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River Jude Phoenix (né Bottom; August 23, 1970 – October 31, 1993) was an American actor, musician, and activist. He was the older brother of Rain Phoenix, Joaquin Phoenix, Liberty Phoenix, and Summer Phoenix. Phoenix's work encompassed 24 films and television appearances, and his rise to fame led to his status as a "teen idol".[1] He began his acting career at age 10, in television commercials. He starred in the science fiction adventure film Explorers (1985), and had his first notable role in 1986's Stand by Me, a coming-of-age film based on the novella The Body by Stephen King. Phoenix made a transition into more adult-oriented roles with Running on Empty (1988), playing the son of fugitive parents in a well-received performance that earned him a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and My Own Private Idaho (1991), playing a gay hustler in search of his estranged mother. For his performance in the latter, Phoenix garnered enormous praise and won a Volpi Cup for Best Actor
Volpi Cup for Best Actor
at the Venice Film Festival, along with Best Actor from the National Society of Film Critics. On October 31, 1993, Phoenix collapsed and died of combined drug intoxication following a drug overdose on the sidewalk outside the West Hollywood
West Hollywood
nightclub The Viper Room
The Viper Room
at the age of 23.[2] At the time of his death, Phoenix had been in the middle of filming Dark Blood (2012).

Contents

1 Early life

1.1 Children of God

2 Acting career 3 Music 4 Activism 5 Death 6 Unreleased and unfilmed projects 7 Legacy

7.1 In culture and media 7.2 Honors and rankings

8 Filmography

8.1 Film 8.2 Television 8.3 Music videos

9 Notes 10 References 11 Bibliography 12 Further reading 13 External links

Early life[edit] Phoenix was born on August 23, 1970 in Madras, Oregon, the first child of Arlyn Dunetz and John Lee Bottom.[3] Phoenix's parents named him after the river of life from the Hermann Hesse
Hermann Hesse
novel Siddhartha,[1] and he received his middle name from the Beatles' song "Hey Jude". In an interview with People, Phoenix described his parents as "hippieish".[3] His mother was born in the Bronx, New York to Jewish parents whose families had emigrated from Russia and Hungary.[4][5] His father was a lapsed Catholic from Fontana, California, of English, German, and French ancestry.[4] In 1968, Phoenix's mother left her family in New York City and travelled across the United States. While hitchhiking in northern California she met John Lee Bottom. They married on September 13, 1969, less than a year after meeting. Phoenix's family moved cross country when he was very young. Phoenix was raised in Micanopy, Florida, a small suburb of Gainesville, where they lived in poverty. Phoenix has stated that they lived in a "desperate situation." Phoenix often played guitar while he and his sister sang on street corners for money and food to support their ever-growing family.[6] Phoenix never attended formal school. Screenwriter Naomi Foner later commented, "He was totally, totally without education. I mean, he could read and write, and he had an appetite for it, but he had no deep roots into any kind of sense of history or literature."[6] This is contradicted by a statement from George Sluizer, who claimed Phoenix was dyslexic.[7] Children of God[edit] In 1973 the family joined a controversial Christian new religious movement, called the Children of God, as missionaries.[8] The family had settled in Caracas, Venezuela
Caracas, Venezuela
where the Children of God had stationed them to work as missionaries and fruit gatherers. Although Phoenix rarely talked about the cult, he was quoted by Arlyn Phoenix in a 1994 Esquire article as having said "They're disgusting, they're ruining people's lives."[9] In an interview with Details magazine in November 1991, Phoenix stated he lost his virginity at age four while in the Children of God, "but I've blocked it out."[10] Arlyn and John eventually grew disillusioned with the Children of God; Arlyn would later tell a journalist that she and her husband were opposed to the group's practice of "Flirty Fishing", stating: "The group was being distorted by the leader, David Berg, who was getting powerful and wealthy. He sought to attract rich disciples through sex. No way."[11] In the late 1970s, River's family moved in with Arlyn's parents in Florida. The family officially changed their name to Phoenix, after the mythical bird that rises from its own ashes, symbolizing a new beginning.[12] Acting career[edit] Back in the United States, Arlyn began working as a secretary for an NBC
NBC
broadcaster and John as an exteriors architect. Top kids agent Iris Burton spotted River, Joaquin, and their sisters Summer and Rain singing for spare change in Westwood, Los Angeles, and was so charmed by the family that she soon represented the four siblings.[13] River started doing commercials for Mitsubishi, Ocean Spray, and Saks Fifth Avenue, and soon afterward he and the other children were signed by casting director Penny Marshall
Penny Marshall
from Paramount Pictures. River and Rain were assigned immediately to a show called Real Kids as warm up performers for the audience. In 1980, Phoenix began to fully pursue his work as an actor, making his first appearance on a TV show called Fantasy singing with his sister Rain.[8] In 1982, River was cast in the short-lived CBS
CBS
television series, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, in which he starred as the youngest brother, Guthrie McFadden. River arrived at the auditions with his guitar and promptly burst into a convincing Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley
impersonation, charming the show producer.[14] By this age, Phoenix was also an accomplished tap dancer.[6] Almost a year after Seven Brides ended in 1983, Phoenix found a new role in the 1984 television movie Celebrity, where he played the part of young Jeffie Crawford. Although he was only onscreen for about ten minutes, his character was central.[15] Less than a month after Celebrity came the ABC Afterschool Special: Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia. River starred as a young boy who discovers he has dyslexia. Joaquin starred in a small role alongside his brother. In September, the pilot episode of the short-lived TV series It's Your Move
It's Your Move
aired. Phoenix was cast as Brian and only had one line of dialogue. He also starred as Robert Kennedy's son, Robert Kennedy, Jr., in the TV movie Robert Kennedy and His Times. After his role in Dyslexia
Dyslexia
was critically acclaimed, Phoenix was almost immediately cast as a major role in his next made-for-TV movie, Surviving: A Family in Crisis. He starred as Philip Brogan alongside Molly Ringwald
Molly Ringwald
and Heather O'Rourke. Halfway during the filming of Surviving, Iris Burton contacted him about a possible role in the film Explorers.[16]

Phoenix and Martha Plimpton
Martha Plimpton
on the red carpet at the 61st Academy Awards, 1989

In October 1984, Phoenix secured the role of geeky boy-scientist Wolfgang Müller in Joe Dante's large-budget science-fiction film Explorers alongside Ethan Hawke, and production began soon after. Released in the summer of 1985, this was Phoenix's first major motion picture role. In October 1986, Phoenix co-starred alongside Tuesday Weld and Geraldine Fitzgerald
Geraldine Fitzgerald
in the acclaimed CBS
CBS
television movie Circle of Violence: A Family Drama, which told a story of domestic elder abuse. This was Phoenix's last television role before achieving film stardom. At 15, Phoenix had a significant role in Rob Reiner's popular coming-of-age film Stand By Me (1986), which made him a household name. The Washington Post
The Washington Post
opined that Phoenix gave the film its "centre of gravity".[6] Phoenix commented: "The truth is, I identified so much with the role of Chris Chambers that if I hadn't had my family to go back to after the shoot, I'd have probably had to see a psychiatrist."[17] Later that year Phoenix completed Peter Weir's The Mosquito Coast (1986), playing the son of Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford
and Helen Mirren's characters. "He was obviously going to be a movie star," observed Weir. "It's something apart from acting ability. Laurence Olivier never had what River had."[6] During the five-month shoot in Belize, Phoenix began a romance with his co-star Martha Plimpton, a relationship which continued in some form for many years.[6] Phoenix was surprised by the poor reception for the film, feeling more secure about his work in it than he had in Stand By Me.[17] Phoenix was next cast as the lead in the teen comedy-drama A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon (1988), but was disappointed with his performance: "It didn't turn out the way I thought it would, and I put the blame on myself. I wanted to do a comedy, and it was definitely a stretch, but I'm not sure I was even the right person for the role."[17] In 1988, Phoenix starred in Little Nikita
Little Nikita
(1988) alongside Sidney Poitier. During this time, the Phoenix family continued to move on a regular basis, moving over forty times by the time Phoenix was 18. After completing his sixth feature film, Sidney Lumet's Running on Empty (1988), Phoenix purchased his family a ranch in Micanopy, Florida, near Gainesville in 1987, in addition to a spread in Costa Rica.[18]

