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River Phoenix

River Phoenix

Birthday: 23 August 1970, Madras, Oregon, USA
Birth Name: River Jude Bottom
Height: 178 cm

River Phoenix was born River Jude Bottom in Madras, Oregon. His mother, Arlyn (Dunetz), a Bronx-born secretary, and his father, John Bottom, a carpenter, met in California in 1968. They worked as itin ...Show more

River Phoenix
I'd like to play every type of character, but only once. I like to experience things. I'd like to play every type of character, but only once. I like to experience things.
[on My Own Private Idaho (1991)] It might take a few of these movies before there's a natural stride Show more [on My Own Private Idaho (1991)] It might take a few of these movies before there's a natural stride with the whole issue. Then one day, it wont even be an issue - which is what I'm hoping. Hide
"I want kids, a family of my own. I'd like to give them the first eight years of their lives in the Show more "I want kids, a family of my own. I'd like to give them the first eight years of their lives in the country. Then I'd want them educated, which I wasn't formally, although I had a tutor once when I was twelve. At times I miss a formal education, but at others I thank God for everything else I have now. What I have got from my childhood aren't toys, but memories. And happy memories are better than any toy. Hide
It still strikes me as strange that anyone could have a moral objection against somebody's sexuality Show more It still strikes me as strange that anyone could have a moral objection against somebody's sexuality, it's like telling someone else how to clean their house. Hide
Music is my main goal, but I'm not going to rush a record out. There are so many actors who have com Show more Music is my main goal, but I'm not going to rush a record out. There are so many actors who have come out with albums these days. I don't want to do it because it's the thing to do. I want to wait until the time is right. Hide
Quite often, when actors have such a strong charisma in real life, eventually it has to affect the c Show more Quite often, when actors have such a strong charisma in real life, eventually it has to affect the characters they play. For myself I'm not charismatic in that way. I'm not a 'performer'. Ideally I would stay mute as River. That's the reason why, for a long time, I've said the opposite of what I really thought. In interviews, I've also played to be characters that I wasn't. I've lied and often contradicted myself to dumbfound people. It's all over now, because I have nothing left to hide. Eventually, I'm quite an ordinary person. Hide
I sometimes lie, especially about personal things, because what does it matter? I am a kind of minut Show more I sometimes lie, especially about personal things, because what does it matter? I am a kind of minute commodity, my name is no longer my own. I try to lie as much as I can when I'm interviewed. It's reverse psychology. I figure if you lie, they'll print the truth. Hide
When I was old enough to realize all meat was killed, I saw it as an irrational way of using our pow Show more When I was old enough to realize all meat was killed, I saw it as an irrational way of using our power, to take a weaker thing and mutilate it. It was like the way bullies would take control of younger kids in the schoolyard. Hide
I would rather quit while I was ahead. There's no need in overstaying your welcome. I would rather quit while I was ahead. There's no need in overstaying your welcome.
We all have our distinct things. Leaf [brother Joaquin Phoenix] was the family clown--very witty, ve Show more We all have our distinct things. Leaf [brother Joaquin Phoenix] was the family clown--very witty, very smart. Mom had to work a lot, so Rainbow [sister Rain Phoenix] was the mother and the older sister and trendsetter. Liberty [sister Liberty Phoenix] was always the most physical, like an acrobat, very nimble and strong, a really beautiful girl. And Summer [sister Summer Phoenix] was the youngest, the baby of the family, with big brown eyes and blonde hair, more American-looking. Hide
[on Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1982)] I just leaped five feet into the air. I got all red and Show more [on Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1982)] I just leaped five feet into the air. I got all red and freaked out. It was my first television show. Hide
In simplicity there is truth. In simplicity there is truth.
When you look at the movie history, you realize that there are gaps and missing links. My ultimate g Show more When you look at the movie history, you realize that there are gaps and missing links. My ultimate goal is to try to give in a competent way a voice to characters who haven't had the chance to talk yet, those who never expressed themselves so far. Even if I've not always been able to do so. For me, the ideal recompense, what really fulfills me, is to create something new. Not only to be original at any cost or to be the first one to do it, but because these blanks need to be filled. Besides, I could play the same character again and again, in a different way each time. As many times as I have atoms in my body. Hide
I love Sam Shepard, he is like a father to me. We don't even have to talk, we communicate without wo Show more I love Sam Shepard, he is like a father to me. We don't even have to talk, we communicate without words. Hide
[1991] It's not about career. It's about believing in something, it's about prosperity and it's abou Show more [1991] It's not about career. It's about believing in something, it's about prosperity and it's about caring and emphasizing and wanting to create the best, the most true to life, the most real. Hide
The biggest problem was I was terrible for commercials I couldn't smile on cue. Commercials were too Show more The biggest problem was I was terrible for commercials I couldn't smile on cue. Commercials were too phony for me. It was selling a product, and who owns the product? Are they supporting apartheid? I just didn't like the whole thing, even though it helped us pay the rent. How could I tell anybody to drink cranberry juice? I didn't drink it. I didn't believe what I was saying. Hide
I wish sometimes that I wasn't as conscious as I am. I wish sometimes that I wasn't as conscious as I am.
