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Joaquin Phoenix - Biography

Joaquin Phoenix is an actor best known for his roles in Gladiator, Walk the Line, Her, Joker, and more


Joaquin Phoenix at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 05, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California
October 8, 2009
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Joaquin Phoenix Early Life

Joaquin Phoenix was born Joaquin Rafael Bottom on October 28, 1974 in Puerto Rico. His parents John Bottom Arlyn "Heart" Dunetz met when Arlyn was hitchhiking in California and John picked her up in his Volkswagen bus.

The couple later traveled all over the US and South America as missionaries for the religious cult Children of God, with their four children, Joaquin, River, Rain, and Liberty. After leaving the cult in 1977, the family settled in Los Angeles, where Joaquin's late brother River pursued an acting career.

Joaquin Phoenix Acting Career

Joaquin got his first acting role alongside his brother on the television series Seven Brides for Seven Brothers on its 1982 episode "Christmas Song." 

He went on to appear under the name Leaf Phoenix in his first big-screen project, SpaceCamp, in 1986, and the critically acclaimed Ron Howard comedy-drama Parenthood starring Steve Martin 1989.

Following his brother River's sudden death in 1993, Phoenix retreated from acting. He returned to film in 1995, getting his breakthrough role as an intense but dim-witted teen in the Nicole Kidman film To Die For. 

His role in 2000's Gladiator cemented his Hollywood star status and brought him his first Oscar nomination. Playing Johnny Cash in Walk the Line opposite Reese Witherspoon as June Carter Cash in 2005 earned Joaquin his second Best Actor nomination, and also won him a Golden Globe award. 

Other notable works of his include Signs (2002), Two Lovers (2008), I'm Still Here (2010), The Master (2012), Her (2013), Joker (2019), and Napoleon (2023).

Joaquin Phoenix Personal Life

On October 31, 1993, Joaquin was with his brother River outside Johnny Depp's nightclub The Viper Room in West Hollywood, when River, then 23, died from an overdose. Joaquin's call to 911 was widely broadcast in the media.

Joaquin has long turned his head at celebrity culture, and is notoriously private about his personal life. In 2005, he checked into rehab to be treated for alcoholism, and he is a longtime vegan.

In 2012, he met fellow actress Rooney Mara on the set of Her, and they developed a romance four years later while on the set of Mary Magdalene. They got engaged in 2019, and in 2020, they welcomed a son, named River Lee after Joaquin's late brother.

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