Best photos ( River Phoenix )

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Birth information

23 August 1970 Madras, Oregon, USA

Death information

31 October 1993 West Hollywood, California, USA

Given Name

River Jude Bottom

Nickname

Rio
Riv

How tall is River Phoenix?

1.78 m

Life Story of River Phoenix

River Phoenix was born River Jude Bottom in Madras, Oregon. His mother, Arlyn (Dunetz), a Bronx-born secretary, and his father, John Bottom, a carpenter, met in California in 1968. They worked as itinerant fruit pickers, and later joined the Children of God religious group (John was originally Catholic, while Arlyn was born Jewish). By the time River was two, they were living in South America, where John was the sect's Archbishop of Venezuela. They later left the group and, in 1977, moved 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. His film debut was in Explorers (1985), followed rapidly by box-office successes with Stand by Me (1986) and The Mosquito Coast (1986), and as young Indiana in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). His role as Danny Pope in Running on Empty (1988) earned him an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor. His best role was probably Mike, the hustler in My Own Private Idaho (1991).

A dedicated...

Significant features of River Phoenix

Portraying innate emotional vulnerability

Publications and Magazines about River Phoenix

Brian J. Robb "River Phoenix : A Short Life". 1995
John Glatt "Lost In Hollywood : The Fast Times and Short Life of River Phoenix". 1995
Brian J. Robb River Phoenix: A Short Life. 1994
Barry C. Lawrence In Search of River Phoenix: The Truth Behind The Myth. 2004
Penny Stempel They Died Too Young: River Phoenix. 1995
Gavin Edwards Last Night at the Viper Room, River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind. 2013
John Glatt Lost in Hollywood: The Fast Times and Short Life of River Phoenix. 1995

What movies did River Phoenix play or participate?

Actors Filmography
Dark Blood (2012) Boy, The Thing Called Love (1993) James Wright, Schweigende Zunge - Die Rache der Götter (1993) Talbot Roe, Sneakers (1992) Carl, Red Hot Chili Peppers: Breaking the Girl (1992) River Phoenix, Dogfight (1991) Eddie Birdlace, My Own Private Idaho (1991) Mike Waters, I Love You to Death (1990) Devo, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) Young Indy, Running on Empty (1988) Danny Pope, Little Nikita (1988) Jeff Grant, A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon (1988) Jimmy Reardon, Ben E. King: Stand by Me (1986) River Phoenix, The Mosquito Coast...

Birth information

23 August 1970 Madras, Oregon, USA

Death information

31 October 1993 West Hollywood, California, USA

Given Name

River Jude Bottom

Nickname

Rio
Riv

How tall is River Phoenix?

1.78 m

Life Story of River Phoenix

River Phoenix was born River Jude Bottom in Madras, Oregon. His mother, Arlyn (Dunetz), a Bronx-born secretary, and his father, John Bottom, a carpenter, met in California in 1968. They worked as itinerant fruit pickers, and later joined the Children of God religious group (John was originally Catholic, while Arlyn was born Jewish). By the time River was two, they were living in South America, where John was the sect's Archbishop of Venezuela. They later left the group and, in 1977, moved 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. His film debut was in Explorers (1985), followed rapidly by box-office successes with Stand by Me (1986) and The Mosquito Coast (1986), and as young Indiana in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). His role as Danny Pope in Running on Empty (1988) earned him an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor. His best role was probably Mike, the hustler in My Own Private Idaho (1991).

A dedicated...

Significant features of River Phoenix

Portraying innate emotional vulnerability

Publications and Magazines about River Phoenix

Brian J. Robb "River Phoenix : A Short Life". 1995
John Glatt "Lost In Hollywood : The Fast Times and Short Life of River Phoenix". 1995
Brian J. Robb River Phoenix: A Short Life. 1994
Barry C. Lawrence In Search of River Phoenix: The Truth Behind The Myth. 2004
Penny Stempel They Died Too Young: River Phoenix. 1995
Gavin Edwards Last Night at the Viper Room, River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind. 2013
John Glatt Lost in Hollywood: The Fast Times and Short Life of River Phoenix. 1995

What movies did River Phoenix play or participate?

Actors Filmography
Dark Blood (2012) Boy, The Thing Called Love (1993) James Wright, Schweigende Zunge - Die Rache der Götter (1993) Talbot Roe, Sneakers (1992) Carl, Red Hot Chili Peppers: Breaking the Girl (1992) River Phoenix, Dogfight (1991) Eddie Birdlace, My Own Private Idaho (1991) Mike Waters, I Love You to Death (1990) Devo, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) Young Indy, Running on Empty (1988) Danny Pope, Little Nikita (1988) Jeff Grant, A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon (1988) Jimmy Reardon, Ben E. King: Stand by Me (1986) River Phoenix, The Mosquito Coast...

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River Phoenix in Die Flucht ins Ungewisse (1988)

The song "Transcending" on the Red Hot Chili Peppers album "One Hot Minute" is dedicated to River Phoenix.

