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Joaquin Phoenix

Birth Name: 
Joaquin Rafael Bottom
Birthday: 
Monday, October 28, 1974
Sign: 
Birth Place: 
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Height: 
5' 8"

Born in Puerto Rico to Children of God missionaries "John Bottom Amram" and "Arlyn Dunetz Jochebed" (a.k.a. Heart), Joaquin was the middle child in a brood of five. 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. The family moved often, traveling through Central and South America (and adopting the surname "Phoenix" to celebrate their new beginnings) but, by the time Joaquin was 6, they had more or less settled in the Los Angeles area. Heart found work as a secretary at NBC, and John turned his talents to landscaping. They eventually found an agent who was willing to represent all five children, and the younger generation dove into TV work. Commercials for meat, milk, and junk food were off-limits (the kids were all raised as strict vegans), but they managed to find plenty of work pushing other, less sinister products. Joaquin's first real acting gig was a guest appearance on River's sitcom, "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (1982). He worked with his brother again on the afterschool special, "ABC Afterschool Specials: Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia (#12.6)" (1984), then struck out on his own in other made-for-TV productions. He made his big-screen debut as the youngest crew member in the interstellar romp, SpaceCamp (1986), then won his first starring turn in the Cold War-era drama, Russkies (1987). In the late '80s, the Phoenix clan decided to pull up stakes and relocate again--this time to Florida. River's film career had enough momentum to sustain the move, but Joaquin wasn't sure what lay in store for him in the Sunshine State. As it happened, 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. His parents were in the process of separating, so he struck out for Mexico with his father. Joaquin returned to the public eye three years later under tragic circumstances. 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 9-11, 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. He finally signed up to work with Gus Van Sant (who had directed River in My Own Private Idaho (1991) and Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993)) to star as Nicole Kidman's obsessive devotee in To Die For (1995). The performance made Joaquin (who had dropped Leaf and reverted to his birth name) a critics' darling in his own right. His follow-up turn in Inventing the Abbotts (1997) scored more critical kudos and, perhaps more importantly, introduced him to future fiancée Liv Tyler (the pair dated for almost three years). He returned to the big screen later that year with a supporting role in Oliver Stone's U Turn (1997), then played a locked-up drug scapegoat in Return to Paradise (1998). He and "Paradise" co-star, Vince Vaughn, re-teamed almost immediately for the small-town murder caper, Clay Pigeons (1998), which Joaquin followed with a turn as a porn store clerk in 8MM (1999). The film that confirmed Phoenix as a star was Gladiator (2000). The Roman epic cast him as a selfish, paranoid young emperor opposite Russell Crowe's swarthy hero. Determined to make his character as real as possible, Phoenix gained weight and cultivated a pasty complexion during the shoot. Later that year, he appeared in two indies, playing a dock worker in The Yards (1999) (which he counts among his favorite experiences--and one of the only films of his that he can sit through) and the priest in charge of the Marquis de Sade's asylum in Quills (2000).

Awards and Nominations

2013 - Nominated - Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (The Master)
2006 - Nominated - Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Walk the Line)
2001 - Nominated - Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Gladiator)

News

Joaquin Phoenix not quitting acting just yet

Is he or isn't he? Quitting acting, that is.... Read more
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Joaquin Phoenix rapping mockumentary ready for release?

So remember that period back in 2009 when Joaquin Phoenix was allegedly losing his marbles, quitting acting and forging ahead on an ill-advised rap career?... Read more
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Joaquin Phoenix back as Edgar Allen Poe?

Good news! Joaquin Phoenix will come out of hiding and his "rap career" to be in a movie..... Read more
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Joaquin Phoenix Retiring From Acting?

Is two-time Oscar-nominated actor Joaquin Phoenix actually retiring from acting? E! Online caught up with Phoenix last night who gave an impromptu announcement that he was retiring from acting to focus on a music career. The site later got confirmation, of sorts, from actor Casey Affleck.... Read more
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Reviews

I'm Still Here

Acting. I'm one of those actors who likes to stay in character between takes. I drive other actors crazy but, to me, the most important thing when I'm making a film is that the character takes precedence. I become obsessed with whoever I'm playing.... Read more
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Gladiator (BLU-RAY)

In the second of two releases (along with Braveheart) in the "Sapphire Series", Paramount plans to showcase their best award-winning movies (assumingly, Best Pictures winners, as we see here).  Gladiator doesn't quite take up a... Read more
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Two Lovers (BLU-RAY)

Joaquin Phoenix in his final role stars opposite Gwyneth Paltrow and Vinessa Shaw in this tale of a man on the verge of a manic depressive breakdown who finds solace in two women. One of them a boundless liberating muse and the other a safe choice.... Read more
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Two Lovers

I wanted to be able to write a review in which I absolutely decimate Joaquin but I’ve been denied! I haven’t liked one single solitary role he has played. I guess I need to eat crow on this one. He did good (damn him).... Read more
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We Own The Night (BLU-RAY)

This movie has one of the best casts out of any flick in all of 2007 with Joaquin Phoenix, the underrated Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes and Robert Duvall.  But, unfortunately, a cast doesn’t always make the movie.  Attempting to capitalize on the similarly feeling The Departed, We Own the Night falls... Read more
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Videos

Inherent Vice (Trailer #1)

Inherent Vice (Trailer #1)

Inherent Vice starring Reese Witherspoon, Jena Malone, Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin ... Read more
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Her (Trailer #1)

Her (Trailer #1)

Her (Trailer #1) ... Read more
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The Master: Last One/Thank You CLIP

The Master: Last One/Thank You CLIP

 The Master: Last One/Thank You CLIP ... Read more
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The Master TRAILER

The Master TRAILER

The Master ... Read more
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I'm Still Here TRAILER

I'm Still Here TRAILER

A documentary on Joaquin Phoenix's transition from the acting world to a career as an aspiring rapper. ... Read more
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Photos