Leonardo DiCaprio who was one among the last to see the then rising star, River Phoenix in 1993 before his death recalls on the tragic night. Phoenix who is also the brother of the Academy Award nominee, Joaquin Phoenix saw a very promising future starring in critically- acclaimed movies like the 1986 Stephen King movie ‘Stand By Me’ died of a drug intoxication outside a Hollywood nightclub.
The rising star collapsed and died on the sidewalk outside the West Hollywood nightclub The Viper Room at the age of 23.
DiCaprio, a huge fan of Phoenix spoke about his last encounter with the star during while talking about the new Quentin Tarantino’s movie, ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ where he stars alongside Brad Pitt, the late Luke Perry, Margot Robbie, Timothy Oliphant and the likes.
Opening up about the tragic experience, DiCaprio said, "I grew up revering River Phoenix as the great actor of my generation, and all I ever wanted was to have just an opportunity to shake his hand," DiCaprio told Esquire magazine.
"And one night, at a party in Silver Lake, I saw him walk up a flight of stairs. It was almost like something you would see in Vertigo, because I saw there was something in his face, and I'd never met him, always wanted to meet him, always wanted to just have an encounter with him and he was walking toward me and I kind of froze. And then the crowd got in my way, and I looked back and he was gone."
DiCaprio said he kept circling the actor for another meeting but that was not to be.
"I walked back up the stairs and back down, and I was like, ‘Where did he go’ And he was on his way to The Viper Room. It was almost as if, I don't know how to describe it, but it's this existential thing where I felt like... he disappeared in front of my very eyes, and the tragedy that I felt afterward of having lost this great influence for me and all of my friends.
"The actor we all talked about. Just to be able to have that, always wanting to just?and I remember extending my hand out, and then Two people came in front and then I looked back, and then he wasn't there," DiCaprio said.
River Phoenix was just 23 at the time of his death. The young actor who had best supporting actor nomination at the Oscars was last seen in Dark Blood, which released in 2012.