River Phoenix
River Phoenix
at the 61st Academy Awards

In early 1989, Phoenix was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (as well as for a Golden Globe), and received the Best Supporting Actor honor from the National Board of Review
National Board of Review
for his role in Running on Empty. Phoenix jumped to his feet during the ceremony when Kevin Kline
Kevin Kline
beat him for the Oscar. "I had to stop River from running to hug Kevin," recalled his mother Arlyn. "It never crossed his mind that he hadn't won."[18] That year he also portrayed a young Indiana Jones
Indiana Jones
in the box-office hit Indiana Jones
Indiana Jones
and the Last Crusade directed by Steven Spielberg. In 1990, Phoenix was photographed by Bruce Weber for Vogue and was spokesperson for a campaign for Gap. In 1991, Phoenix filmed an acclaimed independent picture called Dogfight co-starring Lili Taylor
Lili Taylor
and directed by Nancy Savoca. In the romantic coming-of-age drama set in San Francisco, Phoenix portrayed a young U.S. Marine on the night before he was shipped off to Vietnam in November 1963. Taylor remarked that Phoenix suffered because he could not distance himself from his character: "He also hadn’t gotten into any [drugs] – he was just drinking then, too. It was different... That was actually a hard part for him, because it was so radically different from who he was. He was such a hippie, and here he was playing this marine. It actually caused him a lot of discomfort. I don't think he enjoyed that, actually, getting into that psyche."[19] During filming he said he had oral sex with another male actor as preparation for playing a gay hustler in My Own Private Idaho.[20] Phoenix met actor Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves
while Reeves was filming Parenthood with Phoenix's brother, Joaquin. The two starred together for the first time (along with Kevin Kline, Tracey Ullman
Tracey Ullman
and Joan Plowright) in 1990's I Love You to Death
I Love You to Death
and again in Gus Van Sant's avant-garde film My Own Private Idaho. In his review for Newsweek, David Ansen praised Phoenix's performance: "The campfire scene in which Mike awkwardly declares his unrequited love for Scott is a marvel of delicacy. In this, and every scene, Phoenix immerses himself so deeply inside his character you almost forget you've seen him before: it's a stunningly sensitive performance, poignant and comic at once". For his role in My Own Private Idaho, Phoenix won Best Actor honors at the Venice Film Festival, the National Society of Film Critics and the Independent Spirit Awards. The film and its success solidified Phoenix's image as an actor with edgy, leading man potential. In that period Phoenix was beginning to make use of drugs like marijuana, cocaine and heroin with some friends.[3][21] In the book Gus Van Sant wrote about Phoenix, Pink, the director said clearly that Phoenix was not a regular drug user but only occasionally, and that the actor had a more serious problem with alcohol. Phoenix had always tried to hide his addictions because he feared that they might ruin his career as they did his relationship with Martha Plimpton. Phoenix teamed up with Robert Redford
Robert Redford
and again with Sidney Poitier for the conspiracy/espionage thriller Sneakers (1992). A month later he began production on Sam Shepard's art-house ghost western Silent Tongue (which was released in 1994); he also was beaten out for the role of Paul by Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt
in A River Runs Through It. He made a cameo appearance in Van Sant's Even Cowgirls get the Blues (1993), co-starring his sister Rain. Phoenix then starred in Peter Bogdanovich's country music-themed film, The Thing Called Love
The Thing Called Love
(1993), the last completed picture before his death. Phoenix began a relationship with co-star Samantha Mathis on the set. Music[edit]

Phoenix (middle) with Aleka's Attic.

Although Phoenix's movie career was generating most of the income for his family, it has been stated by close friends and relatives that his true passion was music. Phoenix was a singer, songwriter, and an accomplished guitarist. He had begun teaching himself guitar at the age of five and had stated in an interview for E! in 1988 that his family's move to Los Angeles when he was nine was made so that he and his sister "could become recording artists. I fell into commercials for financial reasons and acting became an attractive concept". Prior to securing an acting agent, Phoenix and his siblings tried to forge a career in music by playing cover versions on the streets of the Westwood district of LA, often being moved along by police because gathering crowds would obstruct the pavement. From the first fruits of his film success, Phoenix saved $650 to obtain his prized possession, a guitar with which he wrote what he described as "progressive, ethereal folk-rock".[17] While working on A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon
A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon
in 1986, Phoenix had written and recorded a song, "Heart to Get", specifically for the end credits of the movie. 20th Century Fox cut it from the completed film, but director William Richert put it back into place for his director's cut some years later. It was during filming that Phoenix met Chris Blackwell of Island Records; this meeting would later secure Phoenix a two-year development deal with the label. Phoenix disliked the idea of being a solo artist and relished collaboration; therefore he focused on putting together a band. Aleka's Attic
Aleka's Attic
were formed in 1987 and the lineup included his sister Rain.[22] Phoenix was committed to gaining credibility by his own merit and maintained that the band would not use his name when securing performances that were not benefits for charitable organizations. Phoenix's first release was "Across the Way", co-written with bandmate Josh McKay, which was released in 1989 on a benefit album for PETA titled Tame Yourself.[23] In 1991, Phoenix wrote and recorded a spoken word piece called "Curi Curi" for Milton Nascimento's album TXAI.[24] Also in 1991 the Aleka's Attic
Aleka's Attic
track "Too Many Colors" was used in the film My Own Private Idaho, which included Phoenix in a starring role. Aleka's Attic
Aleka's Attic
disbanded in 1992, but Phoenix continued writing and performing. While working on the film The Thing Called Love
The Thing Called Love
in 1993, Phoenix wrote and recorded the song "Lone Star State of Mine", which he performs in the movie. The song was not included on the film's soundtrack album. In 1996, the Aleka's Attic
Aleka's Attic
track "Note to a Friend" was released on the 1996 benefit album In Defense of Animals; Volume II and featured Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers
Red Hot Chili Peppers
on bass. Phoenix had collaborated with friend John Frusciante
John Frusciante
after his first departure from Red Hot Chili Peppers
Red Hot Chili Peppers
and the songs "Height Down" and "Well I've Been" were released on Frusciante's second solo album Smile from the Streets You Hold in 1997. Phoenix was an investor in the original House of Blues
House of Blues
(founded by his good friend and Sneakers co-star Dan Aykroyd) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which opened its doors to the public after serving a group of homeless people on Thanksgiving Day 1992.[25] Activism[edit] Phoenix was a dedicated animal rights, environmental and political activist. He was a prominent spokesperson for PETA
PETA
and won their Humanitarian Award in 1992 for his fund-raising efforts.[26] In 1990, Phoenix wrote an environmental awareness essay about Earth Day targeted at his young fanbase, which was printed in Seventeen magazine. Phoenix was a lifelong vegan.[27] His first girlfriend Martha Plimpton recalled: "Once when we were fifteen, River and I went out for a fancy dinner in Manhattan, and I ordered soft-shell crabs. He left the restaurant and walked around on Park Avenue, crying. I went out and he said, 'I love you so much, why?...' He had such pain that I was eating an animal, that he hadn't impressed on me what was right."[18] He financially aided a great many environmental and humanitarian organizations, and bought 800 acres (320 ha) of endangered rainforest in Costa Rica.[28] As well as giving speeches at rallies for various groups, Phoenix and his band often played environmental benefits for well-known charities as well as local ones in the Gainesville, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
area. He campaigned for Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
in the 1992 US presidential election.[29] Death[edit]

