The Life of River Phoenix

Without his older brother, Joaquin Phoenix may not have become the actor he is today. River Phoenix was a rising star who died at 23 — this is his story.

'The Vegan James Dean'

He was Joaquin Phoenix’s brother, role model and he was a rising star in Hollywood, he died at the age of 23, this is River Phoenix. River Phoenix or River Bottom, his real name, was born in 1970, in Oregon. At the age of 2, his family joined the cult The Family International and moved to Venezuela. He grew up with his three sisters and his brother, all younger than him: Rain, Liberty, Summer and Joaquin.

In 1977, his family left the cult, moved back to the United States and changed their last name to Phoenix. At 7, he decided to go vegan with his sisters and brother. As a child, his parents encouraged him to become an actor. At 16, he got noticed thanks to his role in "Stand by Me” and "Mosquito Coast" alongside Harrison Ford. Two years later, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in “Running on Empty.” In 1989, he played the role of young Indiana in Steven Spielberg’s “Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.” At that time, he encouraged his brother Joaquin to work on his acting. With his sister, he also became involved in the Peta association against wearing fur.

At 21, he stole the show in Gus Van Sant's "My Own Private Idaho", playing the role of an outsider who prostitutes himself alongside Keanu Reeves. On the night of October 30 to 31, 1993, he died of an overdose in the arms of his brother in front of a nightclub in Los Angeles owned by Johnny Depp. Dubbed "The Vegan James Dean", he was a staunch defender of animal welfare and just as staunchly dedicated to what we now call sustainability, buying up chunks of rainforest to protect it from logging. River Phoenix was 23 years old.


11/22/2019 11:19 AM
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  • Ciarraí M.
    21 hours

    What a loss.x

  • Carmen D.
    2 days

    Too sensitive for this world. Rest in peace, River.

  • Sallie P.
    2 days

    RIP river always in my heart 💓

  • Dianne B.
    2 days

    Great actors, compassionate human beings.

  • Diba T.
    2 days


  • Klécia R.
    2 days

    o irmão dele que morreu. O irmão dele fez o último indiana Jones. Era um astro na época . Tipo Leonardo de Caprio.

  • Tania S.
    3 days


  • Angela B.
    3 days

    So missed

  • Wendy M.
    4 days

    That last video u can see he’s on something..... So sad. 😔

  • Edward W.
    5 days

    this just popped up on my feed 🤭

  • Sabrina H.
    5 days


  • Sandra H.
    5 days

    Paula 💔

  • Rimi K.
    5 days

    fake news

  • Jacqueline M.
    6 days

    Clearly he is on something doing an interview with sunglasses on........jeezus!!

  • Lee C.
    6 days

    good watch

  • Kristy T.
    6 days

    I always thought that if River didn't die, he would have been the "Leo" of my generation. Leonardo DiCaprio has always said he was in the right place at the right time when it came to his start in acting... Maybe there wouldn't have been a right place or time, because River was already there. I'm not trying to take anything away from Leo, he's an amazing actor... It's just something I've always thought of.

  • Francesca T.
    6 days

    If River was alive today, everyone else in his generation, and I mean EVERYONE, would be second choice.

  • Janice A.
    6 days

    Drug overdose?!

  • Eszter H.
    7 days

    Don't do drugs!!

  • Isi F.
    7 days