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River Phoenix and Martha Plimpton in Die Flucht ins Ungewisse (1988)

Sings a song on John Frusciante's album "Smile from the Streets You Hold."

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River Phoenix in Die Flucht ins Ungewisse (1988)

Ranked #86 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]

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River Phoenix in Die Flucht ins Ungewisse (1988)

The 1994 R.E.M. album "Monster" is dedicated to River in the liner notes--he was friends with lead singer Michael Stipe.

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River Phoenix and Judd Hirsch in Die Flucht ins Ungewisse (1988)

Born at 12.10 pm-PDT

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River Phoenix and Martha Plimpton in Die Flucht ins Ungewisse (1988)

Was supposed to begin work on Neil Jordan's Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994) two weeks after his death. He was to play Daniel Molloy, the interviewer, which then went to Christian Slater, who donated his entire $250,000 salary to two of Phoenix's favorite charitable organizations: Earth Save and Earth Trust. The film has a dedication to Phoenix after the end credits.

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River Phoenix and Martha Plimpton in Die Flucht ins Ungewisse (1988)

He was almost definitely set to star as Izzy Singer in Safe Passage (1994). Sean Astin got the part after River's death.

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River Phoenix in Die Flucht ins Ungewisse (1988)

Brother of Rain Phoenix, Joaquin Phoenix, Liberty Phoenix, & Summer Phoenix.

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River Phoenix and Martha Plimpton in Die Flucht ins Ungewisse (1988)

Natalie Merchant wrote a song, "River," which is in his memory. In addition, her song "Carnival" was inspired by him.

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River Phoenix in Die Flucht ins Ungewisse (1988)

His date to Johnny Depp's club the evening he died was actress Samantha Mathis.

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River Phoenix in Die Flucht ins Ungewisse (1988)

Listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1986" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 38.

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River Phoenix in Die Flucht ins Ungewisse (1988)

Ashes scattered at family's Florida Ranch.

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River Phoenix in Die Flucht ins Ungewisse (1988)

The famous Brazilian singer and songwriter Milton Nascimento wrote a song called "River Phoenix (Carta a Um Jovem Ator)" ("Letter to a Young Actor" in English) in 1988. Milton was quite impressed with River's performances in The Mosquito Coast (1986) and Stand by Me (1986), and 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. In the track "Curi Curi" (Tsaqu Waiãpi) from Nascimento's album "Txai" that was released in 1990, River reads a speech written by him protesting the destruction of the Amazon and betrayal of its people.

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River Phoenix in Die Flucht ins Ungewisse (1988)

Born in a log cabin in Oregon.

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Harrison Ford and River Phoenix in Mosquito Coast (1986)

Nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his work in Sidney Lumet's Running on Empty (1988), Phoenix lost out to Kevin Kline for his performance in A Fish Called Wanda (1988). At the time of the Academy Awards ceremony in March, 1989, Kline and Phoenix were filming the movie I Love You to Death (1990). Sitting in the audience, Phoenix applauded enthusiastically when his co-star's name was announced as the winner.

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River Phoenix, Vince Deadrick Sr., Bradley Gregg, Jeff O'Haco, etc.

Phoenix, who'd been playing the guitar since childhood, had his own band with his sister, Rain Phoenix, called Aleka's Attic.

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River Phoenix in Ich liebe Dich zu Tode (1990)

River recorded an album the summer before his death titled 'Never Odd or Even' (the title is a palindrome), which 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 2000,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.

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River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton in Stand by Me - Das Geheimnis eines Sommers (1986)

Ranked #69 on The 100 Greatest Movie Stars (2003) on Channel 4 (UK).

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River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton in Stand by Me - Das Geheimnis eines Sommers (1986)

The story is apocryphal that River's last words were supposedly (to the reporter trying to help him outside the Viper Room) were "No paparazzi, I want anonymity", although the quote has become something of an urban legend. In fact, according to witnesses (which included a nearby paparazzo), River stumbled out of the nightclub and fell hard, face-first, onto the sidewalk (experts believed he likely died at that moment) before spasming violently against the pavement for eight minutes, never having uttered a word.And while that photographer chose not to capture that moment on film, the day before Phoenix's cremation in Florida, a reporter broke into the funeral home, rearranged the body, and took a picture. This picture was later to be sold to the National Enquirer for $5,000.

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River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, etc.

Was an involved environmentalist and bought up several hundred acres of rain forest in Costa Rica and Brazil, not to develop them, but to just keep them so they would not be cut down.

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River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O'Connell

Rufus Wainwright's song "Matinee Idol" is about him.

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River Phoenix

Died on the same day as Federico Fellini.

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River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Wil Wheaton, etc.

He was a very talented writer, songwriter, and sketch artist. Often wrote songs while he was driving to work.

