River Phoenix under the name of River Jude Bottom was born on August 23, 1970 in Metolius, Oregon, who later in his short years became someone considered to be Hollywood’s Golden Boy.

His career started out in 1980 when along with his sister, Rain, he made his first appearance on a TV show called “Fantasy”. He was cast in a short lived TV series called “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” in 1982. Once he landed a part in Rob Reiner’s film “Stand by Me” in 1986 he became a teen idol.

By the age 17 River was making $1,000,000 after only a few of the movies he was in which he used to support his mother and father along with his 4 sisters and brothers. His movies basically dominated his while life but was determined to take care of his family although it added a tremendous amount of stress on him.

In 1987 his family moved to Gainesville, Ga. and it was then when he developed the love for music. River would turn to his music as a way to help relieve some of the pressure he was under and unfortunately he also turned to drugs as well. He formed himself a band and his wish was to be known for his music. He took it very seriously and didn’t want it to be labeled as the music of a Hollywood star.

River Phoenix was in the middle of filming his last movie, “Dark Blood” which was being filmed in the deserts of Utah. He looked forward to working with his co-star Judy Davis who he admired a great deal but only to find that she was making his life miserable since she was very hard to work with. He returned to LA to complete the final three weeks of shooting.

On the evening of October 30th, 1993 River was to perform with his friend, Michael “Flea” Balzary onstage at the club Viper Room, owned by Johnny Depp. His younger sister, Rain and brother Joaquin flew into town to join River at his hotel. His girlfriend, Samantha Mathis had come also to watch him perform. Unfortunately though River got very disappointed when he learned he was not going to be performing on the stage that night. None of his friends had any clue of the stress he was under, they had no idea of any problems he had either. They were all there to get wild and party.

River was partying along with the others at the Viper Room. He was drinking and he was also snorting drugs. He somehow took a massive speed ball of heroine and cocaine mixed together in a powder form which caused him to get ill very quickly. He was running to the bathroom, vomiting but no one knew how badly the drugs had affected him. His body had gone into shock with seizures. An ambulance was called and with his friend insisting on riding with him to the hospital. River’s body quit on him on his way to the hospital and he was pronounced dead 1:51 am on October 31, 1993.

Dan Anderson, a toxicologist said that River’s body had a significant amount of heroine and cocaine that was astronomical. He said the amount was 8 times more than what they would consider to be lethal.

This DVD set, River Phoenix – His Final Hours takes you back to some of his childhood to help us understand what his life was as a child was like that could have been some of the reasons he led his life as an adult as he did. It is an interesting follow up of his life and then of the Final 24.

It is so sad. He was only 23 years old with his whole life ahead of him. Drugs are a part of so many people’s lives these days, young and old. If only something could be done to save those that get addicted to it so they won’t end up like River Phoenix. River’s Father did his best to try and talk River into taking some time off and rest before starting to film the movie, “Dark Blood” but failed. As a parent I can only imagine how he feels now. My heart goes out to them.

To get your copy of this DVD, River Phoenix – His Final Hours -  Final 24 click on the Amazon link above.

We have created a partial list of the series.

Jan Barrett

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