from ... - Crushable
Google News - over 5 years
Since 1998, Beloit College in Wisconsin has issued a “Mindset List” to its professors for each incoming class. It's basically a look into the students' minds in terms of pop culture, celebrities,
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Today marks what would have been River Phoenix's 41st birthday: A sad reminder ... - Entertainment Weekly (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
For those lucky few who had the opportunity to watch River Phoenix's film career blossom right in front of their eyes, there's no doubt it's the sort of bragging rights they wish they didn't have. Because for all those who had the
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River, Phoenix - Baltimore City Paper
Google News - over 5 years
Imagine the typical woman in American menstrual advertising, Homo consumerus, circa 1970. No flesh and blood creature here: She's got blue juice in her veins, like Spock bleeding green, and once a month she sheds watery Smurf fluid
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Stand by Me – a movie portrait of childhood that has stood the test of time - WalesOnline
Google News - over 5 years
And on its 25th anniversary Stand by Me continues to affect, often profoundly, those who watch it – helped along by Stephen King's writing, Rob Reiner's direction and a stellar cast including River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Kiefer Sutherland,
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'Stand By Me' turns 25 today - Orlando Sentinel (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
People remember seeing it, remember what place in life they were in when they caught Rob Reiner's breakthrough adaptation of a Stephen King story, that moment when River Phoenix became a star and Wil Wheaton seemed destined for stardom
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DRILLING COMPLETED ON WHEELER RIVER URANIUM PROJECT - PR Newswire (press release)
Google News - over 5 years
The location of a quartzite ridge was interpreted from the airborne gravity, and basement magnetic lows were interpreted as smaller quartzite units, both of which could relate to a McArthur River / Phoenix exploration model. To test these geophysically
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James Franco Teaches Art Class At PS1; Collaboration With Gus Van Sant - Huffington Post
Google News - over 5 years
Franco's work will also be on display. His film, 'My Own Private River,' is recut version of Van Sant's 'My Own Private Idaho' which features River Phoenix. The film will be on replay during museum hours--we'd have it no other way, Professor
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Gone Too Soon - Patch.com
Google News - over 5 years
Modern audiences are more familiar with Joaquin Phoenix, but in the 80s and 90s it was his brother River Phoenix who was most famous. The oldest brother of the Phoenix clan, River earned acclaim for his performances in films such as Stand by Me,
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She's rising - just like every other Phoenix - Independent Online
Google News - over 5 years
Sadly, however, the very excesses her parents were trying to help them avoid ended up taking the life of her brother River Phoenix. Both Rain and Joaquin were with River the night he died outside the Hollywood nightclub the Viper Room in 1993 after
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Singers who went too soon - Times of India
Google News - over 5 years
RIVER PHOENIX, 23: On October 31, 1993, actor River Phoenix collapsed on the sidewalk in front of Johnny Depp's Los Angeles night club, The Viper Room, due to an overdose of heroin and cocaine. The actor began convulsing for eight minutes,
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Rain Phoenix's unusual childhood - The Guardian
Google News - over 5 years
River Phoenix – teen icon and Hollywood heartthrob who died of a drug overdose when he was just 23 – was two years her elder, while the twice Oscar-nominated actor Joaquin, is two years younger. There are also two sisters as well – Summer and Liberty
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of River Phoenix
    THIRTIES
  • 1993
    Age 34
    Tom Petty dedicated "Ballad of Easy Rider" to Phoenix when he played in his and Phoenix's hometown of Gainesville, Florida in November 1993.
    More Details Hide Details The British band Manic Street Preachers mentions River in their song "Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayitsworldwouldfallapart" (from the album The Holy Bible, 1994) in the following line: " I'm thinking right now of Hollywood tragedy; Big Mac; smack; Phoenix, R; please smile y'all " Phoenix was the subject of a controversial song by Australian group TISM titled "(He'll Never Be An) Ol' Man River" the single originally featured a mock-up of Phoenix's tombstone as its cover art in 1995. The chorus features the line, "I'm on the drug that killed River Phoenix." On the song "Love Me, Hate Me" by rapper Ja Rule, he numerates different ways he could die as a celebrity, and one of the lyrics says "I might OD in a club off drugs like River Phoenix". In the 1997 musical, The Fix, Phoenix is alluded to in the song "Mistress of Deception" in the lines, "Hot young actor died last night at an L.A. club/Ecstasy and booze/And too much NyQuil/Had the sweetest face/Warm and shy and innocent/Sexy in that careless kinda way/The newsman said his heart just stopped like that " The Hugh Cornwell song "Rain on the River" from his 2009 album Hooverdam is directly about the death of Phoenix, as his sister Rain sits over her dying brother on the sidewalk outside The Viper Room.
