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Further Phoenix
at Rio's Attic:



Viper Room

Academy Awards

Johnny Depp

What's Eating Gilbert Grape?

Leonardo DiCaprio


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


by Lisa Degnen.
First published in 1998.

ISBN 1-85227-792-0 (Hardback, 96 Pages)

Another Leonardo DiCaprio biography that, for whatever reason, the author prefers to fill with great quantities of large pictures rather than text. With captions such as "Isn't he adorable?", "He looks lovely" and "Girls everywhere dream about him" along with stories such as the technique used if he has to cry on camera (imagining his Mom being hurt) will undoubtedly make those that love him, love him even more, and those that loathe him, likewise.

Discussion of DiCaprio's early pre-fame life is very short indeed but contrasts strongly with that of another Hollywood actor. River's first incentive to begin performing was the desperate need to acquire money and food for his family whilst on the streets of Venezuela, a world apart from the circumstances of DiCaprio's decision.

Leo caught the acting bug from his stepbrother, Adam, and money was certainly an enticement for the impressionable young boy. When Adam landed a Golden Grahams cereal commercial and got fifty thousand dollars, Leo's eyes nearly popped out of his head.
"Fifty thousand dollars! It just kept going through my head: my brother has fifty thousand dollars!" Leo laughs. He was hooked: "I knew then that I didn't want to be one of the set things they said I should be at school - doctor, lawyer, blah, blah, blah."

And the rest, as the saying goes, is history. And quite an unexpected history it turned out to be. At the very end of the book is a small chapter called "The Truth About Leo and Drugs" in which River is briefly mentioned.

Five months before Leo was due to go to the Oscars for his role in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, River Phoenix died of a drug overdose at the age of twenty-three. The talented young actor collapsed and died in October 1993 on the sidewalk in front of Johnny Depp's nightclub, the Viper Room.
"I think River was one of the most talented actors in the business and for something like that to happen to him is tragic," he says. "I can't imagine what possessed him."

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