The Viper Room
The Viper Room
on Sunset Strip
Sunset Strip
in Los Angeles, where Phoenix collapsed on the sidewalk and died.

On the evening of October 30, 1993, Phoenix was to perform with his close friend Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers
Red Hot Chili Peppers
onstage at The Viper Room, a Hollywood nightclub partly owned at the time by actor Johnny Depp.[21] Phoenix had returned to Los Angeles early that week from Utah to complete the three weeks of interior shots left on his last project, Dark Blood,[30][a] a film that was finally completed in 2012.[34] His younger sister Rain and brother Joaquin joined him at the Hotel Nikko (now the SLS Hotel) on La Cienega Boulevard. Phoenix's girlfriend Samantha Mathis also had come to meet him. All were present at the scene of Phoenix's death.[3] During the early morning hours of October 31, 1993, Phoenix suffered a drug overdose, and collapsed outside and convulsed for over five minutes. When his brother Joaquin called 9-1-1, he was unable to determine whether Phoenix was breathing. His sister Rain proceeded to give him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.[35] During the episode, Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp
and his band P (featuring Flea and Phoenix's friend Gibby Haynes
Gibby Haynes
of the Butthole Surfers) were onstage. According to Haynes, the band was in the middle of their song "Michael Stipe" while Phoenix was outside the venue having seizures on the sidewalk.[36] When the news filtered through the club, Flea left the stage and rushed outside. By that time, paramedics had arrived on the scene and found Phoenix turning dark blue, in full cardiac arrest and in a flatline state. They administered medication in an attempt to restart his heart. He was rushed to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, accompanied by Flea, via an ambulance. Further attempts to resuscitate Phoenix were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at 1:51 a.m. PST on the morning of October 31, 1993 at the age of 23. The following day the club became a makeshift shrine with fans and mourners leaving flowers, pictures and candles on the sidewalk and graffiti messages on the walls of the venue.[37] A sign was placed in the window that read, "With much respect and love to River and his family, The Viper Room
The Viper Room
is temporarily closed. Our heartfelt condolences to all his family, friends and loved ones. He will be missed."[38] The club remained closed for a week. Depp continued to close the club every year on October 31 until selling his share in 2004.[39] Before his death, Phoenix's image—one he bemoaned in interviews—had been squeaky-clean, owing in part to his public dedication to his various social, political, humanitarian, and dietary interests not always popular in the 1980s. As a result, his death elicited a vast amount of coverage from the media.[40] Phoenix was described by one writer as "the vegan James Dean," and comparisons were made regarding the youth and sudden deaths of both actors.[41] The November 15, 1993 autopsy found that "Toxicology studies showed high concentrations of morphine and cocaine in the blood, as well as other substances in smaller concentrations." The cause of death was "acute multiple drug intoxication", including cocaine and morphine.[42] Joaquin's call to 9-1-1
9-1-1
was recorded and broadcast by several radio and TV shows. Following his death, media actively violated the family's privacy, including breaking into the Miami funeral home and taking a picture of Phoenix’s body in his casket. The picture was sold to the National Enquirer. Joaquin was so upset that he walked away from Hollywood for a second time.[citation needed] On November 24, 1993, Arlyn "Heart" Phoenix published an open letter in the Los Angeles Times on her son's life and death. It read, in part:

His friends, co-workers and the rest of our family know that River was not a regular drug user. He lived at home in Florida with us and was almost never a part of the "club scene" in Los Angeles. He had just arrived in L.A. from the pristine beauty and quietness of Utah where he was filming for six weeks. We feel that the excitement and energy of the Halloween nightclub and party scene were way beyond his usual experience and control. How many other beautiful young souls, who remain anonymous to us, have died by using drugs recreationally? It is my prayer that River's leaving in this way will focus the attention of the world on how painfully the spirits of his generation are being worn down.[43] River made such a big impression during his life on Earth. He found his voice and found his place. And even River, who had the whole world at his fingertips to listen, felt deep frustration that no one heard. What is it going to take? Chernobyl wasn't enough. Exxon Valdez wasn't enough. A bloody war over oil wasn't enough. If River's passing opens our global heart, then I say, thanks dear, beloved son, for yet another gift to all of us.[43]

Phoenix was cremated and his ashes were scattered at his family ranch in Micanopy, Florida. Following his death, Aleka's Attic
Aleka's Attic
disbanded. On the 20th anniversary of Phoenix's death, musician Bob Forrest talked about the young actor's early death saying that while Phoenix maintained an image of a hippie vegan pacifist the reality of his drug taking was much darker than anyone knew. Forrest said that Phoenix had been staying with musician John Frusciante
John Frusciante
for a few days before his death. The duo would go on long drug binges, barely sleeping. They would smoke crack and inject heroin and cocaine together. On the night of his death, both Phoenix and Frusciante arrived at the Viper Room together, where they met Mathis and River's brother and sister. Forrest claims that cocaine instantly was passed around among the group; however, he noticed that Phoenix was not looking well. During the performance by Depp's band, Phoenix informed Forrest that he wasn't feeling well, and thought he was overdosing. Forrest said that Phoenix rallied and re-entered the crowd, but moments later someone frantically called for 9-1-1
9-1-1
as Phoenix collapsed outside and started having seizures. Forrest drove his own car to the hospital, but Phoenix was declared dead shortly after arrival.[44] Unreleased and unfilmed projects[edit] River's sudden death prevented him from playing various roles for which he had already been cast:

Phoenix was due to begin work on Neil Jordan's Interview with the Vampire (1994) two weeks after his death. He was to play Daniel Molloy, the interviewer, which then went to Christian Slater,[45][46] who donated his entire $250,000 salary to two of Phoenix's favorite charitable organizations: Earth Save and Earth Trust.[47][48][49] The film has a dedication to Phoenix after the end credits. The Guardian
The Guardian
suggested in 2003 "it was likely that Phoenix would have followed [Interview with the Vampire] by appearing as Susan Sarandon's son in Safe Passage (1994), a role that went to Sean Astin.[45] Phoenix had signed onto the lead role in Broken Dreams, a screenplay written by John Boorman
John Boorman
and Neil Jordan
Neil Jordan
(to be directed by Boorman), and co-starring Winona Ryder. The film was put on hold due to Phoenix's death. In June 2012, it was announced that Caleb Landry Jones had been cast in the role.[50] Gus Van Sant
Gus Van Sant
had gotten Phoenix to agree to play the role of Cleve Jones in Milk when he was originally planning on making the movie in the early 1990s. The role was eventually played by Emile Hirsch
Emile Hirsch
in 2008. When asked in Interview magazine, "You were going to do a movie with River about Andy Warhol, right?" Van Sant said, "Yeah. River kind of looked like Andy in his younger days. But that project never really went forward."[51] In 1988, Phoenix was reportedly carrying around a copy of the 1978 memoir The Basketball Diaries. He had heard a movie version was in the works and wanted to play the autobiographical role of Jim Carroll. The film was sent into hiatus on numerous occasions with Phoenix being cited as the main contender for the role each time. The Basketball Diaries was made in 1995 with Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio
in the lead. He had expressed interest in playing the 19th-century poet Arthur Rimbaud in Total Eclipse (1995) by Polish director Agnieszka Holland.[45] Phoenix died before the movie was cast, with the role eventually going to Leonardo DiCaprio.

