Tag: River Phoenix

Lost in Hollywood

Posted April 24, 1995

This charismatic actor survived a bizarre childhood (was raised in a flaky cult, sent out to panhandle in the streets at age five) only to succumb to dark additions he fought to keep secret. In the summer of 1968, a twenty-three-year-old secretary named Arlyn Sharon Dunetz decided to drop out of her workaday life to pursue a hippie dream. She returned from her Manhattan office one day and told her husband that she was leaving him to find a more meaningful life. Stuffing some clothes into a backpack, Arlyn took a few dollars of savings and left the Bronx to […]

River, with love and anger

Posted March 24, 1994

His friends and family have tried to turn River Phoenix into a martyr for a fallen earth. But as they struggle to craft meaning out of a squalid drug death, they’ve begun to wonder how well they ever really knew him. Heart Phoenix sat on the edge of the stage and beckoned everyone near. The 50 people in Paramount Studios’ screening room gathered around her. Heart has a way of soothing fears. The mourners needed her now; her son River’s memorial service had been wrenching.  They had recalled Phoenix’s mercurial abandon, his peculiar combination of heart-stopping innocence and ageless wisdom, […]

Fallen Angel

Posted January 19, 1994

Many believed River Phoenix was a Hollywood rarity: a gifted young actor who shunned the spotlight as well as the temptations that destroyed so many before him. Then, on a fateful Halloween morning, Phoenix’s life shuddered to a pitiful end. Martha Frankel looks back on the first fallen idol of his generation. “It’s really designed, I think, to strip you and blend you. It’s like feeling like the invisible man. You just stand there, and you start disintegrating, and you can’t see yourself, and you feel like you’re being absorbed into this big blob of glitter. I just can’t hang.”– […]