What Was River Phoenix’s Net Worth at the Time of His Death?

There are plenty of movie stars who left the world too soon, and River Phoenix was one of them. Many remember Phoenix existing as a beautiful young star in Hollywood who died a tragic death, though pinpointing exactly why he became such a legend is still difficult. Vanity Fair notes animal rights activists may remember Phoenix best for pioneering environmentalist and vegan efforts, while film-goers perhaps remember him more for his starring roles in a few classics. Either way, both fans and celebrities today remain heavily affected by the death of the young star.

So, what was Phoenix’s net worth at the time of his death? Here’s what we know.

River Phoenix has a long-standing legacy that can never be forgotten

Actor River Phoenix
Actor River Phoenix | George Rose/Getty Images

While it’s tough to pinpoint exactly what made Phoenix such an icon, there’s no doubt his incredible acting helped solidify his legacy. Biography reminds us Phoenix starred in Stand By Me, a film adapted from Stephen King’s novel, and he later earned an Academy Award nomination for Running on Empty. We also can’t forget that he starred alongside Keanu Reeves in the cult classic, My Own Private Idaho.

While Phoenix was a talented actor for someone so young and a helpful environmentalist, it seems he also left a long-lasting impression on those around him. Vanity Fair notes Brad Pitt said of him, “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.” And Keanu Reeves, one of Phoenix’s best friends, even reportedly rode 1,000 miles on his motorcycle to persuade him to take the role of My Own Private Idaho, which goes to show how much Reeves believed in his friend’s abilities at the time. Unfortunately, it was during the filming of My Own Private Idaho that Phoenix developed the drug addiction that would later claim his life.

He died from a drug overdose at 23 years old

River Phoenix and actress Samantha Mathis
River Phoenix and actress Samantha Mathis | Michael Tighe/Donaldson Collection/Getty Images

It was October 30, 1993, when Phoenix died of a drug overdose. The Guardian notes he was with his girlfriend at the time, fellow actress Samantha Mathis, as well as his siblings, Joaquin and Rain, at the time. Mathis later noted that they stopped at Johnny Depp’s club, The Viper, and she knew something was off. “I knew something was wrong that night, something I didn’t understand. I didn’t see anyone doing drugs but he was high in a way that made me feel uncomfortable – I was in way over my head.” Phoenix then died just 45 minutes after their arrival to the club from a mixture of cocaine and morphine.

Phoenix’s drug usage became a well-known fact about him, but there’s also his childhood to consider and how that may have led to his drug use later on. Phoenix’s parents were hippies who frequently moved across the country and joined the Children of God cult, The Guardian notes. Phoenix later admitted that he was sexually abused as a child during his time in the cult. As Phoenix’s friend, Joshua Greenbaum, told People, “You can’t go through that trauma at such a young age and not be affected by it for the rest of your life.”

River Phoenix’s net worth

River Phoenix in a scene from the film 'Sneakers', 1992
River Phoenix in a scene from the film Sneakers, 1992 | Universal Pictures/Getty Images

Though he died at just 23 years old, Phoenix accrued quite a net worth. According to Celebrity Net Worth, his was around $5 million in 1993.

This was quite a change from how he grew up, however. When he was a child living with his parents, the Phoenix family seemed to live an impoverished life, and People notes they even busked to raise extra money for the cult. Today, his family is likely much better off. Celebrity Net Worth notes Joaquin Phoenix, who’s found a ton of success in his film career, is worth $35 million today.

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