River Phoenix

Age: 43
Birthplace: Metolius, Oregon USA

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.

Movie Character Year
Wkzq28wcxuk4isqirk2cystzdz7 Explorers Wolfgang Müller 1985
D5aruqtpwx1pwtbqlrxr4mzskhv Stand by Me Chris Chambers 1986
Twl8kucdz5mbe7dlm8ybxentusq Little Nikita Jeff Grant 1988
1xlqmxqkbkcb2thc9rwgr75p25b Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Young Indy 1989
5uxg8ljfgpamd4rj0qmynsxduni Dogfight Eddie Birdlace 1991
8zfb4oyh8cmkmkbz9gekgg3ilw5 My Own Private Idaho Mike Waters 1991
Vizuvvochgmbqrgkdti3fetfts9 Sneakers Carl Arbegast 1992
4rmtqci6ez4kezruhdjo885v9p2 The Thing Called Love James Wright 1993
5zexvap7jnuyyh8dsvimsnxvkmk Walking the Tracks: The Summer of 'Stand by Me' Himself as Chris Chambers (archive footage) 2000
2xzoyhugcaljoqnvt58zbnpkxys Dark Blood Boy 2012