    On November 24, 1993, Arlyn "Heart" Phoenix published an open letter in the Los Angeles Times on her son's life and death.
    More Details Hide Details It read, in part: Phoenix was cremated and his ashes were scattered at his family ranch in Micanopy, Florida. Following his death, Aleka's Attic disbanded. On the 20th anniversary of Phoenix's death, musician Bob Forrest talked about the young actor's early death saying that while Phoenix maintained an image of a hippie vegan pacifist the reality of his drug taking was much darker than anyone knew. Forrest said that Phoenix had been staying with musician John Frusciante for a few days prior to his death. The duo would go on long drug binges, barely sleeping. They would smoke crack and inject heroin and cocaine together. On the night of his death, both Phoenix and Frusciante arrived at the Viper Room together, where they met up with Mathis and River's brother and sister. Forrest claims that cocaine was instantly passed around amongst the group; however, he noticed that Phoenix was already not looking well. During the performance by Depp's band, Phoenix informed Forrest that he wasn't feeling well, and thought he was overdosing. Forrest said that Phoenix rallied and re-entered the crowd, but moments later someone frantically called out for 9-1-1 as Phoenix collapsed outside and started having seizures. Forrest drove his own car to the hospital, but Phoenix was declared dead shortly after arrival.
    Phoenix's autopsy, signed November 15, 1993, reads as follows in the section entitled "Opinion" by Christopher Rogers, MD: "Toxicology studies showed high concentrations of morphine and cocaine in the blood, as well as other substances in smaller concentrations."
    More Details Hide Details The cause of death was "acute multiple drug intoxication", including cocaine and morphine. Joaquin's call to 9-1-1 was recorded and broadcast by several radio and TV shows. Following the death of River and the invasive attitude of the media in his private life (a reporter broke into the Miami funeral home and took a picture of Phoenix resting in his casket that was sold to the National Enquirer), Joaquin walked away from Hollywood for the second time.
    During the early morning hours of October 31, 1993, Phoenix suffered a drug overdose, and collapsed outside and convulsed for over five minutes.
    More Details Hide Details When his brother Joaquin called 9-1-1, he was unable to determine whether Phoenix was breathing. His sister Rain proceeded to give him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. During the episode, Johnny Depp and his band P (featuring Flea and Phoenix's friend Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers) were onstage. According to Haynes, the band was in the middle of their song "Michael Stipe" while Phoenix was outside the venue having seizures on the sidewalk. When the news filtered through the club, Flea left the stage and rushed outside. By that time, paramedics had arrived on the scene and found Phoenix turning dark blue, in full cardiac arrest and in a flatline state. They administered medication in an attempt to restart his heart. He was rushed to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, accompanied by Flea, via an ambulance. Further attempts to resuscitate Phoenix were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at 1:51 a.m. PST on the morning of October 31, 1993, at the age of 23.
    On the evening of October 30, 1993, Phoenix was to perform with his close friend Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers onstage at The Viper Room, a Hollywood nightclub partly owned at the time by actor Johnny Depp.
    More Details Hide Details Phoenix had returned to Los Angeles early that week from Utah to complete the three weeks of interior shots left on his last project Dark Blood, a film that was finally completed in 2012. His younger sister Rain and brother Joaquin had flown out to join him at the Hotel Nikko (now the SLS Hotel) on La Cienega Boulevard. Phoenix's girlfriend, Samantha Mathis, had also come to meet him. All were present at the scene of Phoenix's death.
  • 1992
    Age 33
    Phoenix was a dedicated animal rights, environmental and political activist. He was a prominent spokesperson for PETA and won their Humanitarian Award in 1992 for his fund-raising efforts.
    More Details Hide Details In 1990, Phoenix wrote an environmental awareness essay about Earth Day targeted at his young fanbase, which was printed in Seventeen magazine. Phoenix was a lifelong vegan. His first girlfriend Martha Plimpton recalled: "Once when we were fifteen, River and I went out for a fancy dinner in Manhattan, and I ordered soft-shell crabs. He left the restaurant and walked around on Park Avenue, crying. I went out and he said, 'I love you so much, why? ' He had such pain that I was eating an animal, that he hadn't impressed on me what was right." He financially aided a great many environmental and humanitarian organizations, and bought of endangered rainforest in Costa Rica. As well as giving speeches at rallies for various groups, Phoenix and his band often played environmental benefits for well-known charities as well as local ones in the Gainesville, Florida area.
