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August 23, 2019

23 Fascinating Photographs of River Phoenix in the 1980s and Early 1990s

River Phoenix was an American actor, musician, and activist. Born on August 23, 1970 in Oregon, River began his career at the age of ten, appearing in commercials. As a teenager, he played a main role in the science fiction film Explorers. Directed by Joe Dante, the film was much loved by the audience and received a cult status. However it was a commercial failure. A few years later, he played a significant role in the drama film Running on Empty, which was directed by Sidney Lumet. Though the film failed to be a commercial success, his performance won him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.


River also had a huge passion for music. A talented guitar player, he, along with his sister Rain, formed a band named Aleka’s Attic. They worked on a self-titled album which was never released due to River’s untimely death.

As an activist, River was involved with animal rights as well as environmental and political issues. He was an active spokesperson for the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The young man had a lot to offer to the world but his promising career was cut short by his untimely death at the age of 23. For his last completed film, Phoenix starred with Alan Bates, Richard Harris, and Dermot Mulroney in director Sam Shepard’s western Silent Tongue (1994). He had started work on Dark Blood with Jonathan Pryce and Judy Davis when tragedy struck. During a break in filming, Phoenix went out to the Viper Room, a popular nightclub that was partly owned by Johnny Depp, with his brother Joaquin, his sister Rain, and his girlfriend Samantha Mathis.

At some point during the evening, Phoenix took a cocktail of drugs and became seriously ill. He was helped outside and began to have seizures. His brother Joaquin called 911 while his sister Rain tried to help Phoenix who was lying on the sidewalk. When the ambulance arrived, paramedics worked on resuscitating the young actor at the scene. Their efforts failed, and they transported him to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he was declared dead in the early hours of October 31, 1993.



























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