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Further Phoenix
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Heart Phoenix

John Phoenix

Little Nikita

Running on Empty

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Viper Room


Johnny Depp

Grace Catalano

River Phoenix: Hero & Heartthrob

Charlie Chaplin

Fade to Black: A Book of Movie Obituaries

Paul Donnelly

Christina Applegate

Kelly Bundy

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

Fade To Black

A Book of Movie Obituaries

by Paul Donnelly
First published in 2000

ISBN 0-7119-7984-7 (Paperback, 640 Pages)

Within a few moments of picking up this book the hope of finding a collection of fitting and moving tributes to the countless performers who dedicated their lives to the movie industry dies just like each of the celebrities that are featured in this book. In a common theme clearly evident in most of the entries in this book, the author chooses to concentrate on the less-favorable side of fame. Private aspects from their off-screen lives are laid out and presented for all to read and the author makes no apology for this. The entry for Charlie Chaplin for example begins simply, "The little tramp with a penchant for little tramps."

I believe it is only right to concentrate on fascinating tales rather than regurgitate bare facts. Some readers may feel that I have overly concentrated on the dark side of stardom. But I believe that it is the foibles and very human failings of people that make them so fascinating.

River has an entry of course, and it spans three pages in length, but he fairs no better than any of his other contemporaries.

River Phoenix
(River Jude Bottom)
Born August 23, 1970
Died October 31, 1993

Tragic waste. River Phoenix seemed to have it all going for him: a successful career, a well-known family, money, dashing good looks, a beautiful girlfriend and the adoration of countless females around the globe, but it wasn't enough. The son of John and Arlyn Bottom, a new age couple with dubious beliefs, a 5'11" River was one of five children, all of whom were saddled with strange names.

For some time River was shrouded in mystery. His birthday was kept secret and, for more obvious reasons, his real name wasn't revealed until after his death.

River was certainly nothing if not mysterious, but we're all at a complete loss as to explain the author's claims regarding River's date of birth. It is clearly listed on page 92 of Grace Catalano's 1988 biography, River Phoenix: Hero & Heartthrob as well as being presented in and amongst the promotional press-kit material for the movies Little Nikita, Running on Empty and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

There are minor errors and discrepancies throughout the biographical section of article - unimportant things though such as River's height being listed as 5'11" at the beginning of the text, only to be listed again as 5'10" a few paragraphs later. The accuracy of the second half of the article, however, can neither be proved or verified as it deals with the speculation and conjecture of the night of Halloween Eve, 1993. Even then however, the author manages to confuse Johnny Depp with Flea.

At the Viper the group hooked up with blonde actress Christina Applegate, who played the part of slutty Kelly Bundy in Married... with Children. Depp was due to perform at the club and asked Phoenix if he wanted to jam with the band. By this stage Phoenix was barely able to stand, let alone play music. Twice Phoenix slipped under the table before throwing up. Put back in his chair, Phoenix again slumped down where his friends left him. It was only when he began having spasms again that the group realised something might be seriously wrong.

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