Image of River Phoenix

River Phoenix

River Phoenix was an up-and-coming movie star when he died suddenly of drug-induced heart failure in 1993 at the age of 23. His brief career was marked by critically-acclaimed performances in films such as Stand By Me (1986), Running On Empty (1988) and Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho (1991, with Keanu Reeves). River was the eldest of five children whose itinerant parents were members of a radical Christian group called the Children of God (later known as The Family). His family lived in communes in Oregon, Texas, Puerto Rico and Venezuela before settling in Florida. Pursuing entertainment careers for their children, the parents moved the family to Los Angeles, where River began getting television jobs in the early 1980s. Although his first feature film was 1985's Explorers (with young Ethan Hawke), it was his stand-out performance in the ensemble drama Stand By Me that gained him national recognition. Phoenix was labeled a promising young actor and his career took off. He co-starred with Harrison Ford in both The Mosquito Coast (1986) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), and earned an Oscar nomination for his performance in Running On Empty. His other films include Little Nikita (1988, with Sidney Poitier), Dogfight (1991) and Sneakers (1992, with Robert Redford). In 1993, outside Johnny Depp's L.A. nightclub, The Viper Room, Phoenix went into cardiac arrest and died, a result of lethal levels of heroin and cocaine.

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Aug 23, 1970 In Metolius, Oregon USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the series Hotel 1982-08-21
Latest Project:
Movie Dark Blood 2012-09-27
Known For
Poster of Silent Tongue
Poster of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Poster of Running on Empty
Movie Dark Blood Boy 2012-09-27
Movie My Own Private River Michael "Mike" Waters (archive footage) 2011-09-25
Movie Walking the Tracks: The Summer of Stand by Me Himself as Chris Chambers (archive footage) 2000-08-29
Movie Even Cowgirls Get the Blues Pilgrim (Uncredited) 1994-05-13
Movie Truth or Dairy Himself (archive footage) 1994-01-01
Movie Silent Tongue Talbot Roe 1993-01-28
Movie The Thing Called Love James Wright 1993-08-27
Movie Sneakers Carl Arbegast 1992-09-09
Movie Teen Vid II Himself 1991-01-01
Movie My Own Private Idaho Michael "Mike" Waters 1991-02-01
Movie Dogfight Eddie Birdlace 1991-09-13
Movie I Love You to Death Devo Nod 1990-04-06
Movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Young Indy 1989-05-24
Movie Running on Empty Danny Pope / Michael Manfield 1988-09-09
Movie Little Nikita Jeff Grant 1988-03-17
Movie A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon Jimmy Reardon 1988-07-21
Movie Stand by Me Chris Chambers 1986-08-08
Movie The Mosquito Coast Charlie Fox 1986-11-26
Movie Circle of Violence: A Family Drama Chris Benfield 1986-10-12
Series Robert Kennedy & His Times Robert Kennedy Jr. 1985-01-27
Movie Explorers Wolfgang Müller 1985-07-12
Movie Surviving Philip Brogan 1985-02-10
Series It's Your Move Unknown 1984-09-26
Series Hotel Unknown 1982-08-21
Series Family Ties Unknown 1982-09-22
Series Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Guthrie McFadden 1982-09-19