River Jude Bottom, also known as River Phoenix, was born on August 23, 1970 in Madras, Oregon. Throughout his childhood, he traveled a lot with his family because they were members of the Children of God. Basically, they moved wherever they felt God wanted them to go. During this time, River learned to play the guitar and would perform while singing with his sister, Rain, on the streets of wherever they were living. They did this to earn money and also to pass out literature based on their religious beliefs.
Eventually, his parents' beliefs changed and they all moved back to the United States in 1978. River and his siblings continued performing wherever they went. Their talent was attracting a lot of attention, so the family decided to move out to California and try their hand in the entertainment industry. In 1986, River landed the role as Chris Chambers in Stand by Me, which jump-started his acting career and led to other memorable roles, such as his role in Running on Empty (1988) for which he was nominated for his first and only Oscar.
River's life was cut short after he tragically died from a drug overdose on October 31, 1993, outside of the Viper Room club in Los Angeles. He was only 23 years old. He would have been 40 years old today. Rest in Peace, River, we miss you.
Stand by Me.
River and Keanu Reeves in My Own Private Idaho. River is great in this. Strange film.
He was a very devoted animal rights activist.
Music was his passion. It sprang from his fingertips and came out through his voice.