Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix

Infobox actor

imagesize = 220px
caption = Phoenix at Cannes, 2002
birthdate = birth date and age|1974|10|28
birthplace = San Juan, Puerto Rico
birthname = Joaquin Rafael Bottom
othername =
yearsactive = 1982 — present
goldenglobeawards = Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2006 "Walk the Line"
grammyawards = Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
2007 "Walk the Line"
awards = NBR Award for Best Supporting Actor
2000 "Gladiator", "Quills", "The Yards"

Joaquin Rafael Phoenix (pronEng|waˈkeen ˈfee-nɪks born October 28, 1974), formerly credited as Leaf Phoenix, is an award-winning American and Puerto Rican film actor. He is from a family of performers and is the younger brother of late actor River Phoenix.

Phoenix has ventured behind a camera, directing music videos as well as producing movies and television shows, and has recorded an album, the soundtrack to "Walk the Line". He is also known for his work as a social activist, particularly as an advocate for animal rights.

Family background and early life

Phoenix was born Joaquin Rafael Bottom in Río Piedras, [cite web| title=Videos - Late Show with David Letterman 2005| url=|| accessdate=2007-08-21] located in the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico. He is the third of five children, including the late River (1970 – 1993), Rain (1972), Liberty (1976), and Summer (1978). He also has a half-sister named Jodean (1964), from his father's first marriage. [cite web|url=| title=The Phoenix Family| publisher=Sacred Loving Stream| accessdate=2007-08-21]

His father, John Lee Bottom, was a lapsed Catholiccite web| author=Naomi Pfefferman| title=The Days of Summer| url=| publisher=Jewish Journal| date=2002-04-12| accessdate=2007-09-01] from Fontana, California.cite web| author=Roberta and David Ritz| title=Strange Days| url=| publisher=Us Magazine| date=October 1995| accessdate=2007-09-01] His mother, Arlyn Phoenix (née Dunetz), was born in the Bronx, New York to Jewish parents from Hungary and Russia. In 1968, Arlyn left her family and moved to California, later meeting Phoenix's father while hitch-hiking. They married in 1969, then later joined the religious cult the Children of God. They began travelling throughout South America.

His parents eventually became disillusioned with the Children of God; they made the decision to leave the cult and returned to the U.S. in 1978. They changed their last name to "Phoenix" to symbolize a new beginning. This was also around the time Joaquin had begun calling himself "Leaf", desiring to have a similar nature-related name like his siblings (he was inspired by spending time outdoors raking leaves with his dad). This is the name he would use as a child actor; at fifteen, he changed it back to 'Joaquin'. [cite web| author=Paul Fischer| url=| title=Gladiator| publisher=Dark Horizons| date=2000| accessdate=2007-08-22]

In order to provide food and financial support for the family, the Phoenix children performed on the streets and at various talent contests, singing and playing instruments. In Los Angeles his mother started working as a secretary for NBC, and his father worked as a landscaper. Joaquin and his siblings were eventually discovered by one of Hollywood's leading children's agents, Iris Burton, who got the five children acting work, mainly doing commercials and television show appearances. [cite web| author=Mary Rourke| url=,1,885672.story| title=Iris Burton, 77; Hollywood agent represented child actors| publisher=LA Times| date=2008| accessdate=2008-04-11] Phoenix went on to establish himself a child actor before deciding to withdraw from acting for a while and travel to Mexico and South America with his father.

Phoenix came back into public view under tragic circumstances: on October 31, 1993, his brother, River Phoenix, suffered a fatal drug overdose, outside the famed Hollywood nightclub The Viper Room, which was owned by Johnny Depp. Joaquin's call to 911 to save his brother was recorded and repeatedly played over the airwaves and on television. The sudden media intrusion into his life proved to be too overwhelming; once again, he retreated from the public eye. A year later, at the insistence of his friends, Joaquin reluctantly re-entered the world of acting. [cite web| author=John Clark| title=Quietly Making a Name| url=| publisher=Variety Magazine| date=2007-09-6| accessdate=2007-09-07]

Film career


Phoenix's first acting jobs were guest appearances on two television shows with his brother River: "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (1982) and "" (1984). He made his big-screen debut in "Space Camp" (1986), playing the role of Max, after starring in an "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" episode: "A very happy ending" the same year, and his first starring role was in "Russkies" (1987). He later co-starred in Ron Howard's "Parenthood" (1989), during which his name was still Leaf Phoenix, as seen in the credits.