I've been wanting to go into music ever since I can remember. I mean even before I became an actor. Show more I've been wanting to go into music ever since I can remember. I mean even before I became an actor. I just thought it would be a tough field to break into, so I became an actor instead. Hide
I wouldn't eat a hamburger for 40,000 dollars. I wouldn't eat a hamburger for 40,000 dollars.
Usually, I write the detailed biography of the character. For me it's the only possible way. To play Show more Usually, I write the detailed biography of the character. For me it's the only possible way. To play a sad scene, many will only for example think of their mother's death. I consider it's a mistake for an actor to cross the boundary that separates him from his character. Because then you impose him your own references. That's why I need to have landmarks that only belong to my character. For example, for 'My Own Private Idaho' I wrote a lot. And once the movie was done, I burned it all. Hide
I project a definite innocence. A lot of that is just the way I grew up. I project a definite innocence. A lot of that is just the way I grew up.
I never think of me as an actor. I see all of this as new experiences each time, like as many differ Show more I never think of me as an actor. I see all of this as new experiences each time, like as many different lives. As many reincarnations. So when I watch my last movie, I'm unable to judge or to be critical. For me, it's past, and I don't feel any connection to it anymore, like if it was somebody else than me that I'm not responsible for. I immersed myself in another life that the character appropriated. He expressed himself through me, not the other way around. Hide
People wonder if I'll always be a part of this family and the answer is yes. My family has a lot of Show more People wonder if I'll always be a part of this family and the answer is yes. My family has a lot of good energy going in one direction and because of it, we get a lot of things done. That's why I'll always spend a lot of time at Camp Phoenix. Hide
Animals are not our playthings. We are on this earth to protect them. It's our duty. Animals are not our playthings. We are on this earth to protect them. It's our duty.
I don't want to die in a car accident. When I die it'll be a glorious day. It'll probably be a water Show more I don't want to die in a car accident. When I die it'll be a glorious day. It'll probably be a waterfall. Hide
Acting is like a Halloween mask that you put on. Acting is like a Halloween mask that you put on.
Sometimes I hear stuff like 'Hey man, wheres your skateboard, dude?' from people who think I'm Chris Show more Sometimes I hear stuff like 'Hey man, wheres your skateboard, dude?' from people who think I'm Christian Slater. Hide
I have twenty personalities on top of the ten I already have. So now I have thirty people in my head Show more I have twenty personalities on top of the ten I already have. So now I have thirty people in my head! Hide
I really like acting because you can create a character. You can make someone who has never existed Show more I really like acting because you can create a character. You can make someone who has never existed before. That's neat. Hide
If I have some celebrity, I hope I can use it to make a difference. The true social reward is that I Show more If I have some celebrity, I hope I can use it to make a difference. The true social reward is that I can speak my mind and share my thoughts about the enviroment and civilisation itself. There's so much shit happening with people who are exploiting their positions and creating a lot of negativity. Hide
Vegetarianism is a link to perfection and peace. Vegetarianism is a link to perfection and peace.
Addiction is not just for bad people or scumbags - it's a universal disease. Addiction is not just for bad people or scumbags - it's a universal disease.
Music is a whole oasis in my head. The creation process is so personal and fulfilling. Music is a whole oasis in my head. The creation process is so personal and fulfilling.
I did my best work in The Mosquito Coast (1986). I know it wasn't such a big hit, but for me it was Show more I did my best work in The Mosquito Coast (1986). I know it wasn't such a big hit, but for me it was more meaningful than anything else I'd ever done. Hide
Music is a hobby, because I'm not making any money out of it, but I put just as much conviction into Show more Music is a hobby, because I'm not making any money out of it, but I put just as much conviction into that as I do into my acting. Hide
I would just look at Harrison [Harrison Ford]; he would do stuff and I would not mimic it, but inter Show more I would just look at Harrison [Harrison Ford]; he would do stuff and I would not mimic it, but interpret it younger. Mimicking is a terrible mistake that many people make when they play someone younger, or with an age difference. Mimicking doesn't interpret true because you can't just edit it around. [on his interpretation of a young Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)] Hide
I'm having a kind of hard time keeping my head above water in this crazy business. I'm having a kind of hard time keeping my head above water in this crazy business.
