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

Hardback It Books

By (author) Gavin Edwards

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  • Publisher: It Books
  • Format: Hardback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 231mm x 28mm | 431g
  • Publication date: 5 November 2013
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0062273159
  • ISBN 13: 9780062273154
  • Illustrations note: colour plates
  • Sales rank: 20,728

Product description

"I think he was the best. Is. Was. Is the best of the young guys. I'm not just saying that now - I said that before he died. He had something I don't understand". (Brad Pitt). For a moment in the early 1990s, it felt like the future of American culture was up for grabs. Bill Clinton, just 47 years old when he moved into the White House, represented a new generation. In music, Nirvana was selling millions of copies of Nevermind, blowing out the nation's eardrums in a way not heard since 70s punk rock. In the world of movies, indie film was busting out of art house theaters and into mall multiplexes. A new generation of leading men was on the rise, many of them with boyish features and bohemian attitudes: Johnny Depp, Keanu Reeves, Brad Pitt, Christian Slater, Robert Downey Jr., Nicolas Cage, and Leonardo DiCaprio. Of all of them, perhaps the one with the brightest future was River Phoenix. Raised in Venezuela under the aegis of the cultish Children of God, 18-year-old River Phoenix took Hollywood by storm when he starred in Stand By Me, and soon won an Oscar nomination for Running on Empty. Praised by his peers as the most talented actor of his generation, River came of age in the spotlight - a teen idol on the fast-track to Hollywood royalty. Yet, on October 31, 1993, at the age of 23, River Phoenix died of a drug overdose in front of West Hollywood's storied club, the Viper Room, a tragic ending to a brilliant life, and career, the world had only just begun to grasp. Acclaimed author and journalist Gavin Edward tells the story of the night River Phoenix died and explores the world he lived in, his life, and lasting legacy.

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Author information

Gavin Edwards is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and has written for Details, Spin, and the New York Times. He is the author of six books including the forthcoming VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave, Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton's Little John?: Music's Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed and 'Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy and Other Misheard Lyrics. He lives in Los Angeles, CA.

Review quote

"What Edwards does do impeccably is reveal the life of an extraordinary young man, whose idealism and dedication to his family, despite crippling childhood conditions, set him apart from the rest of the rising star pack."--USA Today