River Phoenix Biography
His father John had been a carpenter, his mother Arlyn was a secretary in the Bronx. They met in California in 1968 where they worked as itinerant fruit pickers. By the time River was two, they were members of the Children of God, living in South America, where John was the sect's Archbishop of Venezuela. In 1977, they moved to Los Angeles, and changed their last name to Phoenix. His parents encouraged all of their children to get into movies and, by age ten, River was acting professionally on TV. His film debut was in Explorers (1985), followed rapidly by box-office successes with Stand by Me (1986) and The Mosquito Coast (1986), and as young Indiana in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). His role as Danny Pope in Running on Empty (1988) earned him an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor.