River Phoenix
River Jude Phoenix was an American film actor, musician, and teen icon. He was the oldest brother of fellow actors Rain
Rain Phoenix
Rain Phoenix is an American actress, musician, and singer. Phoenix has four siblings: two brothers, actors Joaquin and the late River Phoenix, and two sisters, Summer and Liberty.-Early life:...

, Joaquin
Joaquin Phoenix
Joaquin Rafael Phoenix , formerly credited as Leaf Phoenix, is an American film actor. He was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and his family returned to the continental United States four years later...

, Liberty, and Summer Phoenix
Summer Phoenix
Summer Joy Phoenix is an American actress and model. She is the youngest sibling of the late River Phoenix, Rain Phoenix, Joaquin Phoenix, and Liberty Phoenix, and is married to actor Casey Affleck.-Early life:...


Phoenix began acting at age 10 in television commercials. He appeared in diverse roles, making his first notable appearance in the 1986 film Stand by Me
Stand by Me (film)
Stand by Me is a 1986 American drama film directed by Rob Reiner. Based on the novella The Body by Stephen King, the film takes its title from the Ben E. King song of the same name, which plays over the end credits.-Plot:...

, a well-received coming-of-age film based on a novella by Stephen King
Stephen King
Stephen Edwin King is an American author of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy fiction. His books have sold more than 350 million copies and have been adapted into a number of feature films, television movies and comic books...

. Phoenix made a transition into more adult-oriented roles with Running on Empty (1988), playing the son of fugitive parents in a well-received performance that earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry. Since its inception, however, the...

 nomination, and My Own Private Idaho
My Own Private Idaho
My Own Private Idaho is a 1991 independent drama film written and directed by Gus Van Sant, loosely based on Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2, and Henry V, and starring River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves...

(1991), playing a gay hustler
Male prostitution
Male prostitution is the practice of engaging in sexual acts for money. Compared to female sex workers, male sex workers have been far less studied by researchers, and while studies suggest that there are differences between the ways these two groups look at their work, more research is needed.Male...

 in search of his estranged mother.