River Phoenix was an American musician and actor. He was one of those celebrities who had larger-than-life personalities. The actor is still remembered for his activism for environmental concerns he brought to the limelight during the 90s.
Phoenix had a short career as he died quite young but his legacy is still alive in the hearts of his fans. Many current successful actors and actresses have cited Phoenix as their inspiration in acting.
River Phoenix was a fairly complicated person. In his short time in the cinema world. Phoenix won the hearts of millions and even inspired them to pursue their dreams.
As per his interviews, Phoenix spent a difficult childhood as they were from a poor family. The actor was even raped at the tender age of four but didn’t talk about it until much later.
Let’s learn some quick facts about River Phoenix:
|Full Name||River Jude Bottom|
|Date of Birth||August 23, 1970|
|Birth Place||Madras, Oregon|
|Death||October 31, 1993|
|Death Place||West Hollywood, California|
|Father’s Name||John Lee Bottom|
|Mother’s Name||Arlyn Phoenix|
|Height||6 ft 7 inches|
|Occupation||Actor and Musician|
|Marital Status||Samantha Mathis|
|Net Worth||$5 million|
|Social Media Presence||NA|
River Phoenix was born in Oregon and was the eldest of his siblings. Phoenix is the son of activist Arlyn Dunetz and John Lee Bottom. The couple named him after a novel by Hermann Hesse called Siddhartha.
Phoenix’s parents were highly influenced by the hippie culture of the 80s. His father was of European origin and her mother was born to parents of Russian and Hungarian ancestry.
Phoenix spent most of his childhood living in various places moving from one to another. He was interested in music from a young age and even played Guitar.
As time passed, his interest in music grew which later helped him launch a career in music. As the actor did not receive any formal education in his lifetime, he could neither read nor write. There were reports that he was dyslexic but it hasn’t been confirmed or denied as of yet.
River Phoenix Age and Death
River Phoenix was born on the 23rd of August in the year 1970. The actor died at the age of 23 on the 31st of October in the year 1993. Phoenix started his work at an early age.
Phoenix died in California after a concert because of a drug overdose.
As per eyewitnesses, the actor took a large dosage of a mixture of cocaine and heroin. As per his close aides, Phoenix was sober and was not known to take drugs for recreational or other purposes. But as per some of his friends, they suspected him of taking drugs some days before his death.
River Phoenix Acting Career
He began by doing commercials for popular brands like Ocean Spray which helped to get to know people. He later made an agreement with Paramount Pictures which resulted in his appearance in a show named Real Kids. At the age of 10, Phoenix starred in a tv show named Fantasy which helped him propel his career.
Phoenix’s career skyrocketed after his role of Chris Chambers in a movie named Stand By Me. His work was critically appreciated as well as loved by the audience.
He was then cast playing the main actor in a movie named Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon but did not take off. His later role in Running On Empty helped him win major awards.
He was also nominated for his role at the Academy as well as Golden Globe Awards. Phoenix won a National Board of Review Awards for his role in the movie.
River Phoenix Music Career
Phoenix’s fame was propelled by his acting career but his real passion was always music. He had started playing guitar at the age of five and even saved $650 in his later years to buy a professional guitar.
He released his first song named Across the Way in the year 1989 which went on to become a mild hit. Phoenix then wrote Lone Star State of Mine which was to be included in a movie but didn’t happen.
He also made music with Red Hot Chilli Peppers member Flea in an album. His music was filled with themes of compassion and coming-of-age stories.
River Phoenix as an Activist
As much as River Phoenix was an actor and musician, he was also an activist. The actor voiced his concerns about ongoing environmental damage. He also helped PETA fundraise for their endeavors and was a big-time animal activist. The actor also did many concerts for charitable and humanitarian purposes. Talking about his political leanings, he supported Bill Clinton during the 1992 Presidential Election.
River Phoenix was one of four siblings and he was the eldest of the bunch. He had three sisters namely Rain Phoenix, Liberty Phoenix, Summer Phoenix, and one brother Joaquin Phoenix. His brother Joaquin Phoenix has kept his legacy alive with his amazing acting roles.
Speaking about his romantic life, Phoenix dated actress Marthe Plimpton for a brief period of time.
The actor later went on to date Samantha Mathis. Samantha Mathis had met Phoenix during the shooting of The Thing Called Love. She was also at the party when the incident of overdose resulting in Phoenix’s death happened.
Awards and Accolades
Phoenix’s first experience with the award was from a nomination he received for his movie Explorers. He was nominated for Exceptional Performance by a Young Actor at the Young Artist Award.
He received wide acclaim and Academy Awards as well as a Golden Globe Award nomination for his character of Danny Pope in the movie Running on Empty. But he failed to win both the awards.
The actor again gave a stunning performance in My Own Private Idaho which helped him win Independent Spirit Award for the Best Male Lead. He also won the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor for the same movie.
For an actor with the potential of River Phoenix, it is sad that he died early. As most of the close people related to Phoenix say it is due to the drug overdose, the actual truth is not out in the open.
Prior to his death though, the celebrity had made a name for himself, both as an actor and also a musician. Had he been alive until now things in the showbiz world would have been different.
Sources suggest the actor left the world with a net worth of $5 million. There is no exact confirmation of the amount of money earned. Other than that anything on the assets owned is tough to find about River. It is a tragedy that such a talent is lost to an unseen accident.
Frequently Asked Questions about River Phoenix
- How did River Phoenix die?
River Phoenix died of a drug overdose on the 31st of October in the year 1993 in West Hollywood. He had taken an excessive amount of a mixture of two drugs, cocaine, and heroin.
- How much was River Phoenix worth at the time of his death?
River Phoenix was worth around $5 million at the time of his death. The actor had amassed most of his wealth from movies as well as concerts he did with his band members.
- Was River Phoenix Married?
River Phoenix was not married but he did date two actresses for a brief period of time. Before his death, the actor was dating actress Samantha Mathis who was present at the time of his death.
- Are Joaquin Phoenix and River Phoenix related?
Yes, indeed Joaquin Phoenix and River Phoenix are related. Joaquin Phoenix is River Phoenix’s younger brother and has followed the footsteps of his brother in the acting world.
- Did River Phoenix know Keanu Reeves?
Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix not only know each other but were also close friends. They also co-star in the 1991 movie My Own Private Idaho which went on to become a hit. It also shaped their friendship in many ways.
Some Interesting Facts About River Phoenix
- River Phoenix was discovered when he was playing music in a small mall along with his sister.
- Although he initially didn’t want to be an actor, he eventually became an incredible one. It is reported that he would completely immerse himself in the role to the point of losing himself to it.
- The actor was always passionate about animal rights and vocal about his views on veganism. He advocated for animal rights and remained vegan all his life.
- Although he died in 1993, his last film Dark Blood was released almost 20 years later. As most of his scenes inside the film had already been filmed the director decided to release it in the year 2015.
- In addition to his activism towards environmental efforts, Phoenix also bought around 800 acres of forest in Costa Rica so that no one could exploit the resources inside the land.
- He reportedly cried in the sets of Stand By Me once while preparing himself for an emotional scene in the movie.
- Phoenix reportedly had a fear of flying. He used to try to avoid flying as much as he could to the point that he didn’t even attend the premiere of his own movie My Own Private Idaho.
- The club named The Viper Bar where he died was partially owned by legendary actor Johny Depp.