Date of Birth: October 28th 1974
As a youngster he took his cues from older siblings River Phoenix and Rain Phoenix, changing his name to Leaf to match their earthier monikers. When the children were encouraged to develop their creative instincts, he followed their lead into acting. Younger sisters Liberty Phoenix and Summer Phoenix rounded out the talented troupe.
Universal Pictures had just opened a new studio in the area and he was cast almost immediately as an angst-ridden adolescent in Parenthood (1989). His performance was very well-received, but Joaquin decided to withdraw from acting for a while - he was frustrated with the dearth of interesting roles for actors his age, and he wanted to see more of the world.
On October 31, 1993, he was at The Viper Room (an L.A. nightclub partly owned by Johnny Depp) when his brother River collapsed from a drug overdose and later died. Joaquin made the call to 911, which was rebroadcast on radio and TV the world over. Months later, at the insistence of friends and colleagues, Joaquin began reading through scripts again, but he was reluctant to re-enter the acting life until he found just the right part.
Joaquin Phoenix has since received Oscar nominations for Gladiator (2000) and Walk the Line (2005).