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Clay Pigeons DVD Joaquin Phoenix, Vince Vaughn and Janeane Garofolo star in "Clay Pigeons"... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

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Also Known As: Leaf Phoenix, Joaquin Rafael Phoenix, Joaquin Rafael Bottom Died:
Born: October 28, 1974 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Puerto Rico Profession: actor, model

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

An unconventional actor with a propensity for intense performances, Joaquin Phoenix broke out on his own following the tragic death of brother River Phoenix with the indie gem "To Die For" (1995). Previously credited as Leaf Phoenix, the actor had his start in films like "SpaceCamp" (1986) and "Parenthood" (1989) before nearly leaving acting for good after his brother's drug overdose in 1993. Phoenix picked himself up from the loss to star in films like "U Turn" (1997) and "Inventing the Abbotts" (1997) before earning acclaim and an Oscar nomination for playing the Emperor Commodus in Ridley Scott's Roman epic "Gladiator" (2000). That same year, he received further acclaim as the profoundly religious Abbé in "Quills" (2000), while elevating his profile with "Signs" (2003), "Ladder 49" (2004), "The Village" (2004) and "Hotel Rwanda" (2004). Phoenix found himself in Academy Award contention once more for playing bad boy country singer Johnny Cash in "Walk the Line" (2005). After starring in "Reservation Road" (2007), he appeared to go off the deep end by abruptly announcing his retirement from Hollywood in 2008 in order to pursue a rap music career. Phoenix made public appearances in frazzled, unkempt...

An unconventional actor with a propensity for intense performances, Joaquin Phoenix broke out on his own following the tragic death of brother River Phoenix with the indie gem "To Die For" (1995). Previously credited as Leaf Phoenix, the actor had his start in films like "SpaceCamp" (1986) and "Parenthood" (1989) before nearly leaving acting for good after his brother's drug overdose in 1993. Phoenix picked himself up from the loss to star in films like "U Turn" (1997) and "Inventing the Abbotts" (1997) before earning acclaim and an Oscar nomination for playing the Emperor Commodus in Ridley Scott's Roman epic "Gladiator" (2000). That same year, he received further acclaim as the profoundly religious Abbé in "Quills" (2000), while elevating his profile with "Signs" (2003), "Ladder 49" (2004), "The Village" (2004) and "Hotel Rwanda" (2004). Phoenix found himself in Academy Award contention once more for playing bad boy country singer Johnny Cash in "Walk the Line" (2005). After starring in "Reservation Road" (2007), he appeared to go off the deep end by abruptly announcing his retirement from Hollywood in 2008 in order to pursue a rap music career. Phoenix made public appearances in frazzled, unkempt states - most notably on David Letterman - which aroused suspicions that he may have been pulling an Andy Kaufman, which proved to be the case after the release of the mockumentary "I'm Still Here" (2010). With a return to critical favor following "The Master" (2012), Phoenix resumed his career as a gifted performer with eclectic taste.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Lowlife (2013)
3.
 Her (2013)
4.
 Master, The (2012)
5.
 I'm Still Here (2010)
6.
 Two Lovers (2008)
7.
 Reservation Road (2007)
8.
 We Own the Night (2007)
9.
 Walk the Line (2005)
10.
 Walk the Line (2005)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1974:
Traveled throughout Puerto Rico and Mexico with parents as missionaries for the evangelical cult Children of God
1975:
Moved with family to South America
1977:
Parents left the Children of God; lived in Caracas, Venezuela where older siblings River and Rainbow sang religious songs for money and food in the street
1977:
Family returned to the U.S. and settled in Florida
1978:
Relocated with family to Los Angeles, CA after Rainbow and River won local talent contests
1980:
Changed first name to "Leaf" around age six or seven
1982:
Made acting debut on episode of short-lived CBS musical adventure series "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"; older brother River was a regular; younger sister Summer also appeared
1983:
Featured in the NBC dramatic pilot "Six Pack"
1985:
TV-movie debut, "Kids Don't Tell," a CBS drama about child molestation
1986:
Starred in an episode of the revival of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" entitled "A Very Happy Ending" as a deaf boy with murderous designs on his wealthy and emotionally distant father
1986:
Made debut as a TV series regular on CBS drama "Morningstar/Eveningstar"
1986:
Feature acting debut, "SpaceCamp"
1989:
Cast as Dianne Wiest's troubled son in Ron Howard's "Parenthood"
:
Took a leave from acting
:
Changed first name back to Joaquin while living in Mexico
1995:
Landed breakthrough role in Gus Van Sant's "To Die For," playing the youth seduced by his teacher (Nicole Kidman) into murdering her husband
1998:
Co-starred in two films with Vince Vaughn, "Clay Pigeons" and "Return to Paradise" (the former was filmed first, but was released in theaters weeks after the latter)
1999:
Appeared with Nicolas Cage in "8mm"
2000:
Played the shady best friend of Mark Wahlberg in "The Yards"
2000:
Won rave reviews as the malevolent emperor Commodus in "Gladiator"; garnered a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination
2000:
Co-starred in period drama "Quills"
2002:
Replaced an ill Mark Ruffalo in the M. Night Shyamalan thriller "Signs"
2003:
Starred in "Buffalo Soldiers," a dark comedy about a clever American soldier stationed in Berlin
2003:
Co-starred with Claire Danes and Sean Penn in "It's All About Love"
2004:
Starred as curious and headstrong Lucius Hunt in M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village"
2004:
Featured in "Ladder 49" as a firefighter who reflects on his career and family while awaiting rescue from a burning building
2005:
Starred in James Mangold's "Walk the Line," a biopic of country music legend Johnny Cash opposite Reese Witherspoon as his wife June Carter Cash; earned Oscar and SAG nominations for Best Actor
2007:
Co-starred with Mark Wahlberg and Robert Duvall in "We Own the Night"
2007:
Co-starred in the Terry George directed "Reservation Road"
2008:
Announced retirement from acting in order pursue his career in music; it was later revealed to be an act for the fake documentary "I'm Still Here"
2009:
Appeared in the James Gray directed "Two Lovers"
2010:
Produced and starred in Casey Affleck's music documentary "I'm Still Here" about his attempt to transition from acting to a career as a rapper; Affleck later revealed the film was fake
2012:
Co-starred as a war veteran who joins a cult in Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