I just always loved the names Helen or Ashley, I don't know, they seem familar to me, like I need to Show more I just always loved the names Helen or Ashley, I don't know, they seem familar to me, like I need to be with them... Hide
Every day of my life since I finished My Own Private Idaho (1991), at some point in the day, I find Show more Every day of my life since I finished My Own Private Idaho (1991), at some point in the day, I find the conversation somehow goes back to that film, because it was just such a great experience. I just start getting all joyous and start babbling about it. [on his feelings about My Own Private Idaho (1991) just after the film's release in 1991] Hide
He was my brother and I loved him a great deal. It was just an awful, awful mistake. We fed off each Show more He was my brother and I loved him a great deal. It was just an awful, awful mistake. We fed off each other and learned a lot from each other. [R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe, speaking soon after River's death. He later called River's passing "the most shattering experience of my life."] Hide
We were constantly moving to different countries and adjusting to new things. It was such a free fee Show more We were constantly moving to different countries and adjusting to new things. It was such a free feeling. I'm glad I didn't have a traditional upbringing. Hide
Rich kids gave us their old clothes. They were the best clothes we ever had. We were these very pure Show more Rich kids gave us their old clothes. They were the best clothes we ever had. We were these very pure, naive, poor children. The rich kids called us a lot of names but it never bothered us because we didn't know what the words meant. Hide
"I feel that there are great minds up there who would like to see what I can do with an Oscar nomina Show more "I feel that there are great minds up there who would like to see what I can do with an Oscar nomination. I guess many people would change after a nomination in the way they see things. In my case it's really irrelevant in terms of what I do. Still, it was an incredible experience which I will put in my memories, like everything else." (On his Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Running on Empty (1988) in 1989.) Hide
We respect our parents and they respect us. Even when we were younger, it was never, 'Well, I'm the Show more We respect our parents and they respect us. Even when we were younger, it was never, 'Well, I'm the parent and you're the kid.' You wouldn't be held back because of your age. Just the opposite. My father used to say, 'The youngest gets to yell the loudest because they're never listened to!' My father talks to Summer [sister Summer Phoenix], who is the youngest, the way he talks to my grandfather or anyone else. They always gave us a fair shot. Hide
Maybe some of my movies would have been successful if I hadn't played in ... These commercial stuff, Show more Maybe some of my movies would have been successful if I hadn't played in ... These commercial stuff, I consider them as a pollution of mind. I don't want to contaminate my work or my convictions with things that won't contribute to my growth or to the development of my art. Hide
I can't on my own change the regime in South Africa or teach the Palestinians to learn to live with Show more I can't on my own change the regime in South Africa or teach the Palestinians to learn to live with the Israelies, but I can start with me. Hide
Everything is ironic to me. There are moments I find hysterical, but I'm probably the only one who w Show more Everything is ironic to me. There are moments I find hysterical, but I'm probably the only one who would find that, except for a few people. Hide
It's a great feeling to think that I can be a friend to so many people through my movies. It's a great feeling to think that I can be a friend to so many people through my movies.
I like girls who are natural because I am natural in everything I do. If I meet a girl who is snobby Show more I like girls who are natural because I am natural in everything I do. If I meet a girl who is snobby and wants special treatment, she's not going to get it from me because she hasn't earned it. But I've been basically lucky because I've met mostly nice girls - and that's what attracts me. Hide
We are taught to consume. And that's what we do. But if we realized that there really is no reason t Show more We are taught to consume. And that's what we do. But if we realized that there really is no reason to consume, that it's just a mind set, that it's just an addiction, then we wouldn't be out there stepping on people's hands climbing the corporate ladder of success. Hide
I would get songs sung to me, like 'Old Man River, 'or kids would call me Mississippi and things lik Show more I would get songs sung to me, like 'Old Man River, 'or kids would call me Mississippi and things like that. At the time, I wished I had a name that blended in more with my surroundings. Now, though, I've really learned to love it. From fifteen, I really liked it. It felt appropriate. Before that, I don't think it quite fitted me. I had to grow into it . Hide
We need an extreme movement because what is happening to animals is so extreme. Some misinformed peo Show more We need an extreme movement because what is happening to animals is so extreme. Some misinformed people claim that animal rights activists are terrorists, but these people are simply ignorant of who the real terrorists are - the companies and industries that torture literally billions of animals each year. (The Animals Voice Magazine - 1989) Hide
I have a lot of chameleon qualities, I get very absorbed in my surroundings. I have a lot of chameleon qualities, I get very absorbed in my surroundings.
I'm really normal. I play football, go to the beach, drive. We have dogs. I can imagine people calli Show more I'm really normal. I play football, go to the beach, drive. We have dogs. I can imagine people calling me a character, but I'm Joe Straight. I'm just a normal guy doing a job! Hide
I remember we'd roll into gas stations in our beat-up van and I'd tell the attendant, 'I'm going to Show more I remember we'd roll into gas stations in our beat-up van and I'd tell the attendant, 'I'm going to be an actor! Hide
When I was younger, I was worried about how others viewed me and if I was good enough. I realize now Show more When I was younger, I was worried about how others viewed me and if I was good enough. I realize now that you can't mold an image or try to be something that you are not. As far as being an actor is concerned, your work really speaks for itself. Hide
I would never, never do anything unless I believed in it. I would never, never do anything unless I believed in it.
I don't see any point or any good in drugs that are as disruptive as cocaine. I don't see any point or any good in drugs that are as disruptive as cocaine.
In Stand by Me (1986), I realized that what I was creating was going to live on far longer than anyt Show more In Stand by Me (1986), I realized that what I was creating was going to live on far longer than anything of me as a person. The characters are more powerful than the person that creates them. Hide
River Phoenix's FILMOGRAPHY
as Actor (13)
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