Thursday marks the 20th anniversary of River Phoenix‘s death of a drug overdose — a grim day for Hollywood.
In his new memoir “Running With Monsters” (Crown Archetype, available now), “Celebrity Rehab” star Bob Forrest — who chronicles his days as a drug addict and musician on the Hollywood scene in the book — recalls the night of Phoenix’s death, writing that Phoenix felt he was suffering from an overdose in the moments before his collapse.
Even for those of us who didn't come of age until after River Phoenix's reign, it's obvious that the actor had a big impact on Hollywood.
Whether it was his young, promising talent, his camera-ready looks, or just his exotic upbringing, he's still fascinating movie fans even twenty years after his death.
His untimely death’s cause was a speedball he had that night at the club which turned out to be a lethal mixture of cocaine and heroin given the fact that Phoenix had an issue of addiction with heroin.
After he had taken the drink down his throat, he started to vomit and collapse on his chair.
That night he was accompanied by his younger brother Joaquin and his younger sister Rain whom he met in the bar.
Following a performance by budding musician Phoenix and Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante — a performance undone by the pair’s excesses — Forrest recalls a gathering in an office of the Viper Room. River was obviously wasted and was as unsteady as a boxer who had taken one too many head shots during a 15-round bout,” Forrest recalls in the book.
As he looked at me sheepishly, he said, "They have no idea it's me." Then it dawned on me the boy they were screaming for (River! I spoke with director Peter Bogdanovich about the making of his film and those last horrible days after Phoenix died.
Nicki Richesin: In 1993, you directed an incredibly charming film with River Phoenix and then relatively unknown stars Sandra Bullock and Dermot Mulroney.
You cast River Phoenix as a wayward kid- a kind of bad-boy-trying-to-turn-good in James Wright.
What originally drew you to River as the lead and how did you find working with him on your film?