With his Oscar nomination for "Gladiator", Phoenix became half of the only pair of brothers to receive acting nods. Older brother River Phoenix was nominated as Best Supporting Actor for 1988's "Running on Empty".

"I never lost the urge. I had a lot of opportunities, but I never liked them. They were all so cliched. I just wasn't interested in 'she's my stepmother, and I pour ketchup on them,' that kind of ridiculous movie."---Phoenix on his break from acting in the early 1990s, to Stephen Schaefer of The Boston Herald, September 25, 1998.

"Joaquin is a guy who has seen a lot, been through a lot, yet he's warm, not bitter. He's chosen not to shut himself off. I feel a real brotherly love for him; he's more than just a friend."---Vince Vaughn

"The reason why I keep making movies, which is the reason why I keep doing interviews, is 'cause I hate the last thing that I did. I'm always trying to rectify my wrongs."---Joaquin Phoenix quoted in Los Angeles Times, August 13, 1998.

"I had a really wonderful upbringing. We were a tight family. It was wonderful to grow up with so may siblings. We were all just about a year or two apart, and we were always so supportive of each other. I learned everything from my older brother and sister and taught it to my younger sisters."---Phoenix quoted in Daily News, August 11, 1998.

"I'll never live down my character in 'To Die For'. See, the problem is, if early in your career you come out with a really well-defined character that kind of establishes you, you become known for that. For a while after 'To Die For', I didn't care, but eventually it bothered me and I started defending myself, citing my other work, not that I played Edward Teller or fucking Richard III, but even that's pathetic, having to defend yourself in that way. It's ridiculous and embarrassing and who gives a shit? Why should I have to defend myself like that? I did it, it was good, it's over. Fuck it!"---Joaquin Phoenix to Movieline, March 1998.

"I've come to a nearer acceptance, I wouldn't say understanding, because it's something I'll never understand, but just an acceptance of River's death. What was difficult in the beginning was that I felt robbed of my memories. See, a public death is a really difficult thing to go through. The death of someone you love is difficult enough all on its own. Then, when your memories of what happened are distorted and put out there for public concumption... you just feel so robbed. Anything that was mine, that I knew, people would angle for, try to ask me, they wanted to know things. From the inside, tell me a little bit from the inside."---Phoenix quoted in Movieline, March 1998.

