Joaquin Rafael Phoenix was born October
, in Puerto Rico
. Raised in a relaxed, warm environment, he and his siblings were schooled at home
by their parents. When he was four, Joaquin decided he would like a more earthy name like his siblings, Rain
, and he decided on Leaf
. He went by that name for close to a decade.
Leaf Phoenix made his big screen debut in SpaceCamp, but it was when he appeared in Parenthood that he caught people's attention - and then promptly disappeared from the acting scene for over five years. The strong-willed star decided there were no good scripts for actors his age and took an extended sabbatical from acting. He spent the time traveling and with his father down in Mexico.
In 1993, Joaquin was with River, his older brother, when River overdosed on drugs at a night club and died. Joaquin once again appeared in public eye. Many in the media suggested that Joaquin rushed back into acting to exploit the memory of the critically adored River, but the script for his first film since Parenthood actually sat unread for many months before friends finally convinced him to look it over.
Phoenix made his return (now as Joaquin) in 1995's To Die For. The role caught the attention of critics, but unfortunately he followed it up with a brilliant but largely unnoticed role in Inventing the Abbotts. The only thing that came out of that: he and co-star Liv Tyler began a relationship while filming which lasted for three years.
Trading in on his quirky appearance and oddball personality, Joaquin began taking roles which were closer to his nature. First came a role in Oliver Stone's U-Turn, then a role in Return to Paradise. Joaquin has also been seen with Nicolas Cage in 8mm and with Russell Crowe in Gladiator.
Clay Pigeons (1998)
Return to Paradise (1998)
U Turn (1997)
Inventing the Abbotts (1997)
To Die for (1995)
Walking the Dog (1991)
Parenthood (1989) (as Leaf Phoenix)
Secret Witness (1988) (TV) (as Leaf Phoenix)
Russkies (1987) (as Leaf Phoenix)
"Morningstar/Eveningstar" (1986) TV Series (as Leaf Phoenix)
SpaceCamp (1986) (as Leaf Phoenix)
Kids Don't Tell (1985) (TV) (as Leaf Phoenix)
Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia (1984) (TV)
Helping me node what I don't know