Legendary Actor River Phoenix, Joaquin Phoenix, Death, Movies, Facts

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 pretty young, but his legacy is still alive in the hearts of his fans.

River Phoenix height
River Phoenix stands tall at 5 feet 10 inches
Source: Instagram

Many current successful actors and actresses have cited Phoenix as their inspiration in acting. 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 had 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.

Some Quick Facts

Name 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
Age 23 years old
Father’s Name John Lee Bottom
Mother’s Name Arlyn Phoenix
Siblings  4
Height 6 ft 7 inches
Nationality American
Sexuality Straight
Ethnicity White
Occupation Actor and Musician
Eye Color Hazel
Hair Color Blonde
Wife/ Girlfriend None
Marital Status Samantha Mathis
Net Worth $5 million
Social Media Presence None
Last Updated June 2022

Early Life, Parents, and Siblings

River 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. The hippie culture of the 80s highly influenced Phoenix’s parents. 

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. 

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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 had dyslexia, but it hasn’t been confirmed or denied.

River Phoenix Age and Death

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

During that night, River was enjoying his time with Samantha, Leaf, aka Joaquin, and Rain in the LA club owned by Johnny Depp. He said to drop off his siblings.

After that, he told Samantha that some people were playing music and wanted him to play too. However, Mathis knew something was going wrong, and she did not know what.

River Phoenix death
River Phoenix died at the age of 23 years
Source: Instagram

She saw River high on drugs but had not seen anyone doing drugs. Similarly, his high nature made her feel uncomfortable. She wanted to stay beside him but thought it would be a long hour.

Soon forty-minute after that, she got the news that Phoenix was no more.

Acting Career

He began by doing commercials for popular brands like Ocean Spray, which helped to get to know people. He later agreed with Paramount Pictures, resulting in his appearance in a show named Real Kids.

At age 10, Phoenix starred in a tv show called Fantasy, which helped him propel his career. Phoenix’s career skyrocketed after his role as Chris Chambers in the movie Stand By Me. 

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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 it 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 and Golden Globe Awards. Phoenix won a National Board of Review Award for his role in the movie.

Music Career

His acting career propelled Phoenix’s fame, 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 the Lone Star State of Mine, which was to be included in a movie but didn’t happen. 

In an album, he also made music with Red Hot Chilli Peppers member Flea. His music was filled with themes of compassion and coming-of-age stories.

River Phoenix Was An Activist

As much as 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 Girlfriend

River was one of four siblings and the eldest of the bunch. He had three sisters: Rain PhoenixLiberty PhoenixSummer Phoenix, and one brother Joaquin Phoenix

His brother Joaquin Phoenix has kept his legacy alive with his great acting roles. Speaking about his romantic life, Phoenix dated actress Marthe Plimpton for a brief period. 

The actor later went on to date Samantha Mathis. 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.

The Down to Earth Nature of River Phoenix

Unlike other celebrities, River was one of a kind that was not contaminated by the ill nature of fame and publicity. Once in an Oscar Red Carpet, he was asked, “It’s easy to get caught up in the Hollywood hoopla, isn’t it?”

He simply replied, “Mmm, not for me, it isn’t.’ After the demise of River, his mother confessed that the star wanted to be anonymous. He was not a movie star but a missionary. Phoenix was a man with the cause; the leader caught in deep loneliness.

River Phoenix brother
River Phoenix is the brother of actor Joaquin Phoenix
Source: Instagram

This handsome man was not only a star who died young but a precocious talent. He was true vegetarianism and wanted to change the world.

Once his girlfriend, an activist Martha Plimpton had seafood in a restaurant. Seeing that, River came out of the place with tears in his eyes.

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.

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 He received wide acclaim, Academy Awards, and 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.

River Phoenix Net Worth

For an actor with the potential of Phoenix, it is said 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

Interesting Facts

  • River was discovered while playing music in a small mall 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 lose 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 2015.
  • In addition to his activism toward environmental efforts, Phoenix bought around 800 acres of forest in Costa Rica so that no one could exploit the resources inside the land.
  • He reportedly cried on 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 avoid flying as much as he could, to the point that he didn’t even attend the premiere of his movie My Own Private Idaho.
  • The club named The Viper Bar, where he died was partially owned by legendary actor Johnny Depp.
  • This famous actor was raped at the age of four.

Frequently Asked Questions 

  • How did River Phoenix die?

Phoenix died of a drug overdose on the 31st of October in 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 was worth around $5 million at his death.

  • Was River Phoenix Married?

Phoenix was not married, but he dated two actresses for a brief period.

  • Are Joaquin Phoenix and River Phoenix related?

Yes, indeed, Joaquin Phoenix and River are related. Joaquin Phoenix is his younger brother and has followed his brother’s footsteps in the acting world.

  • Did River Phoenix know Keanu Reeves?

Keanu Reeves and Phoenix knew each other and were close friends. They also co-star in the 1991 movie My Own Private Idaho, which went on to become a hit.

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