Last Night at the Viper Room: River Phoenix and the Hollywood he left behind

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Hollywood was built on beautiful and complicated matinee idols: James Dean and Marlon Brando are classic examples, but in the 1990s, the actor who embodied that archetype was River Phoenix. As the brightly colored 1980s wound down, a new crew of leading men began to appear on movie screens. Hailed for their acting prowess and admired for choosing meaty roles, actors such as Johnny Depp, Nicolas Cage, Keanu Reeves, and Brad Pitt were soon rocketing toward stardom while an unknown Leonardo DiCaprio prepared to make his acting debut. River Phoenix, however, stood in front of the pack. Blessed with natural talent and fueled by integrity, Phoenix was admired by his peers and adored by his fans. More than just a pinup on teenage girls' walls, Phoenix was also a fervent defender of the environment and a vocal proponent of a vegan lifestyle—well on his way to becoming a symbol of his generation. At age eighteen, he received his first Oscar nomination. But behind his beautiful public face, there was a young man who had been raised in a cult by nonconformist parents, who was burdened with supporting his family from a young age, and who eventually succumbed to addiction, escaping into a maelstrom of drink and drugs.

And then he was gone. After a dozen films, including Stand by Me and My Own Private Idaho, and with a seemingly limitless future, River Phoenix died of a drug overdose. He was twenty-three years old.

In Last Night at the Viper Room, bestselling author and journalist Gavin Edwards toggles between the tragic events at the Viper Room in West Hollywood on Halloween 1993 and the story of an extraordinary life. Last Night at the Viper Room is part biography, part cultural history of the 1990s, and part celebration of River Phoenix, a Hollywood icon gone too soon. Full of interviews from his fellow actors, directors, friends, and family, Last Night at the Viper Room shows the role he played in creating the place of the actor in our modern culture and the impact his work still makes today.

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Grouping Information

Grouped Work IDfe1c90c8-09f0-e6fc-b5c9-b98e833e8153
Grouping Titlelast night at the viper room river phoenix and the hollywood he left behind
Grouping Authorgavin edwards
Grouping Categorybook
Grouping LanguageEnglish (eng)
Last Grouping Update2022-01-28 04:40:41AM
Last Indexed2022-01-27 05:08:16AM
Novelist Primary ISBNnone

Solr Details

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In Last Night at the Viper Room, acclaimed author and journalist Gavin Edwards vividly recounts the life and tragic death of acclaimed actor River Phoenix—a teen idol on the fast track to Hollywood royalty who died of a drug overdose in front of West Hollywood's storied club, the Viper Room, at the age of 23.

Last Night at the Viper Room explores the young star's life, including his childhood in Venezuela growing up under the aegis of the cultish Children of God. Putting him at the center of a new generation of leading men emerging in the early 1990s— including Johnny Depp, Keanu Reeves, Brad Pitt, Nicolas Cage, and Leonardo DiCaprio—Gavin Edwards traces the Academy Award nominee's meteoric rise, couches him in an examination of the 1990s, and illuminates his lasting legacy on Hollywood and popular culture itself.

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subject_facetActors -- United States -- Biography
BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Entertainment & Performing Arts
Hollywood (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Motion picture industry -- California -- Los Angeles
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / General
Phoenix, River
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture
title_displayLast Night at the Viper Room River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind
title_fullLast Night at the Viper Room : River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind Edwards, Gavin.
Last Night at the Viper Room River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind
Last night at the Viper Room : River Phoenix and the Hollywood he left behind [electronic resource] / Gavin Edwards
title_shortLast Night at the Viper Room
title_subRiver Phoenix and the Hollywood he left behind
BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Entertainment & Performing Arts
Biography & Autobiography
Motion picture industry
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / General
Performing Arts
Phoenix, River
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture