Today, everyone knows about actor Joaquin Phoenix. He is one of Hollywood’s “A-List” actors and has appeared in some of the biggest movies of the past decade, including Gladiator, Walk the Line, and other top grossing films. What many people don’t know is that there was a time when he wasn’t even the biggest star in his own family. River Phoenix was a wildly popular young actor with a long career ahead of him when his life was snuffed out at a young age as a result of drug addiction. River was a heroin addict, and it was this dangerous drug that snared him away from the superstardom he was clearly headed for.
The Short, Bright Career of River Phoenix
When he made his first star turn in the film Stand By Me, River Phoenix seemed destined for great things. Hollywood came calling with a number of big budget roles, but Phoenix wanted to be taken seriously as an actor and chose the much more challenging role of a gifted teenage son in Running on Empty, a role which gave him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor. He also played the young Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. River, indeed, had everything going for his acting career, before addiction to heroin took over his life, and eventually ended it.
Heroin Overdose of River Phoenix
In addition to acting, River enjoyed playing in a number of bands around Los Angeles with his celebrity friends that included Johnny Depp, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and others. On the evening of October 31, 1993, the group (along with River’s brother Joaquin) were playing at The Viper Room on Sunset Boulevard. Before going on stage, River was seen in the club’s bathroom snorting a powerful form of brown heroin. Minutes later, he collapsed on Sunset Boulevard. Efforts of friends and family to revive him were fruitless – he was pronounced dead at a Beverly Hills hospital hours later.
The Reasons Behind the Phoenix Drug Addiction
In the years following his death, a number of theories would be put forth as to why River Phoenix was the victim of a celebrity heroin overdose. Some would say that he retreated in drug abuse as a result of being sexually molested as a child by the cult his family belonged to. Others would say he was unable to cope with the constant spotlight of fame. Whatever the reason, Phoenix is another name in a long list of young people whose lives were snuffed out as a result of heroin drug addiction.