I've heard him mentioned quite a few times. I youtube-ed him, and I found him to be very charming and charismatic. I was reading up on him and back in the day he used to be one of Hollywood's best.
It's sad he died so young because of drug overdose. Had he lived, he would've starred in Titanic.
Heath Ledger Troll. Is that you?
Are you testing a new obsession?
He was the James Dean for Generation X. You Millenials have Lindsay Lohan.
R2 Indeed. I feel sorry for this new generation. We had it good in the 80's and 90's. And by the way, I loved River. He was truly a charismatic dude.
He was a talented child actor. He grew up weird and too fast. He got into drugs and overdosed at The Viper Room at 23 years old. His best movies were Stand By Me and My Own Private Idaho.
His best movie was "Running on Empty"
IMO if he had lived Titanic would be the last thing he'd have considered doing - he had better taste than that. And he was moving away from acting, even told me he preferred music to making movies, and that was ALL he said about acting over dinner and the course of an evening. (A friend of mine was in his band.) He truly didn't enjoy talking about his film career. Sweet guy, loved animals, addictive personality, valued his privacy. In fact, if you ARE the Heath Ledger troll, move on to someone else - the River Phoenix I met would have been offended by that kind of obsessive devotion.
I can't imagine that the hippie-dippy Phoenix would have wanted to appear in "Titannic", and I can't imagine he would have been any good if he had.
Jack Dawson was supposed to be super-confident and fearless, while Phoenix was always sad and whiny. Okay, he was very good at playing sad, whiny kids, but he was the last actor in the world who'd be good playing the guy who pulls the sad, whiny girl out of her funk.
River wanted the other Leo picture, the Basketball Diaries.
He would have been to old for Titanic.
He was so cute that I had a tattoo put around my anus that read: A River Runs Through It.
Yep, it's a big hole.
An actor who was related to Joaquin Phoenix.
I have some River Phoenix drool and vomit and one of his front teeth from when he collapsed and died in front of the Viper Room. They are for sale on Ebay. Also, a pair of Heath Ledger's used underwear is for sale there, too.
Sad and whiny? I thought he was a great actor - especially in My Own Private Idaho.
Did he od on heroin?
I don't know who he was, but that's a cool sounding name.
"Jack Dawson was supposed to be super-confident and fearless, while Phoenix was always sad and whiny."
You obviously never saw "A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon." One of Phoenix's co-stars was an astonshingly baby-faced Matthew Perry. Not to mention Ione Skye and a tart performance by Ann Magnusson. It was a very cynical take on a teen caper movie--too cynical for teens I think.
I have no doubt Phoenix could have easily pulled off Titanic. The role did not exactly require a lot of heavy lifting. But ultimately--who cares if he would have done Titanic or not? Hell, why not just imagine what he could have done with the Annie Wilkes character in Misery? At least the thought of that is mildly entertaining.
his best movie was My Own Private Idaho
Not WHO but WHAT. It's the name of a stream that runs through central Arizona.
River was only four years older than DiCaprio, and was still young-looking at the time of his death. He would have been great as Jack.
I don't think you could call him as one of the best. He probably would have been washed up before.
He was actually not that well know but non gays. Yes he had a few good movies and he was on his way up but when he died, most people had to ask who he was.
But wasn't he a phoney, too? A vegetarian who did not drink, said he did not take drugs, who ends up ODing?
R24? I was born in 1980 and EVERYONE my age was knew him and knew him well. Stand By Me and The Explorers were staples. SBM alone made him a household name. And everyone who was a kid saw Explorers.
Running on Empty was huge for those of us into more indie films. He was nominated for an Oscar and, frankly, should have won. Obviously, most gay people love My Own Private Idaho.
He had actually signed on to do Interview With a Vampire (the Christian Slater role) which would have given him more mainstream exposure and he was going to do Basketball Diaries which would have probably given him an Oscar nod.
He was easily on his way to being a Leo Dicaprio. But, I agree, he would have been miscast in Titanic.
Just another dumb junkie. Just cuz you guys want to fuck him doesn't make him talented. Blinded by your pedophelic lust. So sad!!!
Everyone your age R24? Just how old are you anyway? Never mind, it dose not matter. What you just said is only a specific age group really knew who he was.
Exactly my point. Most people (the others not in your demographic age group) did not.
R28 apparently cannot do simple math. Seems like the haters are just damn stupid.
How old are Jack and Rose supposed to be in Titanic?
R27, River was older than I was by quite a few years. So pedo lust doesn't quite work. Also, I wasn't sexually attracted to him. Not my type. But I found him to be a riveting actor. R28, I clearly state I was born in 1980. I'm guessing English is your second language so I will cut you some slack on both your reading comprehension skills and your misunderstanding of River's place in the canon of great American actors. I would say most Americans from 30-50 know him by name and can at least say he did Stand By Me. Certainly, people who have interest in film know him from his previously mentioned roles.
I do think River & Keanu Reeves had an affair while filming MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO. It has been suggested that River wanted to try sex with Keanu so that they would appear more natural in the film.
