Joaquin Phoenix says publicity “impeded on the mourning process” after brother River’s death

"River was a really substantial actor and movie star, and we didn’t really know it."

Joaquin Phoenix and his family have spoken out about the oppressive media attention that followed the death of his brother River Phoenix in 1993.

In an interview with Anderson Cooper on CBS news, the Joker actor shared how the climate immediately after the tragedy became too much.

“River was a really substantial actor and movie star,” Phoenix said, “And we didn’t really know it.” He continues, describing the attention the family received.


“During that time at which you’re most vulnerable, there are helicopters flying over, people trying to sneak onto your land. Certainly for me it impeded the mourning process.”

River Phoenix died of a drug overdose in 1993, at the age of 23 outside a nightclub. He had been nominated for an Oscar at the age of 18 for his performance in Running on Empty.

Joaquin Phoenix has been leading this awards season for his main role in Todd Phillips’ Joker. The actor won the Golden Globe award for his performance, and the film is currently up for 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor in a Leading Role for Phoenix.

Joker remains the highest-grossing R-rated film, and the most profitable comic book film, of all time, since it opened to general audiences in October 2019.

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