On This Day

River Phoenix

Actor River Phoenix

Full Name: River Jude Phoenix
Profession: Actor

United States of America

Biography: River Phoenix was acclaimed as one of the most influential actors of his generation before he died of a drug overdose on a West Hollywood sidewalk at the age of 23.

Born in Oregon, he but spent much of his early childhood traveling with his family in South America. After becoming disillusioned with the Children of God cult, the Phoenix family fled Venezuela by stowing away in a cruise ship. Once back in America, River and his siblings all secured careers as child actors.

River’s significant roles included Chris Chambers in the 1986 film “Stand By Me”, Mike Waters in “My Own Private Idaho” (1991) which won him the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival. Other notable roles included Young Indy in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, and Danny Pope in “Running on Empty”, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor.

River was also a dedicated and outspoken animal rights activist and environmentalist. These concerns fostered a ‘good-boy’ public image that made his death and its cause a massive shock to his fans. He is survived by his talented siblings Joaquin, River, Liberty and Summer - all successful actors and musicians.

Born: August 23, 1970
Birthplace: Madras, Oregon, USA

Generation: Generation X
Chinese Zodiac: Dog
Star Sign: Virgo

Died: October 31, 1993 (aged 23)
Cause of Death: Drug overdose

Historical Events

  • 1986-08-22 "Stand By Me" film based on the novella by Stephen King, directed by Rob Reiner and starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O'Connell is released
  • 1991-09-29 Gus Van Sant's film "My Own Private Idaho" starring Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix premieres
  • 1991-10-18 "My Own Private Idaho" directed and written by Gus van Sant starring River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves is released

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