    Phoenix was an investor in the original House of Blues (founded by his good friend and Sneakers co-star Dan Aykroyd) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which opened its doors to the public after serving a group of homeless people on Thanksgiving Day 1992.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1991
    Age 32
    Also in 1991 the Aleka's Attic track "Too Many Colors" was lent to the soundtrack of Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho which included Phoenix in a starring role.
    More Details Hide Details In 1996, the Aleka's Attic track "Note to a Friend" was released on the 1996 benefit album In Defense of Animals; Volume II and featured Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers on bass. Phoenix had collaborated with friend John Frusciante after his first departure from Red Hot Chili Peppers and the songs "Height Down" and "Well I've Been" were released on Frusciante's second solo album Smile from the Streets You Hold in 1997.
    In 1991, Phoenix wrote and recorded a spoken word piece called "Curi Curi" for Milton Nascimento's album TXAI.
    More Details Hide Details
    In 1991, Phoenix filmed an acclaimed independent picture called Dogfight co-starring Lili Taylor and directed by Nancy Savoca.
    More Details Hide Details In the romantic coming-of-age drama set in San Francisco, Phoenix portrayed a young U.S. Marine on the night before he was shipped off to Vietnam in November 1963. Taylor remarked that Phoenix suffered because he could not distance himself from his character: "He also hadn’t gotten into any drugs – he was just drinking then, too. It was different... That was actually a hard part for him, because it was so radically different from who he was. He was such a hippie, and here he was playing this marine. It actually caused him a lot of discomfort. I don't think he enjoyed that, actually, getting into that psyche." Phoenix met actor Keanu Reeves while Reeves was filming Parenthood with Phoenix's brother, Joaquin. The two starred together for the first time (along with Kevin Kline, Tracey Ullman and Joan Plowright) in 1990's I Love You to Death and again in Gus Van Sant's avant-garde film My Own Private Idaho. In his review for Newsweek, David Ansen praised Phoenix's performance: "The campfire scene in which Mike awkwardly declares his unrequited love for Scott is a marvel of delicacy. In this, and every scene, Phoenix immerses himself so deeply inside his character you almost forget you've seen him before: it's a stunningly sensitive performance, poignant and comic at once". For his role in My Own Private Idaho, Phoenix won Best Actor honors at the Venice Film Festival, the National Society of Film Critics and the Independent Spirit Awards.
  • 1990
    Age 31
    In 1990, Phoenix was photographed by Bruce Weber for Vogue and was spokesperson for a campaign for Gap.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1989
    Age 30
    In early 1989, Phoenix was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (as well as for a Golden Globe), and received the Best Supporting Actor honor from the National Board of Review for his role in Running on Empty.
    More Details Hide Details Phoenix jumped to his feet during the ceremony when Kevin Kline beat him for the Oscar. "I had to stop River from running to hug Kevin," recalled his mother Arlyn. "It never crossed his mind that he hadn't won." That year he also portrayed a young Indiana Jones in the box-office hit Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade directed by Steven Spielberg.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1987
    Age 28
    After completing his sixth feature film, Sidney Lumet's Running on Empty (1988), Phoenix purchased his family a ranch in Micanopy, Florida, near Gainesville in 1987, in addition to a spread in Costa Rica.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1986
    Age 27
    In October 1986, Phoenix co-starred alongside Tuesday Weld and Geraldine Fitzgerald in the acclaimed CBS television movie Circle of Violence: A Family Drama, which told the tragic story of domestic elder abuse.
    More Details Hide Details This was Phoenix's last television role before achieving film stardom. At the age of 15, Phoenix had a significant role in Rob Reiner's popular coming-of-age film Stand By Me (1986), which made him a household name. The Washington Post opined that Phoenix gave the film its "centre of gravity". Phoenix commented: "The truth is, I identified so much with the role of Chris Chambers that if I hadn't had my family to go back to after the shoot, I'd have probably had to see a psychiatrist." Later that year, Phoenix completed Peter Weir's The Mosquito Coast (1986), playing the son of Harrison Ford's character. "He was obviously going to be a movie star," observed Weir. "It's something apart from acting ability. Laurence Olivier never had what River had." During the five-month shoot in Belize, Phoenix began a romance with his co-star Martha Plimpton, a relationship which continued in some form for many years. Phoenix was surprised by the poor reception for the film, feeling more secure about his work in it than he had in Stand By Me.