Legacy[edit] Every year on October 31, fans pay tribute to the life of the actor. His famous quote "Acting is like a Halloween mask that you put on." is frequently mentioned by fans on social media.[52] Other male actors who have credited Phoenix as a major influence as well as paving the way for them include Leonardo DiCaprio,[53] Jared Leto,[54] James Franco,[55] Dylan O'Brien,[56] and many more.[57] In culture and media[edit]

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Phoenix's status as a teen idol and promising young actor, and his subsequent premature death, made him a frequent subject in popular culture media. He first gained references in music with Brazilian singer Milton Nascimento
Milton Nascimento
writing the song "River Phoenix: Letter to a Young Actor" about him after having seen Phoenix in The Mosquito Coast (1986). The song appears on the 1989 release Miltons.[58] Phoenix's friends, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, wrote a few lines for him in their hit song "Give It Away" from the 1991 album Blood Sugar Sex Magik: "There's a River born to be a giver, keep you warm won't let you shiver, his heart is never gonna wither..." Phoenix also appears in the music video for their song, "Breaking the Girl" and following his death, the band paid tribute to him with the song "Transcending" (originally titled "River") on their 1995 album, One Hot Minute. Former Chili Peppers' guitarist, John Frusciante, dedicated the song "Smile From The Streets You Hold" to River Phoenix. Frusciante wrote the first part of the song about their friendship while Phoenix was still alive. After Phoenix's death, Frusciante wrote the second part in his memory. Phoenix has been the subject of numerous other tributes in song and other media. The band R.E.M.
R.E.M.
dedicated their album Monster to Phoenix (as Michael Stipe
Michael Stipe
and Phoenix were close friends), and their song "E-Bow the Letter" from 1996's New Adventures in Hi-Fi
New Adventures in Hi-Fi
is said to have been written from a letter Michael Stipe
Michael Stipe
wrote to Phoenix but never sent because of the actor's death. River Phoenix
River Phoenix
is referenced in the song "Sacred Life" from the eponymous album by the British band The Cult: " River Phoenix
River Phoenix
was so young, Don't you know your prince has gone?" Ex- 10000 Maniacs
10000 Maniacs
singer Natalie Merchant
Natalie Merchant
wrote and recorded a memorably controversial song, simply named "River", featured on her 1995 solo album Tigerlily
Tigerlily
(Elektra). While she deplores this death of a "Young & strong Hollywood son" who was "one of ours", she criticizes strongly the excesses of the people's "vulture's candor" and the media's greedy attention to the event and adds: "Why don't you let him be… /Give his father & his mother peace", as well as: "It's only a tragedy", ending with the real question behind it: "How could we save him / From himself?" Thus she went far beyond the straight eulogy that most songs and writings about River Phoenix's passing were at the time it happened. Musician Sam Phillips has the dedication "For River" on her album Martinis & Bikinis. Other songs inspired by Phoenix include Dana Lyons' "Song For River Phoenix
River Phoenix
(If I Had Known)", Grant Lee Buffalo's "Halloween",× Ellis Paul's song "River", found on his 1994 release Stories,[59] Rufus Wainwright's "Matinee Idol", Nada Surf's "River Phoenix", Stereophonics's "Chris Chambers", Jux County's "River Phoenix", and Santa Cruz's "River Phoenix" and " River Phoenix
River Phoenix
(Part 2)". In her 1996 album Woman & a Man, Belinda Carlisle
Belinda Carlisle
referenced River in the song "California". The song opens and closes with the line "I remember I was in a tanning salon, when I heard that River Phoenix
River Phoenix
was gone." In Jay-Z's album, Kingdom Come, the lyrics of "Hollywood" list him as one of the many fatalities of the pressures of Hollywood. New York band Japanther
Japanther
featured a song on their album Skuffed Up My Huffy (2008) entitled "River Phoenix", which is about certain events in his life and delivers the chorus " River Phoenix
River Phoenix
didn't mean it". In the song "The Viper Room", Wesley Willis
Wesley Willis
takes an abrupt turn from an otherwise glowing account of the club by noting Phoenix's death, stating that he "...collapsed and died like a Doberman." On his 2013 album Not Thinking Straight, British recording artist Matt Fishel referenced Phoenix in the song "When Boy Meets Boy". Its lyrics portray a bedroom in which the walls are "covered in posters of idols and rock stars who had died too young" and the song's third verse contains the line "I paid tribute with a little wink to River Phoenix hanging on the wall".[60] In the song's accompanying music video, an animated poster of Phoenix hangs on a wall next to Jimi Hendrix, Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury
and Kurt Cobain.[61] Gus Van Sant, with whom Phoenix worked in the film My Own Private Idaho, dedicated his 1994 movie Even Cowgirls Get the Blues as well as his 1997 novel Pink to him. Experimental Santa Cruz filmmaker Cam Archer also produced a documentary called Drowning River Phoenix
River Phoenix
as part of his American Fame series.[62] During performances on November 13[63] and November 15, 1993,[64] and February 12, 1994,[65] and one of Nirvana's last USA shows in Seattle on January 7, 1994,[66] Kurt Cobain of Nirvana dedicated the song "Jesus Doesn't Want Me for a Sunbeam" to Phoenix (among other celebrities who died young), just a few months before Cobain's death. Tom Petty
Tom Petty
dedicated "Ballad of Easy Rider" to Phoenix when he played in his and Phoenix's hometown of Gainesville, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
in November 1993. The British band Manic Street Preachers
Manic Street Preachers
mentions Phoenix in their song "Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayitsworldwouldfallapart" (from the album The Holy Bible, 1994) in the following line: "...I'm thinking right now of Hollywood tragedy; Big Mac; smack; Phoenix, R; please smile y'all..." Phoenix was the subject of a controversial song by Australian group TISM
TISM
titled "(He'll Never Be An) Ol' Man River" the single originally featured a mock-up of Phoenix's tombstone as its cover art in 1995. The chorus features the line, "I'm on the drug that killed River Phoenix."[67] On the song "Love Me, Hate Me" by rapper Ja Rule, he numerates different ways he could die as a celebrity, and one of the lyrics says "I might OD in a club off drugs like River Phoenix". In the 1997 musical, The Fix, Phoenix is alluded to in the song "Mistress of Deception" in the lines, "Hot young actor died last night at an L.A. club/Ecstasy and booze/And too much NyQuil/Had the sweetest face/Warm and shy and innocent/Sexy in that careless kinda way/The newsman said his heart just stopped like that..." The Hugh Cornwell song "Rain on the River" from his 2009 album Hooverdam is directly about the death of Phoenix, as his sister Rain sits over her dying brother on the sidewalk outside The Viper Room.[68] A lesser known reference to River Phoenix
River Phoenix
was Final Fantasy VIII's main protagonist Squall Leonhart. Tetsuya Nomura, the lead character designer for the game, stated he modeled Squall on River's visage during development, and even gave Squall the same birthdate.[69] The 2015 TV series, Autopsy: The Last Hours of... featured River Phoenix as well as a number of other celebrities. The scene of Phoenix's death also merits several mentions in William Gibson's book Spook Country. The song "River, Run" by the band Suddenly, Tammy! from their record We Get There When We Do
We Get There When We Do
was written about him. Rapper Tyler, the Creator
Tyler, the Creator
references Phoenix in his 2017's Flower Boy, perceived by some critics as a kind of coming out album[70][71], as a sex symbol. In the song "I Ain't Got Time", he writes in the first verses "Boy, I need a Kleenex. How I got this far? Boy, I can't believe it. That I got this car, so I take the scenic. Passenger a white boy, look like River Phoenix". Honors and rankings[edit] Phoenix has been ranked numerous times on a number of lists recognizing his talent and career. He was listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1986" in "John Willis' Screen World" (2004). Phoenix was voted at No. 64 on a "Greatest Movie Stars of All Time" poll by Channel 4 television in the UK. The poll was made up wholly of votes from prominent figures of the acting and directing communities. He was ranked No. 86 in Empire magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list in 1997. His life and death has been the subject of an E! True Hollywood Story, an A&E Biography and an episode of Final 24, which contains a dramatic reconstruction of his final hours and death. He was also referred to as "This century's James Dean" in episode 10 ("Mi Casa, Su Casa Loma") of the first season of Being Erica. His death was listed as No. 16 in the top 101 events in E! Television's "101 Most Shocking Moments in Entertainment". In 2010, Phoenix was voted by GQ Magazine as one of the "50 Most Stylish Men of the Past Half Century". Filmography[edit] Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes

