According to a report from Page Six, Leonardo DiCaprio still remembers, to this very day, the time he encountered River Phoenix on the night he died. It’s a memory that has stuck with Leo ever since he tragically passed away in the early 1990s at the height of his fame.
Speaking with reporters from Esquire, the Once Upon A Time In Hollywood actor said he had always wanted to meet River, and he did end up getting the chance to meet him before he died on the night of Halloween in 1993, however, circumstances preventing him from actually speaking with River.
Mr. Phoenix was just 23-years-old when he passed away because of a drug overdose. The 44-year-old said he grew up respecting River Phoenix as an actor, and all he wanted to do was shake his hand. During a party one night in Silver Lake, Leo said he saw him walk up a flight of stairs, and it was almost like a scene from Vertigo.
Unfortunately, there was a big crowd of people and he never got the chance to meet the iconic actor. Leo said he “looked back and he was gone,” and later found out that Phoenix was on his way to go to the Viper Room.
Bob Forrest, who was good friends with Phoenix, said he was hanging out with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers guitarist, John Frusciante, and they both stumbled into the place. While in the club, Phoenix looked to Bob and told him he didn’t feel so good and was likely “ODing.”
DiCaprio told reporters from Esquire that the entire experience was very existential, because one minute he was just gone, and the actor that was so influential to that generation of actors had died. It was a real tragedy and many people have never forgotten. Phoenix has since become a Hollywood legend.
Later, DiCaprio said he flew out to New Orleans, Louisana, to audition for a part in Interview With The Vampire, however, Christian Slater got the role, rather than Phoenix or DiCaprio.
Interview With A Vampire starred Brad Pitt, Christian Slater, Tom Cruise, and a young Kirsten Dunst, and the film has since gone on to become a cult classic. It also starred Antonio Banderas and was based on the 1976 book of the same name from Anne Rice.