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On what would've been the cult star's birthday, we chart his most iconic looks – from grunge poster-boy to street hustler


"It really makes me happy when people write to me and tell me how they've been effected by my work. The most rewarding thing about being an actor is to get a letter from someone who's really indentified with a character you've played and.

Wasn't he so cute?  19 year-old Matthew Perry on A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon

River Phoenix and 19 year-old Matthew Perry on A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon


A love for the spotlight came early for River when he would sing for spare change along with his siblings in the streets of Westwood, CA. It was during one of these performances where River was discovered by top child agent Iris Burton.

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River and rain Phoenix

River and Rain at Peta's Rock Against Fur concert - February 1989

River Phoenix While young in My Own Private Idaho

In he made Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho, with River Phoenix, and you can still feel his pride in it. “It’s a beautiful film,” he (Keanu Reeves) says. “And lonely. A stranger picking him up.