1985 Explorers Wolfgang Müller Young Artist Award
Young Artist Award
for Exceptional Performance by a Young Actor – Motion Picture

1986 Stand by Me Chris Chambers Jackie Coogan Award shared with Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman
Corey Feldman
and Jerry O'Connell

1986 The Mosquito Coast Charlie Fox Young Artist Award
Young Artist Award
for Best Young Male Superstar in Motion Pictures

1988 A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon Jimmy Reardon

1988 Little Nikita Jeff Grant

1988 Running on Empty Danny Pope National Board of Review
National Board of Review
Award for Best Supporting Actor Nominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor Nominated – Golden Globe
Golden Globe
Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture

1989 Indiana Jones
Indiana Jones
and the Last Crusade Young Indiana Jones

1990 I Love You to Death Devo Nod

1991 Dogfight Eddie Birdlace

1991 My Own Private Idaho Mikey Waters Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor Volpi Cup for Best Actor Nominated – New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor (2nd place)

1992 Sneakers Carl Arbogast

1993 Silent Tongue Talbot Roe

1993 The Thing Called Love James Wright

2012 Dark Blood Boy (final film role) - Filmed in 1993

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes

1982–1983 Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Guthrie McFadden 21 episodes Young Artist Award
Young Artist Award
for Best Young Actor in a Drama Series 1984 Nominated – Young Artist Award
Young Artist Award
for Best Young Actor in a New Television Series 1982

1984 Celebrity Jeffie Crawford (Age 11) Miniseries

1984 ABC Afterschool Special Brian Ellsworth Episode: "Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia" Nominated – Young Artist Award
Young Artist Award
for Best Young Actor in a Family Film Made for Television shared with Joaquin Phoenix

1984 It's Your Move Brian Episode: "Pilot"

1984 Hotel Kevin Episode: "Transitions"

1985 Robert Kennedy & His Times Robert Kennedy, Jr.
Robert Kennedy, Jr.
(Part 3) Miniseries

1985 Family Ties Eugene Forbes Episode: "My Tutor"

1985 Surviving: A Family in Crisis Philip Brogan Television film Young Artist Award
Young Artist Award
for Best Young Actor Starring in a Television Special
Special
or Mini-Series

1986 Circle of Violence: A Family Drama Chris Benfield Television film

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist Role

1986 "Stand by Me" Ben E. King Himself

1992 "Breaking the Girl" Red Hot Chili Peppers Himself

Notes[edit]

^ Rob Brunner of Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
reported that 11 days of interior shooting in Los Angeles remained on Dark Blood,[31] which producer JoAnne Sellar said would take three weeks.[32] According to director George Sluizer, the cast had two days off while construction work on the interior sets was completed.[33] Sellar said Phoenix died the night of the first day of shooting.[32]

References[edit]

