Next week is the 25th anniversary of that night, when the young actor who had always taken care to eschew all the usual celebrity cliches died the most cliched death of all, on Sunset Boulevard at the age of just Phoenix had always hated fame but considered its one potential benefit was that he could use it for good and change the world, talking urgently in every interview about vegetarianism and the environment.
It is a template many have tried to copy, but none succeeded like Phoenix, because he believed in his ideals more intensely than most people believe in anything. This was the boy who once ran out of a restaurant in tears because his girlfriend, the actor and activist Martha Plimpton, ordered seafood.
But reacting against success can be as risky as embracing it, because it can elide into self-loathing and confusion.
He often said he wished he could just be anonymous. But he never was. Yet as talented as he was, Reiner had to coax the then year-old to show his pain instead of bottling it inside. Phoenix and Corey Feldman — who has said he was sexually abused by someone in the film industry — were less lucky.
I knew there were problems there. Back in the s, it was known that Phoenix had an eccentric childhood, but, in retrospect, it feels as if few appreciated just how extraordinary it was. His parents, John and Arlyn were travelling counter-cultural hippies and when River was only three, the family joined the Children of Goda Christian cult that believed, among other things, that sex without boundaries was a form of love Rose McGowan was also raised in the cult.
The family moved from Venezuela to Mexico to Puerto Rico to spread the word of the cult, and Phoenix was sent out as a child to busk to raise money for food. He was also, he later said in an interview, sexually abused when he was four years old. Phoenix never went to school; instead, his mother contacted the casting director at Paramount, and Phoenix began working at call ducks for sale in minnesota age of eight.
His siblings, Rain, Joaquin, Liberty and Summer, soon followed suit. The family was loving and close, but John was complicated. In photos of him from the s, he is the spitting image of Joaquin, and River reportedly saw him more as a little brother than a paternal figure.
John had problems with alcohol and, from an extremely young age, Phoenix felt as if he, not his father, had to support the family. Mathis is talking to me on the phone from her apartment in New York. So much has been written about Phoenix over the years, but Mathis, who was with him when he died, has never spoken about him in depth before.
Partly this has been out of respect to others who loved him, and partly because she was so traumatised by his death that she blocked out a lot of memories. This sounds incredibly cheesy but I knew I would be with him one day.By James Nye. Tragic: River Phoenix pictured here in was tipped for mega-stardom before his death two years later from a drugs overdose in LA. River Phoenix knew he was experiencing an overdose from a deadly cocktail of cocaine and heroin the night of his death at Johnny Depp's Los Angeles nightclub claims a friend of the actor who was there that fateful evening.
As the world prepares to mark years since the death of Phoenix at the tragically young age of 23, his friend and former Helonious Monster front-man Bob Forrest has revealed the harrowing last moments before the actor collapsed. Unsteady on his feet and ghostly white, Forrest recalls how Phoenix turned to him on Halloween, and pleaded, 'I don't feel so good.
I think I'm OD'ing' before he returned to the crowd to hear Depp's band play to only fall into a fit minutes later. The two would take large amounts of drugs together, embarking on huge binges.
Scroll down for video First, smoke crack or shoot coke directly into a vein for that ninety-second, electric brain-bell jangle. Commenting that while Phoenix maintained an image of a hippie vegan pacifist, the reality of his drug taking was much darker. Memoir: Musician Bob Forrest in the former Thelonious Monster frontman has written a new book in which he recounts the untimely death of his friend River Phoenix right pictured in Musician and Actor: River Phoenix was watching his friend Johnny Depp play with his band on the evening of his death.
Forrest alleges that as soon as Phoenix and Frusciante arrived, cocaine was immediately passed around, but that the promising actors condition startled him. It was during the performance by Depp's band that Phoenix tapped Forrest on the shoulder to tell him that he was not feeling well.
Actor Joaquin Phoenix R and sister Rain Phoenix pictured in - Both were present with their brother River when he tragically overdosed on drugs and died on Halloween However, Forrest claims that Phoenix rallied and re-entered the crowd, but a only a few moments later, a frantic shout went out over the music to call Phoenix was taken outside, onto the sidewalk and was seizing.
When the ambulance arrived Phoenix was still alive and Flea went with the stricken actor to Cedar-Sinai Hospital. However, when Forrest arrived there having driven himself, he saw Samantha Mathis, the girlfriend of River Phoenix standing in the hallway of the hospital, crying.
It was at this moment that he knew his friend was dead. Sadly, Depp phoned and asked Forrest, 'How's your friend? The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.
Argos AO.Phoenix's work encompassed 24 films and television appearances, and his rise to fame led to his status as a " teen idol ".