No mention of Dogfight? Wonderful movie!
Crazy to think that people under the age of 25 probably know little about him. I can't believe it's been so long since he OD-ed.
Speaking of Samantha Mathis, he was wonderful in "The Thing Called Love" as the bad boy fuckup talent, a great movie only tarnished by its lack of black characters.
R33, they don't have sex in the film, so that doesn't make any sense.
River Phoenix never would have been in Titanic, toward the end of his life, he didn't want to be a heartthrob or even an actor. I agree he would have been a good match for Basketball Diaries, although he would be too old for it.
He was supposed to play the interviewer in Interview with the Vampire.
He was a talented actor and had an interesting history. He grew up in the cult, Children of God.
He died not long before Kurt Cobain did. It was like a double whammy.
The Children of God cult was notorious for sexual exploitation of members' children.
River and Joaquin both appear to have been damaged by that upbringing.
Married to Bea Arthur when he died.
I loved LOVED River and was absolutely devestated when he died, his and cobains deaths were big for me. But, while he was a cute kid and teen i wonder if that would have carried over into adulthood? Years ago i remember watching the last movie he completed terrible movie btw but i remember thinking he was awful in it and looked even worse. Maybe it was the drinking and drugging by that point but it was hard to watch.
He was very talented. But so fucked up. And no wonder! His parents were members of a hippie cult called "The Children of God" that initiated children into sex while they were still toddlers. So he was molested repeatedly as a child.
In almost all pictures you see of him he looks unhappy, never smiling.
After his autopsy the coroner's report said that he had injested eight times the lethal dose of cocaine and four times the lethal dose of heroin, as well as traces of marijuana, Valium and ephedrine, the last an over the counter cold medication. Cause of death: "acute multiple drug intoxication."
It seems weird now, but when he died it was a real shock to find out he was an addict. The internet was nothing like it is now and he managed to keep a really clean image. All I knew about him while he was alive was that he loved animals and that his parents were hippies. When he did MOPI I thought he was just trying to act edgy and faking it. All the stuff about the cult, drugs and abuse came out after his death, although in retrospect he did speak about them and I guess he really was an addict, he wasn’t acting.
All people my age, early to late teens when he died, knew who he was, we all watched Stand by me. His death was eclipsed by Kurt Cobain’s death, though, a few months later.
Excellent actor. No, he would not have done "Titanic," but certainly indie films. His music? Meh. Boring, stoner stuff that you can hear on bootlegs. Imagine the Red Hot Chilli Peppers redux. His last films are dreadful, but that's because he was such a mess.
I'd always heard that he'd cleaned up a lot and only relapsed b/c Flea wouldn't let him jam that night at the Viper Room. Kind of a Mean Boys thing with Flea and another musician who I can't remember told him he was too shitty of a guitarist to play with them. Which made it so unsavory how Flea would insert his crying visage into every River biography in the years that followed. I wonder who gave him the drugs?
He was widely rumored to be bi but, given his very early sexual experiences with both sexes, that's hardly surprising.
One bio said he had had sex with Brendan Frasier, also under the pretense of preparing for MOPI.
[R46] I heard it was John Frusciante, am i wrong?
He was definitely not "clean" up to the day of his death. Nobody forced drugs up his nose. He was on a steady decline.
The drugs went up his arm, not his nose.
Speedball = injecting heroin and cocaine.
He was certainly regarded as one of the most talented and promising US actors of his generation, anyone disputing that here is revising history.
Yes, John frusciante.
I thought he was amazingly hot, but I was too young when he died to have caught on to him looking fucked up or strung out. Any links to pics?
I don't think he ever looked that bad r52 he was young enough to handle it.
I hooked up with River Phoenix. I was a freshman at NYU. After a night of clubbing, me and some friends ended up at a party in the village. He was there and we met and chatted. We went back to his place, smoked a joint and fooled around. But only oral. Did I know who he was? Yes, I did. But we never discussed him or his career. We talked about art and music, and travel. But it's all kind of hazy, to be honest. There was no pretense that we'd see each other again. Just a hook up. After we were done, we hugged awkwardly and I left. But I jerked off thinking about it for years after. =) And it's a nice memory to have.
He snorted the drugs. No needles were involved. And he did clean up from the hard stuff and that's why he died. Doing an amount he could've easily handled in the past. Unfortunately it happens all the time.
r54 likes to pretend
What bios are some of you people talking about? Are there any good biographies on him?
He died on the street I live on.
you live on Sunset Blvd r58? come see my monkey.
That's not where he died, Norma. Close, but not quite.
Didn't he die outside The Viper Room? I went there on a tour!!! Was I lied to?
Yes, but he died on the side street. When you go to the Viper Room, you don't enter on Sunset. You enter on the side and exit on the side. At the end of the night, that's when they open the Sunset doors to allow the people to exit.
Then I was lied to on my tour!!! They showed us the front!!!