^ a b Weinraub, Bernard (November 2, 1993). "Death of River Phoenix Jolts the Movie Industry". The New York Times. Retrieved July 4, 2014.  ^ Remembering 1993 Gary Kirkland Gainesville Sun – December 26, 1993 ^ a b c d Levitt, Shelley; Benet, Lorenzo; Stambler, Lyndon; Dodd, Johnny; Stone, Joanna; Sider, Don (November 15, 1993). "River's End". People. 40 (20): 127–133. Retrieved July 4, 2014.  ^ a b Pfefferman, Naomi. "JewishJournal.com". JewishJournal.com. Retrieved August 24, 2010.  ^ "Ten American showbiz celebrities of Russian descent". Pravda.Ru. November 18, 2005. Retrieved August 24, 2010.  ^ a b c d e f "Wasted: How on earth did River Phoenix, purest of all child stars, sensitive, clean-living and eco-friendly, end up dead from a drug overdose at the age of 23?". The Independent. December 5, 1993. Retrieved July 22, 2013.  ^ "River Phoenix: the last film". The Guardian. 28 September 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2017.  ^ a b "Rio's Attic – Timeline of a Phoenix". River-phoenix.org. Retrieved August 24, 2010.  ^ Friend, Tad. "River, with love and anger". Esquire.  ^ "Gone Before 30: Stars Who Died Young" January 29, 2008. ABC News. ^ " River Phoenix
River Phoenix
– XFamily – Children of God". XFamily. Retrieved August 24, 2010.  ^ "PREMIERE April 1988". Aleka.org. Retrieved August 24, 2010.  ^ "Obituary: Iris Burton, Hollywood agent". The Age. Melbourne. April 17, 2008. Retrieved July 4, 2014.  ^ "Rio's Attic – Phoenix TV". River-phoenix.org. Retrieved August 24, 2010.  ^ "Rio's Attic – Phoenix TV". River-phoenix.org. Retrieved August 24, 2010.  ^ "Rio's Attic – Phoenix TV". River-phoenix.org. Retrieved August 24, 2010.  ^ a b c d "Rio's Attic – Phoenix TV". Chicago Tribune. March 27, 1988. Retrieved July 22, 2013.  ^ a b c Friend, Tad (April 1994). "River, with love and anger". Esquire Magazine. Archived from the original on February 16, 2009. Retrieved July 22, 2013.  ^ Ryan, Kyle (March 10, 2010). "Lili Taylor: Random Roles". The A.V. Club. Retrieved August 19, 2013.  ^ http://www.angelfire.com/film/riverphoenix/esquire.html ^ a b Schindehette, Susan; Stambler, Lyndon; Dodd, Johnny; Benet, Lorenzo; Stone, Joanna (January 17, 1994). "High Life". People. 41 (2). Retrieved July 4, 2014.  ^ "Entertainment: A decade without River Phoenix". BBC News. October 31, 2003. Retrieved August 24, 2010.  ^ Hall, Tony, ed. (1996). They Died Too Young: The Brief Lives and Tragic Deaths of the Mega-Star Legends of Our Times. Smithmark Pub. p. 76. ISBN 0-765-19600-X.  ^ Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas, eds. (2001). All Music Guide: The Definitive Guide to Popular Music. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 920. ISBN 0-879-30627-0.  ^ "The Vindicator – Google News Archive Search". Retrieved December 21, 2013.  ^ "Biography of River Jude Phoenix". Buzzle.com. Retrieved August 24, 2010.  ^ "Famous Vegans: River Phoenix". VeganPeace.com. Archived from the original on July 18, 2012. Retrieved September 1, 2014.  ^ Keefe, Robert (November 2, 1993). "Actor had business interests in Tampa". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved July 4, 2014.  (subscription required) ^ http://www.myriverphoenixcollection.com/clinton.html ^ "Actor River Phoenix
River Phoenix
dies". Associated Press. October 31, 1993. Retrieved February 8, 2015.  ^ Brunner, Rob (September 20, 2012). "River Phoenix's final film: An inside look at the strange saga of 'Dark Blood'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 19, 2015.  ^ a b De Winter, Helen (2006). "Take 8: JoAnne Sellar". "What I really want to do is produce ...": Top Producers Talk
Talk
Movies and Money. London: Faber and Faber. p. 146. ISBN 9780571217441.  ^ Doense, Jan; Jones, Alan (March 1998). "Dutch Master of Suspense: George Sluizer". Cinefantastique. p. 30.  ^ Geoffrey Macnab (September 27, 2012). "River Phoenix: the last film". The Guardian. Retrieved September 28, 2012.  ^ Davidson, Casey. (November 12, 1993) The Passing of River Phoenix: At the Scene Charlie Sheen Central. EW.com. Retrieved on December 17, 2011. ^ "They Came from Hollywood". SPIN.com. Retrieved December 16, 2011.  ^ Braxton, Greg (November 9, 1993). "The Club Scene, Running on Full After Phoenix's Death, It's Business (Almost) as Usual at L.A. Hot Spots". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. Retrieved August 24, 2010.  ^ Weinraub, Bernard (November 2, 1993). "Death of River Phoenix
River Phoenix
Jolts the Movie Industry". NYTimes.com. Retrieved August 24, 2010.  ^ " Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp
– Depp Sells His Share of Viper Room
Viper Room
– Contactmusic News". Contactmusic.com. Retrieved August 24, 2010.  ^ Christine Spolar (November 14, 1993). " Autopsy
Autopsy
Shatters Phoenix's Image". Chicago Sun-Times. The image of actor River Phoenix
River Phoenix
as a quiet, clean-cut member of Hollywood's youth fraternity has been shattered by autopsy results that showed he died from a mix of cocaine and heroin.  ^ Rose Rouse (November 7, 1993). "Where were you when River Phoenix died?: The vegan James Dean
James Dean
is being mourned by teenagers from Ilkley to Bristol". London: The Independent. Retrieved December 16, 2011.  ^ Mydans, Seth (November 13, 1993). "Death of River Phoenix
River Phoenix
Is Linked To Use of Cocaine
Cocaine
and Morphine". The New York Times. Retrieved March 1, 2014.  ^ a b "A Mother's Note on Her Son's Life and Death". The Los Angeles Times. November 4, 1993. Retrieved July 22, 2013.  ^ Nye, James (September 22, 2013). "How River Phoenix
River Phoenix
KNEW he was suffering an overdose the night he died: Friend reveals the actor's harrowing last few minutes before he collapsed at Johnny Depp's LA nightclub almost 20 years ago". The Daily Mail. Retrieved October 31, 2015.  ^ a b c Ryan Gilbey (November 5, 2003). "Ryan Gilbey on the legacy of River Phoenix
River Phoenix
Film". London: The Guardian. Retrieved December 16, 2011.  ^ Vera H-C Chan (September 15, 2011). "The Misery of Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt
Movie Talk
Talk
– Yahoo! Movies". Movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved December 16, 2011.  ^ Christian Slater. Gadsden Times. November 18, 1993 ^ " Christian Slater
Christian Slater
– Slater's Mother Makes Emotional Appeal To Press – Contactmusic News". Contactmusic.com. Retrieved November 18, 2011.  ^ Grove, Lloyd (December 1999). "Plea For Christian Charity". Retrieved February 7, 2015.  ^ " Caleb Landry Jones
Caleb Landry Jones
Leading John Boorman's Resurrected 'Broken Dream'; John Hurt Takes Supporting Role". Retrieved July 3, 2012.  ^ " James Franco
James Franco
– Page". Interview Magazine. Archived from the original on August 22, 2010. Retrieved November 18, 2011.  Only first page of four pages archived; Milk comment appears on non-archived page. ^ "River Phoenix".  ^ "Leonardo DiCaprio's regrets over River Phoenix
River Phoenix
meeting". February 12, 2010.  ^ Edwards, Gavin. "What We Lost When We Lost River Phoenix".  ^ " James Franco
James Franco
on Getting in Trouble in High School for Graffiti, Stealing Cologne". October 30, 2015.  ^ Teen Vogue (August 13, 2014). "Go Behind the Scenes with Dylan O'Brien at His Teen Vogue Photo Shoot – All Access" – via YouTube.  ^ McDonald, Patrick Range (October 30, 2013). "How River Phoenix Inspired a Generation".  ^ "Rain Forests Come First With Singer – Sun Sentinel". Articles.sun-sentinel.com. June 8, 1990. Retrieved December 16, 2011.  ^ "Songs (w/ Discography)". Ellis Paul. Retrieved December 16, 2011.  ^ " When Boy Meets Boy
When Boy Meets Boy
Official Lyrics", September 7, 2013. Retrieved on February 17, 2014. ^ " Matt Fishel When Boy Meets Boy
When Boy Meets Boy
(Official Music Video)" on YouTube, YouTube. June 2, 2013. Retrieved on February 17, 2014. ^ "Film Guide Archive American Fame Pt. 1: Drowning River Phoenix". TribecaFilm.com. March 29, 2010. Archived from the original on August 10, 2011. Retrieved December 16, 2011.  ^ LIVE NIRVANA TOUR HISTORY: 11/13/93 – Bender Arena, American University, Washington, DC, US. Livenirvana.com. Retrieved on December 17, 2011. ^ Live Nirvana Tour History: 11/15/93 – Roseland Ballroom, New York, NY, US. Livenirvana.com. Retrieved on December 17, 2011. ^ Live Nirvana Tour History: 02/12/94 – Zénith Omega, Toulon, FR. Livenirvana.com. Retrieved on December 17, 2011. ^ Live Nirvana Tour History: 01/07/94 – Seattle Center Arena, Seattle, WA, US. Livenirvana.com. Retrieved on December 17, 2011. ^ Dwyer, Michael (July 2, 2004). "The phantom menace". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved July 4, 2014.  ^ "Hugh Cornwell". Punkglobe.com. Retrieved January 11, 2012.  ^ Staff (September 21, 2000). "The Bouncer Team Talks About Its Mysterious Game". IGN. Retrieved June 24, 2009.  ^ Spencer Kornhaber (July 21, 2017). "The Classic Queer Paradox of Tyler, the Creator". The Atlantic. Retrieved December 29, 2017.  ^ Spencer Kornhaber (July 17, 2017). "Tyler, the Creator: Flower Boy review – closet door opens to gawky gorgeousness". The Guardian. Retrieved December 29, 2017. 