He starred in the science fiction adventure film Explorers and had his first notable role in 's Stand by Mea coming-of-age film based on the novella The Body by Stephen King. Phoenix made a transition into more adult-oriented roles with Running on Emptyplaying the son of fugitive parents in a well-received performance that earned him a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actorand My Own Private Idahoplaying a gay hustler in search of his estranged mother.
On October 31,Phoenix collapsed and died of combined drug intoxication following a drug overdose on the sidewalk outside the West Hollywood nightclub The Viper Room at the age of In an interview with PeoplePhoenix described his parents as " hippieish ". While hitchhiking in California she met John Lee Bottom. They married on September 13,less than a year after meeting. Phoenix's family moved cross country when he was very young.
Phoenix was raised in Micanopy, Floridaa small town outside Gainesville, where they lived in poverty. 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.
Inthe family joined a religious cult named the Children of God. Although Phoenix rarely talked about the cult, he was quoted by Arlyn Phoenix in a Esquire article as having said "They're disgusting, they're ruining people's lives. It was just fucking with the press. It was literally a joke, because he was so tired of being asked ridiculous questions by the press. 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 Bergwho was getting powerful and wealthy.
He sought to attract rich disciples through sex. No way. The family officially changed their name to Phoenix, after the mythical bird that rises from its own ashes, symbolizing a new beginning. Talent agent Iris Burton spotted River, Joaquin, and their sisters Summer and Rain singing for spare change in Westwood, Los Angeles, and was so charmed by the family that she soon represented the four siblings.His mother, Arlyn Dunetza Bronx-born secretary, and his father, John Bottom, a carpenter, met in California in They worked as itinerant fruit pickers, and later joined the Children of God religious group John was originally Catholic, while Arlyn was born Jewish.
They later left the group and, inmoved back to the United States, changing their last name to "Phoenix". They lived with River's maternal grandparents in Florida, and later moved to Los Angeles. His parents encouraged all of their children to get into movies and, by age ten, River was acting professionally on TV. A dedicated animal-rights activist and environmentalist, River was a strict vegetarian and a member of PeTA People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. River was a talented musician as well as an actor, and he played guitar, sang, and wrote songs for his band, Aleka's Attic, which also included his sister Rain Phoenixwhile living in Gainsville, Florida.
Although the band never released its own album, their song "Across the Way" can be found on PeTA's "Tame Yourself" album, used to fight animal abuse. River was in the middle of filming Dark Bloodplaying the character Boy when he died. The film couldn't be finished due to too many unfilmed crucial scenes. His mother was later sued. River died of acute multiple drug intoxication involving lethal levels of cocaine and morphine at age 23 outside the Viper Room, Johnny Depp 's Los Angeles club.
Sign In. Edit River Phoenix. Showing all items. The R. The film has a dedication to Phoenix after the end credits. He was almost definitely set to star as Izzy Singer in Safe Passage Sean Astin got the part after River's death.
Natalie Merchant wrote a song, "River," which is in his memory. In addition, her song "Carnival" was inspired by him. His date to Johnny Depp 's club the evening he died was actress Samantha Mathis.
Milton was quite impressed with River's performances in The Mosquito Coast and Stand by Meand he decided to write a song in reverence of his talent. When he got to know about the song, he came to Brazil and spent some days in Milton Nascimento's country home. After that first contact, they became good friends. He disliked flying and traveled everywhere by car or by train. Sitting in the audience, Phoenix applauded enthusiastically when his co-star's name was announced as the winner.
Phoenix, who'd been playing the guitar since childhood, had his own band with his sister, Rain Phoenixcalled Aleka's Attic. My Own Private Idaho director and close friend of River Gus Van Sant published a novel in titled "Pink," which is a loosely disguised fantasy homage to his late friend. River recorded an album the summer before his death titled 'Never Odd or Even' the title is a palindromewhich was released.
A friend of his named Sasa Raphael who worked with River on the album and played bass in River's band Blacksmith Configuration almost succeeded in making the album available for free download on the Internet in the summer of ,on the anniversary of what would've been River's 30th birthday, but was later sued by the estate of River Phoenix for copyright reasons.Phoenix, who was born River Jude Bottom on August 23,had an unconventional childhood.The Tragic Life of River Phoenix
His parents were members of a religious cult and worked as missionaries in South America. Also inPhoenix appeared in Running on Empty, about a family on the run from the FBI for an anti-war bombing the parents had participated in years earlier. In the early hours of October 31,Phoenix collapsed from a drug overdose outside the Viper Room, a night club partially owned at the time by the actor Johnny Depp and located on the Sunset Strip.