"I think he feels uncomfortable doing interviews and being around people he doesn't know, I understand, because you can't be completely honest. It's like thinking of the right thing to say and not just on impulse."---Liv Tyler about Phoenix to Empire, April 1997.

"To try and be a part of only one style or one genre is limiting. I don't limit myself that way."

"I'm not the indie kid and I'm also not the John Grisham novel hero, but I am all of those things. I do whatever excites me at the time. I'll be in some huge $80 million buddy cop movie, I don't care, and I'll also do some wild independent movie. I refuse to have an agenda."---Phoenix quoted in the London Times, November 9, 2000.

"If he wanted to, he could be the biggest actor in the world."---director M. Night Shyamalan on Phoenix to Premiere

Phoenix was offered the part in "Gladiator", he instead asked to audition, just to make sure he deserved it.

"It's a chore to talk about my personal life, it's nobody's business. It doesn't really work for me as an actor. The less someone knows about me, the better, because my intention is to play a variety of characters. We so often try to pin actors down and label them as entertainers. I like acting. That's what I do, that's what I enjoy. I finish it, and I'm really sad, and then they tell me I have to talk about the movie and myself. Well, wait a minute. Didn't I just spend three months making the movie?"---Phoenix Eonline

"If you're doing it for outside validation, you're going to be destroyed," Phoenix says. "The same thing that can make you feel great one moment, saying you're wonderful one moment, and the next you're [not]. I think I'm conscious of that. I've always done things for me. That sounds really selfish. I don't know any other way to do it. That's what drives me."---Phoenix on acting as quoted in USA Weekend, July 28, 2002.

"I like characters who have conflicted emotions," Phoenix insists. "It's much more realistic and less limiting in terms of what you can do as an actor."---Phoenix quoted in Total Film (UK), September 2003.

"Once I'd done To Die For, I felt such a sense of fulfillment in working that I realized that is what had been missing and it was what I wanted to continue to do."

"I don't know if I can really articulate what it is that keeps me coming back, except it's just reaching these moments of understanding when you're trying to solve this puzzle with all of the characters, or it's the theme of the film. And when you're successful in doing that it's the greatest feeling in the world."

"I love that feeling, and I will do twenty horrible scenes that I completely fail at just to have that one where you hit it. I guess that's why I keep going back."---Phoenix on why he started acting again after a long absence to IGN FilmForce, July 24, 2003.

"He's a very caring person with a lot of integrity, very sensitive... He reminds me a little bit of Bill Hurt in a way because Bill cares very much about things."---From Sigourney Weaver, who plays his mother in "The Village."

"That's a real compliment to me... He (Phoenix) goes way deep."---from William Hurt himself, who plays the village's leader in "The Village."

"He's acting on a different plane. He's almost superhuman."---From Bryce Dallas Howard, who plays the woman who loves him in "The Village." as quoted to CNN.com, August 4, 2004

On April 12, 2005 Joaquin Phoenix's publicist announced that he had checked into an undisclosed rehabilitation facility for treatment of alcoholism

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Acacia. Involved in 1995.
companion:
Liv Tyler. Actor. Met during the filming of "Inventing the Abbotts"; broke up in fall of 1998.

Family close complete family listing

father:
John Bottom Amram. Former migrant fruit picker, former independent Christian missionary, manager. Born in Fontana, California in 1947; missionary with Children of God; former Children of God's archbishop of Venezuela and the Caribbean Islands.
mother:
Arlyn Dunetz Jochebed. Former migrant fruit picker, former independent Christian missionary, manager. Born in the Bronx in 1944; former missionary with Children of God; worked as a temp at NBC in California in 1978.
brother:
River Phoenix. Actor, singer, musician. Born on August 23, 1970 in Madras, Oregon; died on October 31, 1993 of a drug overdose in Los Angeles, California.
sister:
Rain Joan of Arc Phoenix. Actor. Born in Texas on March 31, 1973.
sister:
Liberty Butterfly Phoenix. Former actor. Born in 1976 in Venezuela.
sister:
Summer Joy Phoenix. Actor. Born on December 10, 1978 in Florida.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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