  • 1985
    Age 26
    Released in the summer of 1985, this was Phoenix's first major motion picture role.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1984
    Age 25
    In October 1984, Phoenix secured the role of geeky boy-scientist Wolfgang Müller in Joe Dante's large-budget science-fiction film Explorers alongside Ethan Hawke, and production began soon after.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1983
    Age 24
    Almost a year after Seven Brides ended in 1983, Phoenix found a new role in the 1984 television movie Celebrity, where he played the part of young Jeffie Crawford.
    More Details Hide Details Although he was only onscreen for about ten minutes, his character was central. Less than a month after Celebrity came the ABC Afterschool Special: Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia. River starred as a young boy who discovers he has dyslexia. Joaquin starred in a small role alongside his brother. In September, the pilot episode of the short-lived TV series It's Your Move aired. Phoenix was cast as Brian and only had one line of dialogue. He also starred as Robert Kennedy's son, Robert Kennedy, Jr., in the TV movie Robert Kennedy and His Times. After his role in Dyslexia was critically acclaimed, Phoenix was almost immediately cast as a major role in his next made-for-TV movie, Surviving: A Family in Crisis. He starred as Philip Brogan alongside Molly Ringwald and Heather O'Rourke. Halfway during the filming of Surviving, Iris Burton contacted him about a possible role in the film Explorers.
  • 1982
    Age 23
    In 1982, River was cast in the short-lived CBS television series, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, in which he starred as the youngest brother, Guthrie McFadden.
    More Details Hide Details River, who arrived at the auditions with his guitar, promptly burst into a convincing Elvis Presley impersonation, charming the show producer. By this age, Phoenix was also an accomplished tap dancer.
  • 1980
    Age 21
    In 1980, Phoenix began to fully pursue his work as an actor, making his first appearance on a TV show called Fantasy singing with his sister Rain.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1973
    Age 14
    In 1973, the family joined a controversial Christian new religious movement called the Children of God as missionaries.
    More Details Hide Details The family had settled in Caracas, Venezuela, where the Children of God had stationed them to work as missionaries and fruit gatherers. Although Phoenix rarely talked about the cult, he was quoted by Arlyn Phoenix in a 1994 Esquire article as having said "They're disgusting, they're ruining people's lives." In an interview with Details magazine in November 1991, Phoenix stated he lost his virginity at age four while in the Children of God, "but I've blocked it out." Arlyn and John eventually grew disillusioned with the Children of God; Arlyn would later tell a journalist that she and her husband were opposed to the group's practice of "Flirty Fishing", stating: "The group was being distorted by the leader, David Berg, who was getting powerful and wealthy. He sought to attract rich disciples through sex. No way." In the late 1970s, Phoenix's family moved in with River's maternal grandparents in Florida. The family officially changed their name to Phoenix, after the mythical bird that rises from its own ashes, symbolizing a new beginning.
  • 1970
    Age 11
    Phoenix was born on August 23, 1970, in Madras, Oregon, the first child of Arlyn Dunetz and John Lee Bottom.
    More Details Hide Details Phoenix's parents named him after the river of life from the Hermann Hesse novel Siddhartha, and he received his middle name from the Beatles' song "Hey Jude". In an interview with People, Phoenix described his parents as "hippieish". His mother was born in the Bronx, New York, to Jewish parents whose families had emigrated from Russia and Hungary. His father was a lapsed Catholic from Fontana, California, of English, as well as German and French, ancestry. In 1968, Phoenix's mother left her family in New York City and travelled across the United States, meeting John Lee Bottom while hitchhiking in northern California. They married on September 13, 1969, less than a year after meeting. Phoenix's family moved cross country when he was very young. Phoenix was raised in Micanopy, Florida, a small suburb of Gainesville. They received no financial support and lived in poverty, with Phoenix stating they lived in a "desperate situation." Phoenix often played guitar while he and his sister sang on street corners for money and food to support their ever-growing family. Phoenix never attended formal school. Screenwriter Naomi Foner later commented, "He was totally, totally without education. I mean, he could read and write, and he had an appetite for it, but he had no deep roots into any kind of sense of history or literature."
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