Joaquin Phoenix gave an emotional tribute to his late brother River Phoenix in Toronto. It was a very rare moment where Joaquin spoke about his older brother, who passed away in 1993 outside the Viper Room in Hollywood.
The 44-year-old actor was honored with the TIFF Tribute Actor Award at the Toronto International Film Festival this week. It was during his acceptance speech that Joaquin took time to thank River for his acting career.
Before his shocking death from a drug overdose, River apparently convinced Joaquin, who was known as Leaf back in the day, to return to acting.
After his role in the 1989 hit film Parenthood, Joaquin took a six-year break from Hollywood. He would return to the craft he loves, in 1995 Nicole Kidman film To Die For.
i woke up to joaquin phoenix receiving the tribute actor award at tiff and he mentioned his brother RIVER pic.twitter.com/XzE6T7tUuG
— sic🇳🇱 (@realftmadrid) September 10, 2019
In his speech, Joaquin opened up about his time away and the fact his older brother was the one who convinced him to get back in the acting game.
“When I was 15 or 16, my brother River came home from work, and he had a VHS copy of a movie called Raging Bull, and he sat me down and made me watch it. And the next day he woke me up and he made me watch it again. And he said, ‘You’re going to start acting again, this is what you’re going to do. He didn’t ask me, he told me. And I am indebted to him for that because acting has given me such an incredible life,” he said, getting emotional speaking about the life-changing moment with River.
Along with sharing his story about River, the Oscar nominee also thanked the rest of his family.
“When I was watching those clips, I thought about my family. My sisters Rain and Liberty and Summer, who are still my best friends,” he said, referring to the various clips from his years of acting.
Joaquin Phoenix gave a rare and emotional tribute to his late brother River Phoenix. The Joker star is extremely private, especially when it comes to the death of his older brother.
Privacy is crucial to Joaquin. He tries to maintain a low-key lifestyle away from the Hollywood spotlight. The entire Phoenix family learned early on with River’s thrust to fame and shocking death that privacy is a necessity to survive in showbusiness.
TIFF Tribute Actor Award at the Toronto Film Festival was important enough to Joaquin for him break his family privacy rule. It was nice to hear such a candid memory of him and River.