Block Telesales Calls NOW
Receive no more
telephone calls
from telemarketers
selling junk.
Further Phoenix
at Rio's Attic:


The Children of God

Heart Phoenix

John Phoenix

Rain Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix, Leaf Phoenix

Liberty Phoenix

Summer Phoenix

Dirk Drake


Los Angeles

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Robert Kennedy and his Times


Jonathan Pryce

Dark Blood

Stand By Me

I Love You To Death


Even Cowgirls Get the Blues


Aleka's Attic

Gus Van Sant

Drugstore Cowboy

Robert Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy

Robert Kennedy Jnr

Devo Nod


Vern Tessio

Jerry O'Connell

John Glatt

River Phoenix: The Biography

Arthur Rimbaud

Jacksonville Beach

Costa Rica

Aleka Dozy Encircles

Mardi Gras in Dublin


Esquire Magazine


Frances Beck

Earth Day Benefit

Rio's Attic: Celebrating the Life and Times of a Dearly Missed River Phoenix
American EnglishEn Français

River Phoenix: The Biography

by John Glatt.
First published in 1995.

ISBN 0-7499-1511-0 (Paperback, 283 Pages)

Beginning with an impressive list of people that the author interviewed whilst researching this biography, the book then initiates its' thorough investigation into River's life.

Over twenty five chapters with impressive names such as "River Catches Fire", "Partying With Oscar" and "Goin' Down" the author seems to have no difficulty exploring at great length the more darker rumors associated with River. Whether this is simply to provide as complete a picture of the actor as possible or is merely an effort to keep the readers attention is difficult to tell.

River is quoted throughout the book in the form of extracts from the many interviews that he gave.

On New Year's Day, 1990, River and a group of friends watched a rough cut of Van Sant's film Drugstore Cowboy, fascinated by the realistic on-screen portrayals of the actors shooting heroin, "spiking." Since moving to Gainesville, River had often visited Jacksonville Beach and had been beguiled by its drug culture. He was beginning to wonder about what it would be like to take heroin and began questioning people about it.

According to Esquire, in an April, 1994 piece, when the opportunity to try heroin presented itself he was ready. River Phoenix was ready and willing to experience everything. The only question: how far would he go?

To date, this book has been published twice. "River Phoenix: The Biography" was published in 1995 and "Lost in Hollywood: The Fast Times and Short Life of River Phoenix" was released in April 1996.

Of great concern is the spectacular number of errors to be found with these books, a selection of which we have highlighted below. The laws of averages surely dictates that the largest biography should contain the most errors but a number of these inaccuracies should have been spotted at the proof-reading stage and should have not been allowed to slip though.

Despite these errors, this book remains the most comprehensive volume to date for anyone wishing to, as the book says, "understand the enigma of River Phoenix".

ISBN 0-3129-5782-3 (Paperback)

ISBN 1-55611-440-0 (Paperback)

Since his son's death John Phoenix has stayed in his Costa Rica hideaway to grieve alone. Having seen his worst fears realized, John withdrew into himself. Concerned friends worried for him as he felt the full impact of his beloved son's death descend upon him.

John Phoenix, one might say, has seen his family's twenty-five-year-old saga come full circle, confiding that it might even be best if the family got out of the pressure-cooker of Hollywood and once again were innocently panhandling on the streets of Westwood, true to their ideals and beliefs.

Variations on a Theme

Place of Birth:

A rundown shack.

Cause of Death:

A high-grade Persian Brown given to River by a musician friend.

Boldest Claim:

River suffered repeated sexual abuse from the age of four by members of the religious cult The Children of God.

Blunder List

Page 2
One of the biggest inconsistencies throughout the entire book begins here even before Chapter One. River's younger brother Joaquin is referred to as Yoaquin in the Prologue.


Page 14
The book incorrectly states that the family was given the name Phoenix by The Children of God cult in a commune ceremony in 1972. This error appears to have slipped through even though later on the book mentions the name change again, this time listing the correct date - 2 April 1979.


Page 19
The mystery of the ever-changing name continues. Page 19 mentions the birth of River's younger brother who at this point is called Toaquin it seems....


Page 24
The author's complete disregard for Liberty Phoenix is by now well underway. Having failed to mention the child's birth in Caracas in 1976, the author now loses count of the Phoenix children, incorrectly identifying Summer Joy as Arlyn Phoenix's fourth child.


Page 30
Liberty finally gets a mention on page 27 only to be completely forgotten about again three pages later. The book states that "two adults, four young children and the family dog" made the long journey from Florida to Hollywood in 1979. Obviously, poor little three-year-old Liberty lost out to the dog and had to run along behind the car or was made to take the bus....


Page 38
During the filming of Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, the book states that "the six-strong Phoenix family lived in a motor home". It would appear Liberty lost out to the dog again - she must have got the kennel....


Page 87
For the first time, the author finally manages a full head count when the family relocates to Florida. River, Rain, Leaf, Liberty and Summer are all present and correct. However, when listing the ages of each child in turn, assuming the author is referring to the time of the move, the ages of all the children are out by one year. (We know - pick, pick, pick....)


Page 92
The author mentions two of River's songs here and gets the titles of both pieces wrong. Aleka's Attic's first song, "Aleka Dozy Encircles", is referred to here rather unflatteringly as, "Aleka Doozy Encircles". This song is referred to again later on in the book on page 102, with the correct spelling. Also, the song River wrote for Dirk Drake was called "Mardi Gras in Dublin", not "Dublin in Mardi Gras".


Page 92
The name of River's tutor Dirk Drake is spelt incorrectly as Dick Drake.


Page 100
The book states that River and his tutor, Dirk Drake, were arrested for drinking in public. The event referred to here was the Earth Day '91 Benefit and it was in fact Drake and another friend who were unlucky, River himself managed to escape just in time.


Page 176
Flea's home, where River stayed during the filming of Sneakers, is located in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, not Malibu.


Page 191
The French poet Rimbaud died in 1891, not 1881 as stated here.


Page 219
The mystery of the ever-changing name concludes here. Although correctly identifying that at this point River's younger brother was no longer referred to as Leaf, the author again incorrectly lists him as Yoaquin.


Page 221
Tip: Never, ever, ever, describe someone from Wales as "English" as happens to Dark Blood star Jonathan Pryce on this page. They're very touchy about things like that over there....


Page 257
The movie Even Cowgirls Get The Blues is referred to here as Even Cowgirls Sing The Blues.


Page 260
River's part in the tv-movie Robert Kennedy and His Times is incorrectly listed as "Played Robert Kennedy as a boy". River actually played the part of Kennedy's son, Robert Kennedy Jnr.


Page 261
The name of the character played by Jerry O'Connell in Stand By Me, Vern Tessio, is "missing" from the movie's credits that are listed on this page.


Page 262
River's character in I Love You To Death is incorrectly spelt as "Devo Wod".


Page 277
Whilst spelt correctly throughout the main text of the book, the name of River's great-aunt Frances Beck is spelt incorrectly in the book's index.

Previous Page
Click here for advice on obtaining these titles.
Next Page
Phoenix Bookshelf Rio's Attic Home Page