Bibliography[edit]

Holmstrom, John. The Moving Picture Boy: An International Encyclopaedia from 1895 to 1995. Norwich, Michael Russell, 1996, p. 380-381.

Further reading[edit]

Edwards, Gavin. Last Night at the Viper Room: River Phoenix
River Phoenix
and the Hollywood He Left Behind. ISBN 0062273159.  Glatt, John. Lost in Hollywood: The Fast Times and Short Life of River Phoenix. ISBN 1-55611-440-0.  Furek, Maxim W. The Death Proclamation of Generation X: A Self-Fulfilling Prophesy of Goth, Grunge and Heroin. ISBN 978-0-595-46319-0.  Lawrence, Barry C. In Search of River Phoenix: the Truth Behind the Myth. ISBN 0-9672491-9-8.  Robb, Brian J. River Phoenix: a short life. ISBN 0-06-095132-X. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to River Phoenix.

Wikiquote has quotations related to: River Phoenix

River Phoenix
River Phoenix
on IMDb River Phoenix
River Phoenix
at the TCM Movie Database River Phoenix
River Phoenix
at AllMovie River Phoenix
River Phoenix
at Find a Grave

Awards for River Phoenix

v t e

Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead

M. Emmet Walsh
M. Emmet Walsh
(1985) James Woods
James Woods
(1986) Dennis Quaid
Dennis Quaid
(1987) Edward James Olmos
Edward James Olmos
(1988) Matt Dillon
Matt Dillon
(1989) Danny Glover
Danny Glover
(1990) River Phoenix
River Phoenix
(1991) Harvey Keitel
Harvey Keitel
(1992) Jeff Bridges
Jeff Bridges
(1993) Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson
(1994) Sean Penn
Sean Penn
(1995) William H. Macy
William H. Macy
(1996) Robert Duvall
Robert Duvall
(1997) Ian McKellen
Ian McKellen
(1998) Richard Farnsworth
Richard Farnsworth
(1999) Javier Bardem
Javier Bardem
(2000) Tom Wilkinson
Tom Wilkinson
(2001) Derek Luke (2002) Bill Murray
Bill Murray
(2003) Paul Giamatti
Paul Giamatti
(2004) Philip Seymour Hoffman
Philip Seymour Hoffman
(2005) Ryan Gosling
Ryan Gosling
(2006) Philip Seymour Hoffman
Philip Seymour Hoffman
(2007) Mickey Rourke
Mickey Rourke
(2008) Jeff Bridges
Jeff Bridges
(2009) James Franco
James Franco
(2010) Jean Dujardin
Jean Dujardin
(2011) John Hawkes (2012) Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey
(2013) Michael Keaton
Michael Keaton
(2014) Abraham Attah
Abraham Attah
(2015) Casey Affleck
Casey Affleck
(2016) Timothée Chalamet
Timothée Chalamet
(2017)

v t e

National Board of Review
National Board of Review
Award for Best Supporting Actor

John Williams (1954) Charles Bickford
Charles Bickford
(1955) Richard Basehart
Richard Basehart
(1956) Sessue Hayakawa
Sessue Hayakawa
(1957) Albert Salmi
Albert Salmi
(1958) Hugh Griffith
Hugh Griffith
(1959) George Peppard
George Peppard
(1960) Jackie Gleason
Jackie Gleason
(1961) Burgess Meredith
Burgess Meredith
(1962) Melvyn Douglas
Melvyn Douglas
(1963) Martin Balsam
Martin Balsam
(1964) Harry Andrews
Harry Andrews
(1965) Robert Shaw (1966) Paul Ford
Paul Ford
(1967) Leo McKern
Leo McKern
(1968) Philippe Noiret
Philippe Noiret
(1969) Frank Langella
Frank Langella
(1970) Ben Johnson (1971) Joel Grey
Joel Grey
/ Al Pacino
Al Pacino
(1972) John Houseman
John Houseman
(1973) Holger Löwenadler
Holger Löwenadler
(1974) Charles Durning
Charles Durning
(1975) Jason Robards
Jason Robards
(1976) Tom Skerritt
Tom Skerritt
(1977) Richard Farnsworth
Richard Farnsworth
(1978) Paul Dooley
Paul Dooley
(1979) Joe Pesci
Joe Pesci
(1980) Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson
(1981) Robert Preston (1982) Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson
(1983) John Malkovich
John Malkovich
(1984) Klaus Maria Brandauer
Klaus Maria Brandauer
(1985) Daniel Day-Lewis
Daniel Day-Lewis
(1986) Sean Connery
Sean Connery
(1987) River Phoenix
River Phoenix
(1988) Alan Alda
Alan Alda
(1989) Joe Pesci
Joe Pesci
(1990) Anthony Hopkins
Anthony Hopkins
(1991) Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson
(1992) Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio
(1993) Gary Sinise
Gary Sinise
(1994) Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey
(1995) Edward Norton
Edward Norton
(1996) Greg Kinnear
Greg Kinnear
(1997) Ed Harris
Ed Harris
(1998) Philip Seymour Hoffman
Philip Seymour Hoffman
(1999) Joaquin Phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix
(2000) Jim Broadbent
Jim Broadbent
(2001) Chris Cooper
Chris Cooper
(2002) Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin
(2003) Thomas Haden Church
Thomas Haden Church
(2004) Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake Gyllenhaal
(2005) Djimon Hounsou
Djimon Hounsou
(2006) Casey Affleck
Casey Affleck
(2007) Josh Brolin
Josh Brolin
(2008) Woody Harrelson
Woody Harrelson
(2009) Christian Bale
Christian Bale
(2010) Christopher Plummer
Christopher Plummer
(2011) Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio
(2012) Will Forte
Will Forte
(2013) Edward Norton
Edward Norton
(2014) Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone
(2015) Jeff Bridges
Jeff Bridges
(2016) Willem Dafoe
Willem Dafoe
(2017)