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Roaring Twenties. Westward Expansion. Art, Literature, and Film History. Sign Up. American Revolution.A look at the life of actor River Phoenix on the 24th anniversary of his death.
River Phoenix knew he was suffering an overdose the night he died says friend
His final film, Dark Bloodwas completed in Phoenix was born on August 23, in Madras, Oregon. His family moved around a bit when Phoenix was a child, living in places such as Texas, Mexico, and Venezuela as missionaries for the religious movement, the Children of God.
It was in Venezuela that River and his sister Rain formed a singing duet to help make ends meet. The family eventually parted ways with Children of God and returned to the United States in I think the kids have learned that. By the time the family reached California, River was beginning to evince some acting ability. Some of his first pieces of work included a few commercials and a role on the shorted lived television series Seven Bridges for Seven Brothers in Knowing his family, I give River a good shot.
He was a vegetarian from the age of 8 and also supported various organizations such as Earth Save and Earth Trust.
In the early morning hours on Oct. Those present at the scene included his younger brother, Joaquin, and girlfriend, Samantha Mathis. The young actor was apparently as susceptible to the pitfalls of fame as anyone else.
His role in Interview With a Vampire was ultimately never filmed. It went to Christian Slater in the end. I will never see him play Hamlet, and he would have been one of the great ones. I wanted to see him do the most emotional work out there, and it still pains me that I never will.
Inside the Life of River Phoenix, the Beloved Actor Who Died at 23
Several years after his death, Phoenix still is making an impact. FB Tweet ellipsis More. Image zoom. River Phoenix. Get push notifications with news, features and more.
You'll get the latest updates on this topic in your browser notifications. Close Share options. All rights reserved. Close View image.River Phoenix was an American actor who had his breakthrough film role in Stand by Mebased on the novella by Stephen King. Phoenix died of a drug overdose outside West Hollywood's Viper Room in Considered one of the most talented actors of his generation, River Phoenix had his promising career cut short by his premature death in The couple followed a bohemian lifestyle, moving around a lot with their infant son.
Inthe Bottoms took their lives in a new direction, joining the Children of God religious movement. Phoenix became a big brother when the couple had second child, a daughter named Rain, that same year. Phoenix gained two more siblings during this time—brother Joaquin and sister Liberty. His sister Summer was born later. As a young child, Phoenix learned to play guitar and sing.
Phoenix and Rain performed on the streets in Caracas, Venezuela, to earn money and pass out literature on their religious beliefs. His parents eventually became disillusioned with their religious group and decided to return to the United States in They spent time in Florida, where Phoenix and some of the other children performed in talent shows and started to attract attention for their musical and acting abilities. Before long, Phoenix and his family moved out to California to try to make in the entertainment industry.
His mother found an agent to represent all of the children and found a job working as a secretary at NBC. At first, Phoenix landed a few commercials. He then got a role as the youngest brother on the television series Seven Brides for Seven Brothers in While the show only lasted one season, Phoenix continued to work, making a number of guest spots on other shows, such as Hotel and Family Ties.
He also had a notable role in the television movie Surviving. That same year, Phoenix made his film debut playing a young inventor in Explorerswith Ethan Hawke. Phoenix earned raves for his performance as a youth with a troubled home life in this coming-of-age adventure drama based on the novella by Stephen King. Of the three, Running on Empty was the most critically successful. As the son of s radicals Christine Lahti and Judd HirschPhoenix's character is a musically gifted teenager who must decide between staying with his family on the run and leaving them to follow his own dreams.
His girlfriend in the film was played by Martha Plimpton, and she and Phoenix became involved off-screen as well. In the film, he played the famed adventurer in his youth.
After this brief sojourn into the action genre, Phoenix tried his hand at comedy with I Love You to Death His character helps a scorned wife Tracey Ullman try to bump off her cheating husband Kevin Kline and even hires two drug-addled henchmen William Hurt and Keanu Reeves to assist in the task.
He played a narcoleptic male prostitute who wants to find his long-lost mother and develops a special friendship with a fellow hustler. Phoenix earned strong reviews for his riveting performance in the film. That same year, he proved to be equally compelling and convincing as a Marine just about to go to Vietnam in Dogfightwith Lili Taylor.
Phoenix then took a supporting role in the comedic thriller Sneakersproving he could hold his own on screen alongside such established performers as Robert RedfordSidney Poitier and David Strathairn. A strong supporter of animal rights, he became a vegetarian at the age of 8.
He became a devout vegan, eschewing all dairy products because of how the animals were treated.