Well, in their defense, it was literally ten feet from Sunset.
Do people still leave flowers on the sidewalk on the anniversary of his death?
(they did in the late 90's when I lived there...)
I lived there when it happened. (Palm Ave.) I remember the sirens but didn't think much of it until later.
how is that street nowadays...Still gay? or have the straights moved in
R24 were you living at the bottom of the sea when he died? He was huge. He wasn't on his way up. He was already at the top- he was total A list. He had also developed a very serious drug addiction which was well known in Hollywood. He was gorgeous but had a massive ego, was incredibly pretentious and his serious drug problem meant that many directors had become nervous about hiring him. But he died before any of that could effect his career. He died just as the drug rumours were beginning to leak to the public, so he was still considered a squeaky clean vegan when he took a speedball at the Viper room and dropped dead in front of all the other drugged out patrons. His death made news around the world.
Were Keanu Reeves and Johnny Depp ever friends? They seem so much alike.Both dark, mysterious, racially ambiguous, wannabe rockers who don't like to wash. They must have met each other because they were both friends with River.
That's not a coffin photo, but worse: a pic of him dying.
He was convulsing, thus the hand restraints. Being worked on.
Where the fuck did you find such a morbid picture?
r70, r73, that's not a photo of River Phoenix at all.
River's hair was dark and very short at the time he died. If you want to see how he looked, see the footage he shot earlier that day for the movie "Dark Blood." He shot all day on a Los Angeles soundstage on October 30 and then went out that night to have fun, but died in the early morning hours of October 31.
The director included a bit of River's last day's filming in the "finished" version of Dark Blood, released last year.
Reeves was a friend. They had done a movie together before MOPI. They were introduced by Martha Plimton who was River's gf for several years and had made a film with Reeves called Parenthood.
Depp has said many times that he had met River but didn't know him well.
Most of River's work has faded away, so I'm not surprised a lot of people don't know who he is anymore. He made about a dozen movies, only half of which were any good, and only half of those are still easily available to watch. He was nominated for an Oscar for Running on Empty but good luck finding that anywhere outside of a videotape. Ditto for Dogfight. Apart from his cameo in the third Indiana Jones movie I'd guess the only films of his anyone ever sees anymore are Stand By Me and My Own Private Idaho -- the two most important ones to be sure but I don't know how many people even discover those who didn't know them at the time.
He was the Paul Walker of his time, only, without dating & fucking underage babysitters that sat for his kid.
[quote] I was too young when he died to have caught on to him looking fucked up or strung out. Any links to pics?
If you can track it down anywhere, watch "The Thing Called Love," the movie where he plays a country singer. He looks conspicuously out of it in that.
I remember he died the same day as Fellini. Totally overshadowed him, unfortunately.
r77, just about all of River's movies are available for online streaming/downloading on Amazon:
Stand by Me
The Mosquito Coast
Running On Empty
I Love You To Death
My Own Private Idaho
The Thing Called Love
I'm not even listing some of the minor stuff like Little Nikita, Jimmy Reardon, and Silent Tongue, but it's basically all available for streaming/downloading, the main exceptions being Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (which is being released on DVD soon) and Dark Blood (no distribution rights).
Oops. Embarrassing. We don't have Amazon streaming where I live. (Canada.) I thought for example that "Running on Empty" was unavailable because of rights issues. Guess I should know what I'm talking about before I post.
Still... out of River's 13 or so movies I'd say only about 4 are worth seeing, really.
He was not A list--please. Lol. He was an indie character actor. By the time he died "Stand By Me" was almost a decade old. "Running on Empty" was not big box office, and "My Own Private Idaho" a cult film that barely made a dent at the box office.
A very good but uneven actor. "Dogfight" has been unfairly neglected, "The Thing of Love" is silly, and a lot of his late 80's work forgettable. Would have become another DiCaprio? Maybe. Maybe not.
Yes, he didn't leave much of a filmography behind, and most of his movies are forgotten. I would say Stand By Me is definitely still known, but My Own Private Idaho is only known to people who are into indie movies, not really the general population. Jake and Maggie G.'s mother wrote Running On Empty, btw, which is now totally forgotten along with most of River's films.
I was in high school when he died, and everybody my age knew who River Phoenix was, but it seemed to be my generation only. He certainly wasn't known to my parents' generation, for the most part. And I doubt most people under 30 today really know who he was. Maybe they've heard his name, but that's about it.
I was just looking through a new book about River called "Last Night at the Viper Room" and it reminded me of movies I'd long since forgotten, like "Little Nikita" and "Silent Tongue." I watched them all back in the day. Of course, every actor makes crappy movies -- he was still in more decent movies than a contemporary like Christian Slater.
River was nicer to look at but I'd say Joaquin Phoenix ended up being a better and more interesting actor than River ever was, though obviously he's had 20 more years to work on it.
Hmm. Autopsy said he was circumcised. Kind of unhippie-ish
One of the great American actors of all time.
His performances in Stand by Me and Running on Empty are legendary.