Joaquin Phoenix is an American actor, producer, music video director, musician, and activist.
Let’s find out some fun facts about him!
1. Joaquín Rafael Bottom was born in October 28, 1974 in the Río Piedras district of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
2. is parents were from the U.S. mainland.
3. He is the third of five children, including River (1970–1993), Rain (b. 1972), Liberty (b. 1976) and Summer (b. 1978), all of whom have also acted.
4. He also has a half-sister named Jodean (b. 1964) from a previous relationship of his father’s.
5. Phoenix’s father, John Lee Bottom, originally from Fontana, California, was a lapsed Catholic of English, German and French Huguenot ancestry.
6. Phoenix’s mother, Arlyn (née Dunetz), was born in the Bronx, New York, to Jewish parents whose families emigrated from Russia and Hungary.
7. Arlyn left her family in 1968 and moved to California, later meeting Phoenix’s father while hitchhiking.
8. They married in 1969, then later joined a religious group, the Children of God, and began traveling throughout South America.
9. His parents eventually became disenchanted with the Children of God; they made the decision to leave the group and returned to the U.S. in 1978.
10. They changed their last name to Phoenix, after the mythical bird that rises from its own ashes, symbolizing a new beginning.
11. Around this time, Joaquín began calling himself “Leaf,” desiring to have a nature-related name like his siblings, and inspired by spending time outdoors raking leaves with his father.
12. “Leaf” became the name he used as a child actor, until at age 15, when he changed it back to Joaquin.
13. In order to provide food and financial support for the family, the children performed on the streets and at various talent contests, singing and playing instruments.
14. In Los Angeles, his mother started working as a secretary for NBC, and his father worked as a landscaper.
15. Phoenix and his siblings were eventually discovered by one of Hollywood’s leading children’s agents, Iris Burton, who got the five children acting work, mainly doing commercials and television show appearances.
16. He went on to establish himself as a child actor before deciding to withdraw from acting for a while and travel to Mexico and South America with his father.
17. Three days after Phoenix’s 19th birthday, his older brother River suffered a fatal drug overdose on October 31, 1993.
18. The call he made to 911 seeking help for his brother was repeatedly played on radio and television. In response, he retreated from the public eye for about a year.
19. Phoenix started acting in television shows with his brother River Phoenix and sister Summer Phoenix.
20. His first major film release was in the comedy-drama film Parenthood (1989). During his period as a child actor he was credited as Leaf Phoenix, his self-given name.
21. He later went back to his birth name, Joaquín, and received positive reviews for his supporting work in a wide range of films, most notably in the film adaptation of the novel To Die For (1995) and the period film Quills (2000).
22. He received international attention for his portrayal of Commodus in the 2000 historical epic film Gladiator, which earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
23. He has subsequently earned Best Actor nominations for portraying musician Johnny Cash in the biopic Walk the Line (2005) and for his role as Freddie Quell, a sex-obsessed alcoholic World War II veteran in the drama film The Master (2012), which won him the Volpi Cup for Best Actor.
24. To this date, he and River Phoenix hold the distinction of being the first and only brothers to be nominated for acting Academy Awards.
25. Some of his other notable films include the satire film Buffalo Soldiers (2001), the science fiction thriller Signs (2002), the animated film Brother Bear (2003), the historical drama film Hotel Rwanda (2004), the psychological thriller The Village (2004), the documentary Earthlings (2005), the romantic drama Two Lovers (2008), the drama The Immigrant (2013), the romantic science fiction drama Her (2013), the crime comedy-drama film Inherent Vice (2014), and the thriller You Were Never Really Here (2017), for which he won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor.
26. Aside from his acting career, he has also ventured into directing music videos, as well as producing films and television shows.
27. He has recorded an album, the soundtrack to Walk The Line, for which he won the Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media.
28. Phoenix is a social activist, lending his support to a number of charities and humanitarian organizations.
29. He is on the board of directors for The Lunchbox Fund, a non-profit organization which provides daily meals to students of township schools in Soweto of South Africa.
30. Phoenix is also widely known for his animal rights advocacy.
31. He has been a vegan since the age of three and campaigns for PETA and In Defense of Animals.
32. Since 2006, he has been living on top of the Hollywood Hills.
33. In early April 2005, Phoenix checked into rehab to be treated for alcoholism.
34. Phoenix unexpectedly announced in late 2008 that he had retired from acting to pursue a rapping career, and that the forthcoming Two Lovers would be his last film. On February 11, 2009, Phoenix appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman to promote Two Lovers. He seemed incoherent and was largely unresponsive towards David Letterman’s questions about the film and his career plans.
35. Phoenix appeared on Late Show again on September 22, 2010, and revealed that his “retirement” and eccentric behavior were for a mockumentary, I’m Still Here (2010), that he and Casey Affleck were filming.
36. In October 2012, Phoenix proclaimed the Academy Awards to be “bullshit”. He later gave an interview amending his earlier comments and acknowledging that the Oscars provide an important platform for many deserving filmmakers.
37. Phoenix dated his Inventing the Abbotts co-star Liv Tyler from 1995 to 1998, and South-African model Topaz Page-Green from 2001 to 2005.
38. He had a year-long relationship with model Heather Christie in 2012.
39. He was in a relationship with DJ Allie Teilz from late 2013 to early 2015.
40. Since late 2016, he has been dating actress Rooney Mara.