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River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton

Is one of only three actors to have played the son of and the younger version of the same actor, by playing Harrison Ford's son and playing young Indiana Jones. The other is Bruno Kirby, who played Richard S. Castellano's son on The Super (1972), and the young Clemenza in The Godfather: Part II (1974). Logan Lerman played one of Mel Gibson's sons in The Patriot (2000) and the younger Nick Marshall in What Women Want (2000).

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River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton

Two of his nephews have been posthumously named for him. His sister Liberty Phoenix gave birth to a son named Rio Everest Phoenix. Rio is Spanish for River. His other sister Summer Phoenix gave birth to a son, Indiana Affleck. River played Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).

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River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton

His death is listed as #16 in the top 101 events in E! Television's 101 Most Shocking Moments in Entertainment.

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River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Wil Wheaton, etc.

In total thus far, he has four nephews and one niece. Rio Everest Phoenix-Asch (12 June 1997), Indigo Orion Phoenix-Asch (9 November 1999 - 25 December 2001), Scarlette Jasmine Phoenix-Asch (July 2, 2001) to younger sister Liberty Phoenix, Indiana Affleck (May 31st, 2004) and Atticus Affleck (November 2007) to youngest sister Summer Phoenix.

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River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Wil Wheaton, etc.

The band FenixTX was originally called River Fenix, but due to conflicts with the rights to his name, they were forced to change their name.

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River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton in Stand by Me - Das Geheimnis eines Sommers (1986)

Harrison Ford personally recommended him for the part of the young Indy in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) after working with him on The Mosquito Coast (1986). Ford stated that of all the young actors who were working at the time, River was the one who looked the most like himself when he was that age.

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River Phoenix and Corey Feldman in Stand by Me - Das Geheimnis eines Sommers (1986)

Ironically, despite his reputation for healthy living, Phoenix was a chain smoker. Peter Bogdanovich recalled, "He'd say about meat, 'That's not good for you, man, that'll kill you.' And he'd be smoking a cigarette, and he'd look at it and say, 'I know, man, I know.'"

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River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Wil Wheaton, etc.

Anonymous Australian alternative rock band TISM (an acronym of This Is Serious Mum) released a song in 1995 called "(He'll Never Be An) Ol' Man River" which dealt with celebrity deaths, specifically with the death of Phoenix and his drug habit which caused it. The main refrain of the song, which reportedly angered members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, was "I'm on the drug that killed River Phoenix".

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River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton in Stand by Me - Das Geheimnis eines Sommers (1986)

He and his brother Joaquin Phoenix are the first brothers to be nominated for acting Academy Awards.

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River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Wil Wheaton, etc.

Mentioned by Norwegian Pop-Rocker Morten Abel in the song "River Phoenix".

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River Phoenix

His final performance was in Dark Blood (2012), a film which was abandoned three weeks from completion.

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River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton in Stand by Me - Das Geheimnis eines Sommers (1986)

Was fluent in Spanish.

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River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton

Just a month before his death he had expressed an interest in starring in The Basketball Diaries (1995). His role was subsequently played by Leonardo DiCaprio.

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River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Wil Wheaton, etc.

Best friend was Keanu Reeves.

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River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton in Stand by Me - Das Geheimnis eines Sommers (1986)

Had a very close bond with Harrison Ford.

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River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton in Stand by Me - Das Geheimnis eines Sommers (1986)

River's father was born in California. On his father's side, River had English, and distant German and French, ancestry. River's mother was born to an Ashkenazi Jewish family in New York (they were immigrants from Russia and Hungary).

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River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton

Phoenix had a lazy left eye. This caused him to flutter and blink in order to center the iris. This action is visible in most of his performances. It is most apparent in 'Silent Tongue'(1994), in which he did not attempt to take charge of it at all; feeling that the quality added to the madness of his character.

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River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, etc.

One of GQ's 50 Most Stylish Leading Men of the Past Half Century (2010).

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River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton in Stand by Me - Das Geheimnis eines Sommers (1986)

River and his brother Joaquin Phoenix have both played the son of Richard Harris's character: River in Schweigende Zunge - Die Rache der Götter (1993), and Joaquin in Gladiator (2000).

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River Phoenix in Jimmy Reardon (1988)

James Cameron has admitted that when he first started thinking about Titanic (1997) in the early nineties, he favored River for the lead. By the time the film was made, Leonardo DiCaprio was old enough to take the role.

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River Phoenix in Jimmy Reardon (1988)

Phoenix had signed onto the lead role in Broken Dreams, a screenplay written by John Boorman and Neil Jordan (to be directed by Boorman), and co-starring Winona Ryder. The film was put on hold due to Phoenix's death and has yet to be made.

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River Phoenix and Meredith Salenger in Jimmy Reardon (1988)

Accepted his role in The Thing Called Love (1993) in an effort to both show off his musical abilities (he sang, played his own guitar, and wrote his character's songs) and make the transition from playing youths to adults roles.

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