Early on in his career, Phoenix had often played supporting roles as conflicted, insecure characters with a darker side. He has earned positive reviews for his portrayals of various individuals: a troubled teen in Gus Van Sant's "To Die For" (1995) co-starring with Nicole Kidman, a small-town troublemaker in Oliver Stone's "U-Turn", the cruel Roman emperor Commodus in Ridley Scott's "Gladiator" (2000) (for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor), a conflicted priest in "Quills" (2000), a washed-up baseball player in M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs" (2002), a lovestruck farmer in Shyamalan's "The Village" (2004), a disillusioned cameraman in Terry George's "Hotel Rwanda" (2004), and a heroic firefighter in "Ladder 49" (2004).imdb name|0001618]

Upon being cast as Johnny Cash in "Walk the Line" after Cash himself approved, Joaquin responded by buying a guitar and learning how to play. Reese Witherspoon, who portrayed June Carter Cash in the film and won a Best Actress Oscar for her performance, stated during an interview that when they first performed in-character before a live audience, she was so impressed with his impersonation that she knew she "had to step it up a notch". All of Cash and Carter's vocal tracks in the movie and on the accompanying soundtrack are played and sung by Phoenix and Witherspoon. In 2005, he was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar, and won a Golden Globe in the same category in 2006.

In 2006, Phoenix was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. [ [ Academy Invites 120 to Membership ] ]

Joaquin and River became the first brothers in Hollywood history to be nominated for an Academy Award in the acting category.


He has directed music videos for the following bands: Ringside, [cite web| title=Tired of Feeling Sorry| url=| publisher=Ringside| accessdate=2007-08-22] She Wants Revenge, [cite web| title=Tear You Apart | url=| publisher=She Wants Revenge| accessdate=2007-08-22] People in Planes, [cite web| title=If you Talk Too Much (My Head Will Explode)| url= | publisher=People In Planes| accessdate=2007-08-22] Arckid, [cite web| title=I'll Stick Around| url=| publisher=Arckid| accessdate=2007-08-22] Albert Hammond Jr. [cite web| title=In Transit| url=| publisher=Albert Hammond Jr| accessdate=2007-08-22] and Silversun Pickups [cite web| title=Little Lovers so Polite| url=| publisher=Silversun Pickups| accessdate=2008-03-10]


Phoenix serves as one of the executive producers of a television show called [ 4Real] , a half-hour series which showcase celebrity guests on global adventures "in order to connect with young leaders who are creating social and economic change." [cite web| title=4 Real| url=| publisher=Direct Current Media| accessdate=2007-08-22]

He is also listed as a producer on the movie "We Own the Night".

Music career


He recorded the album "Walk the Line" and won a Grammy Award at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards for his work on the soundtrack. [Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media]

ong writing

Phoenix is now recording an album with Tim Burgess, lead singer of the British rock/indie band The Charlatans. Phoenix wrote the songs and Anthony Langdon (former Spacehog member) sang them. No release date has been set. [ [ Tim Burgess reveals details of Joaquin Phoenix collaboration | News | NME.COM ] ]

ocial activism

Phoenix has long been a social activist, lending his support to a number of charities and humanitarian organizations, notably Amnesty International [cite web| title=End The Crisis In Darfur| url=| publisher=Amnesty International| accessdate=2007-08-22] , [ The Art of Elysium] , [ HEART] ,and [ The Peace Alliance] , an organization which campaigns for a United States Department of Peace.cite web|url=| title=Joaquin Phoenix's Charity Work| publisher=Look To The Stars| accessdate=2007-08-22] Additionally, he serves on the board of directors of [ The Lunchbox Fund] , a charity that provides lunches for poverty-stricken school children in South Africa. []

Phoenix has been a dedicated vegan since the age of three. He is a member of P.E.T.A. and the organization In Defense of Animals, and has actively campaigned on their behalf. He narrated the film "Earthlings" for 'Nation Earth' -- a video about the investigation of animal abuse in factory farms, pet mills, in industry and research. In 2005, he was awarded the "Humanitarian Award" at the San Diego Film Festival for his work and contribution to "Earthlings". [ [ I Saw Cast and Crew ] ]

In 2005, he participated in the documentary [ I'm Still Here: Real Diaries of Young People Who Lived During the Holocaust] .

Personal life

Phoenix's parents are divorced. His mother is now married to Jeffrey Weisberg, treasurer and member of the Board of Directors of [ The Peace Alliance Foundation] . [cite web|url=| title=Board of Directors| publisher=The Peace Alliance Foundation| accessdate=2007-06-11 ]

The scar above his lip is, contrary to popular belief, a birthmark. Once during his mother's pregnancy, she felt a sharp pain and believes the two events are connected. [cite web| author=Joe Dolce| url=| title=Q&A With| publisher=Details Magazine| date=1995-09| accessdate=2007-08-25]

Phoenix has stated on numerous occasions that he does not watch his performances on screen. [cite web| author=Serena Kappes| url=,26334,702925,00.html| title=5 Things You Gotta Know About Joaquin Phoenix| publisher=People Magazine| date=2004-09-29| accessdate=2007-08-25]


ee also

*List of famous Puerto Ricans
*List of vegans
* List of Puerto Ricans in the Academy Awards


External links

*imdb name|0001618
*ymovies name|1800018579
* [ Joaquin Phoenix interview for Walk the Line]

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