v t e

National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor

Michael Caine
Michael Caine
(1966) Rod Steiger
Rod Steiger
(1967) Per Oscarsson
Per Oscarsson
(1968) Jon Voight
Jon Voight
(1969) George C. Scott
George C. Scott
(1970) Peter Finch
Peter Finch
(1971) Al Pacino
Al Pacino
(1972) Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
(1973) Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson
(1974) Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson
(1975) Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro
(1976) Art Carney
Art Carney
(1977) Gary Busey
Gary Busey
(1978) Dustin Hoffman
Dustin Hoffman
(1979) Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole
(1980) Burt Lancaster
Burt Lancaster
(1981) Dustin Hoffman
Dustin Hoffman
(1982) Gérard Depardieu
Gérard Depardieu
(1983) Steve Martin
Steve Martin
(1984) Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson
(1985) Bob Hoskins
Bob Hoskins
(1986) Steve Martin
Steve Martin
(1987) Michael Keaton
Michael Keaton
(1988) Daniel Day-Lewis
Daniel Day-Lewis
(1989) Jeremy Irons
Jeremy Irons
(1990) River Phoenix
River Phoenix
(1991) Stephen Rea
Stephen Rea
(1992) David Thewlis
David Thewlis
(1993) Paul Newman
Paul Newman
(1994) Nicolas Cage
Nicolas Cage
(1995) Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy
(1996) Robert Duvall
Robert Duvall
(1997) Nick Nolte
Nick Nolte
(1998) Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe
(1999) Javier Bardem
Javier Bardem
(2000) Gene Hackman
Gene Hackman
(2001) Adrien Brody
Adrien Brody
(2002) Bill Murray
Bill Murray
(2003) Jamie Foxx
Jamie Foxx
(2004) Philip Seymour Hoffman
Philip Seymour Hoffman
(2005) Forest Whitaker
Forest Whitaker
(2006) Daniel Day-Lewis
Daniel Day-Lewis
(2007) Sean Penn
Sean Penn
(2008) Jeremy Renner
Jeremy Renner
(2009) Jesse Eisenberg
Jesse Eisenberg
(2010) Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt
(2011) Daniel Day-Lewis
Daniel Day-Lewis
(2012) Oscar Isaac
Oscar Isaac
(2013) Timothy Spall
Timothy Spall
(2014) Michael B. Jordan
Michael B. Jordan
(2015) Casey Affleck
Casey Affleck
(2016) Daniel Kaluuya
Daniel Kaluuya
(2017)

v t e

Volpi Cup for Best Actor

1934–68

Wallace Beery
Wallace Beery
(1934) Pierre Blanchar
Pierre Blanchar
(1935) Paul Muni
Paul Muni
(1936) Emil Jannings
Emil Jannings
(1937) Leslie Howard (1938) Ermete Zacconi
Ermete Zacconi
(1941) Fosco Giachetti
Fosco Giachetti
(1942) Pierre Fresnay
Pierre Fresnay
(1947) Ernst Deutsch
Ernst Deutsch
(1948) Joseph Cotten
Joseph Cotten
(1949) Sam Jaffe
Sam Jaffe
(1950) Jean Gabin
Jean Gabin
(1951) Fredric March
Fredric March
(1952) Henri Vilbert (1953) Jean Gabin
Jean Gabin
(1954) Curd Jürgens/ Kenneth More
Kenneth More
(1955) Bourvil
Bourvil
(1956) Anthony Franciosa
Anthony Franciosa
(1957) Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness
(1958) James Stewart
James Stewart
(1959) John Mills
John Mills
(1960) Toshiro Mifune
Toshiro Mifune
(1961) Burt Lancaster
Burt Lancaster
(1962) Albert Finney
Albert Finney
(1963) Tom Courtenay
Tom Courtenay
(1964) Toshiro Mifune
Toshiro Mifune
(1965) Jacques Perrin
Jacques Perrin
(1966) Ljubiša Samardžić
Ljubiša Samardžić
(1967) John Marley (1968)

1983–2000

Guy Boyd/George Dzundza/David Alan Grier/Mitchell Lichtenstein/Matthew Modine/Michael Wright (1983) Naseeruddin Shah
Naseeruddin Shah
(1984) Gérard Depardieu
Gérard Depardieu
(1985) Carlo Delle Piane
Carlo Delle Piane
(1986) Hugh Grant/ James Wilby (1987) Don Ameche/ Joe Mantegna
Joe Mantegna
(1988) Marcello Mastroianni/ Massimo Troisi
Massimo Troisi
(1989) Oleg Borisov
Oleg Borisov
(1990) River Phoenix
River Phoenix
(1991) Jack Lemmon
Jack Lemmon
(1992) Fabrizio Bentivoglio/ Marcello Mastroianni
Marcello Mastroianni
(1993) Xia Yu/ Roberto Citran
Roberto Citran
(1994) Götz George/ Ian Hart (1995) Liam Neeson/ Chris Penn
Chris Penn
(1996) Wesley Snipes
Wesley Snipes
(1997) Sean Penn
Sean Penn
(1998) Jim Broadbent
Jim Broadbent
(1999) Javier Bardem
Javier Bardem
(2000)

2001–present

Luigi Lo Cascio
Luigi Lo Cascio
(2001) Stefano Accorsi
Stefano Accorsi
(2002) Sean Penn
Sean Penn
(2003) Javier Bardem
Javier Bardem
(2004) David Strathairn
David Strathairn
(2005) Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck
(2006) Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt
(2007) Silvio Orlando
Silvio Orlando
(2008) Colin Firth
Colin Firth
(2009) Vincent Gallo
Vincent Gallo
(2010) Michael Fassbender
Michael Fassbender
(2011) Philip Seymour Hoffman/ Joaquin Phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix
(2012) Themis Panou (2013) Adam Driver
Adam Driver
(2014) Fabrice Luchini
Fabrice Luchini
(2015) Oscar Martínez (2016) Kamel El Basha (2017)

v t e

Young Artist Award
Young Artist Award
for Best Leading Young Actor in a Feature Film

1979–1990

Dennis Christopher
Dennis Christopher
(1979) Justin Henry (1980) Ricky Schroder
Ricky Schroder
(1981) Henry Thomas (1982) C. Thomas Howell
C. Thomas Howell
(1983) Anthony Michael Hall
Anthony Michael Hall
(1984) Sean Astin
Sean Astin
(1985) Peter Billingsley
Peter Billingsley
(1986) River Phoenix
River Phoenix
(1987) Fred Savage
Fred Savage
(1987) Patrick Dempsey
Patrick Dempsey
(1987) Corey Feldman
Corey Feldman
(1987) Christian Bale
Christian Bale
(1988) Corey Feldman
Corey Feldman
(1988) Corey Haim
Corey Haim
(1988) Lukas Haas
Lukas Haas
(1988) Sean Astin
Sean Astin
(1989) Macaulay Culkin
Macaulay Culkin
(1990)

1991–2010

Ethan Embry
Ethan Embry
(1991) Elijah Wood
Elijah Wood
(1993) Edward Furlong
Edward Furlong
(1994) Jason James Richter (1994) Mason Gamble (1994) Brad Renfro
Brad Renfro
(1995) Wil Horneff (1996) Lucas Black
Lucas Black
(1997) Blake Heron (1998) Kevin Zegers
Kevin Zegers
(1998) Miko Hughes (1999) Haley Joel Osment
Haley Joel Osment
(2000) Rob Brown (2001) Anton Yelchin
Anton Yelchin
(2002) Tyler Hoechlin
Tyler Hoechlin
(2003) Jeremy Sumpter
Jeremy Sumpter
(2004) Jamie Bell
Jamie Bell
(2005) Josh Hutcherson
Josh Hutcherson
(2006) Logan Lerman
Logan Lerman
(2007) Josh Hutcherson
Josh Hutcherson
(2008) Nate Hartley (2009) Max Records
Max Records
(2010)

2011–present

Jaden Smith
Jaden Smith
(2011) Dakota Goyo (2012) Tom Holland (2013) Miles Elliot (2014) Reese Hartwig (2015) Michael Grant (2016) Julian Feder (2017)

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 10037367 LCCN: n84167042 ISNI: 0000 0000 8356 2164 GND: 119254182 SUDOC: 070363498 BNF: cb13935862q (data) MusicBrainz: 4138674f-79fc-4ff1-96d1-80d7fb75c825 NDL: 00621292 BNE: XX1110342 SN