River Phoenix is a name that many people know. Some know him for his short-lived acting career, others for his environmental work and others for his tragic death. To me he is an icon who has had a strong impact on my life.
Born in 1970, River spent the majority of his childhood travelling South America with his family, often busking in the streets with his sister, Rain. When the family returned to the US to change their lives, the Bottom family became the Phoenix family and all converted to veganism.
There are many reasons that River has had such a huge impact on me but his love for all people and animals is a main one. I have been a vegetarian for almost three and a half years, I made this decision after watching a documentary about the treatment of animals. The Phoenix family, having similar views, make me proud to follow this diet, especially considering their amazing work for the cause.
Also a very talented actor, River inspires me to follow my passions and do what makes me happy. Personally my favourite of his films is ‘My Own Private Idaho.’ In this film River plays Mike, a young street hustler who suffers from narcolepsy. Mike and his friend, fellow street hustler, Scott, played by Keanu Reeves try to track down Mike’s mother who abandoned him several years before. I think this film truly displays River’s ability to completely immerse himself into a role and exhibit his emotions.
As well as acting, music was another passion of River’s. His band Aleka’s Attic had a very alternative folk rock sound. They recorded several songs (which can be found on youtube) and performed gigs around America. Despite never having much commercial success, River was just as dedicated to his music as he was to acting.
River Phoenix will always be my favourite actor and inspire me everyday. He will remain an icon to his massive cult following, and his memory will live on.