Last Night at the Viper Room

Last Night at the Viper Room

River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind

eBook - 2013
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Hollywood was built on beautiful and complicated matinee idols: James Dean and Marlon Brando are classic examples, but in the 1990s, the actor who embodied that archetype was River Phoenix. As the brightly colored 1980s wound down, a new crew of leading men began to appear on movie screens. Hailed for their acting prowess and admired for choosing meaty roles, actors such as Johnny Depp, Nicolas Cage, Keanu Reeves, and Brad Pitt were soon rocketing toward stardom while an unknown Leonardo DiCaprio prepared to make his acting debut. River Phoenix, however, stood in front of the pack. Blessed with natural talent and fueled by integrity, Phoenix was admired by his peers and adored by his fans. More than just a pinup on teenage girls' walls, Phoenix was also a fervent defender of the environment and a vocal proponent of a vegan lifestyle--well on his way to becoming a symbol of his generation. At age eighteen, he received his first Oscar nomination. But behind his beautiful public face, there was a young man who had been raised in a cult by nonconformist parents, who was burdened with supporting his family from a young age, and who eventually succumbed to addiction, escaping into a maelstrom of drink and drugs. And then he was gone. After a dozen films, including Stand by Me, Last Night at the Viper Room shows the role he played in creating the place of the actor in our modern culture and the impact his work still makes today.
Publisher: New York : It Books, an imprint of HaperCollins Publishers, ©2013
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062273192
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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m
mombrarian
Jul 11, 2014

Despite the sad ending that you know is coming the whole time, this book is a great, nostalgic read on 80s/90s music and Hollywood.

l
lukasevansherman
Feb 22, 2014

I'm a little embarrassed I picked this up, but, hey, I was about the same age as Phoenix and remember when he died in October 1993. The title is somewhat misleading as this covers his whole life, from his unconventional hippie upbringing and involvement with the Christian cult Children of God to his early acting gigs to his final, drugged-out days. It's written in a typical actor bio fashion, half-earnest and half-dishy, and it's kind of fun for the famous people that float through (various Chili Peppers, Ione Skey) and the other young Hollywood-ers he worked with (Keanu Reeves, Ethan Hawke).
Like Kurt Cobain, who died the next year, the sadness is both for the senseless loss and the squandered potential. Had he lived he probably could've had either Johnny Depp's (the co-owner of the Viper Room, where Phoenix overdosed) or Leonardo Di Caprio's career.

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