Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara have welcomed their first child, naming him in tribute to Joaquin’s late brother, actor River Phoenix who tragically passed in 1993.
The news was confirmed by director Victor Kossakovsky who was speaking at the 2020 Zurich Film Festival during a Q&A after the premiere of his documentary Gunda. A question was put to Kossakovsky about Joaquin because the actor was the executive producer on the film.
When asked about his involvement, Kossakovsky dropped in that Phoenix involvement had named his child in tribute to his brother: “He just got a baby by the way… A beautiful son called River.”
River Phoenix, the highly celebrated and much-loved actor, musician, and activist was revered by many as the rising star of Hollywood prior to his untimely death on October 31st, 1993. When he passed, the world mourned his loss.
The eldest brother to Rain, Joaquin, Liberty, and Summer, River emerged as a child actor at the young age of 10 when he was cast in a series of different television commercials. On from there, River starred in the science fiction film Explorers in 1985 and didn’t look back, going on to make lead appearances in major films such as Stand by Me, Running on Empty, My Own Private Idaho and more. It was a stunning career cut short.
His rise to fame was fast and furious, leading the way as his highly professional family worked their way through numerous projects in the media. Tragically, however, River would succumb to an early death when he collapsed and died after a lethal combination of drug intoxication, losing his life on the pavement outside West Hollywood nightclub The Viper Room. River was just 23 years of age.
For Joaquin, the death of River took a toll on him. Extremely close during their childhood, the actor once said of his brother: “River was a really substantial actor and movie star, and we didn’t really know it,” he said.
Adding: “So during that time in which you’re most vulnerable, there are helicopters flying over. There are people that are trying to sneak on to your land. Certainly, for me, it felt like it impeded on the mourning process.”
The work that River put in prior to his death, combined with his beguiling personality, means that his legacy is longstanding. Both on and off-set, he touched the hearts of many. You only need to look as far as Leonardo DiCaprio, Jared Leto, James Franco and more who have all referenced River as a major influence on their decision to enter the world of cinema, inspired by his work and his words.
Below, see the Kossakovsky clip.