Born in Puerto Rico to Children of God missionaries "John Bottom Amram" and "Arlyn Dunetz Jochebed" (a.k.a. Heart), Joaquin was the middle child in a brood of five. As a youngster, he took his cues from older siblings River Phoenix and Rain Phoenix, changing his name to Leaf to match their earthier monikers. When the children were encouraged to develop their creative instincts, he followed their lead into acting. Younger sisters Liberty Phoenix and Summer Phoenix rounded out the talented troupe. The family moved often, traveling through Central and South America (and adopting the surname "Phoenix" to celebrate their new beginnings) but, by the time Joaquin was 6, they had more or less settled in the Los Angeles area. Heart found work as a secretary at NBC, and John turned his talents to landscaping. They eventually found an agent who was willing to represent all five children, and the younger generation dove into TV work. Commercials for meat, milk, and junk food were off-limits (the kids were all raised as strict vegans), but they managed to find plenty of work pushing other, less sinister products. Joaquin's first real acting gig was a guest appearance on River's sitcom, "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (1982). He worked with his brother again on the afterschool special, "ABC Afterschool Specials: Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia (#12.6)" (1984), then struck out on his own in other made-for-TV productions. He made his big-screen debut as the youngest crew member in the interstellar romp, SpaceCamp (1986), then won his first starring turn in the Cold War-era drama, Russkies (1987). In the late '80s, the Phoenix clan decided to pull up stakes and relocate again--this time to Florida. River's film career had enough momentum to sustain the move, but Joaquin wasn't sure what lay in store for him in the Sunshine State. As it happened, Universal Pictures had just opened a new studio in the area and he was cast almost immediately as an angst-ridden adolescent in Parenthood (1989). His performance was very well-received, but Joaquin decided to withdraw from acting for a while - he was frustrated with the dearth of interesting roles for actors his age, and he wanted to see more of the world. His parents were in the process of separating, so he struck out for Mexico with his father. Joaquin returned to the public eye three years later under tragic circumstances. On October 31, 1993, he was at The Viper Room (an L.A. nightclub partly-owned by Johnny Depp) when his brother River collapsed from a drug overdose and later died. Joaquin made the call to 9-11, which was rebroadcast on radio and TV the world over. Months later, at the insistence of friends and colleagues, Joaquin began reading through scripts again, but he was reluctant to re-enter the acting life until he found just the right part. He finally signed up to work with Gus Van Sant (who had directed River in My Own Private Idaho (1991) and Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993)) to star as Nicole Kidman's obsessive devotee in To Die For (1995). The performance made Joaquin (who had dropped Leaf and reverted to his birth name) a critics' darling in his own right. His follow-up turn in Inventing the Abbotts (1997) scored more critical kudos and, perhaps more importantly, introduced him to future fiancée Liv Tyler (the pair dated for almost three years). He returned to the big screen later that year with a supporting role in Oliver Stone's U Turn (1997), then played a locked-up drug scapegoat in Return to Paradise (1998). He and "Paradise" co-star, Vince Vaughn, re-teamed almost immediately for the small-town murder caper, Clay Pigeons (1998), which Joaquin followed with a turn as a porn store clerk in 8MM (1999). The film that confirmed Phoenix as a star was Gladiator (2000). The Roman epic cast him as a selfish, paranoid young emperor opposite Russell Crowe's swarthy hero. Determined to make his character as real as possible, Phoenix gained weight and cultivated a pasty complexion during the shoot. Later that year, he appeared in two indies, playing a dock worker in The Yards (2000) (which he counts among his favorite experiences--and one of the only films of his that he can sit through) and the priest in charge of the Marquis de Sade's asylum in Quills (2000).IMDb Mini Biography By: IMDb Editors
Darkened circles under his eyes
Scar on upper lip
Deep husky voice
Took his mother to the premiere of Gladiator (2000).
Was born Joaquin Rafael, but at the age of four he decided that he wanted a more earthy name, like his elder siblings River and Rain, so while he was raking leaves with his father he decided on Leaf. In the early '90s he took back his birth name.
His first name is pronounced "JH'OH-AH-KEEN".
Once refused to wear shoes during a photo shoot for Prada because they were made out of leather.
He is a strict vegan. He refuses to wear any costumes made out of animal skin. For the movie Gladiator (2000), Quills (2000) and Walk the Line (2005), among others, he requested that his "leather" costumes be made from synthetic materials.
Was born on same day, year and city as Dayanara Torres.
Took his mother to the Academy Awards. 
Joaquin's mother is of Hungarian-Russian decent and his father is of Spanish-Irish decent.
Is a spokesperson for PETA.
Became an uncle again after sister, Summer Phoenix, gave birth to Indiana August Affleck (2004).
Contrary to popular belief, the scar on his lip is not the result of a repaired cleft lip or palate. It is simply a birth mark. Phoenix has stated in interviews that, while pregnant with him, his mother felt a sharp pain one day, and he was born with a mark on his lip.
Spoke Spanish as a small child but forgot most of it as he got older.
Reportedly never reads his own press or reviews.
Checked himself into rehab to be treated for alcoholism in early April 2005.
Did his own vocals on the Walk the Line (2005) soundtrack.
26 January 2006 - Escaped injury after his car overturned. The crash reportedly was caused by brake failure.
Phoenix was in car accident January 2006 on a winding canyon road that flipped his car over. Shaken and confused, Phoenix heard a tapping on his window and a voice say, "Just relax". Unable to see the man, Phoenix replied, "I'm fine. I am relaxed". Then managed to see that the man was famed, eccentric German auteur Werner Herzog, and Herzog replied, 'No, you're not'. After helping Phoenix out of the wreckage, Herzog phoned in an ambulance and vanished.
He and his brother have both appeared in film series that involved Harrison Ford. River Phoenix played the young Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), and Ford's son in The Mosquito Coast (1986). Joaquin is among those being considered to play John Clarke in the Jack Ryan spin-off Without Remorse (????), a character that Willem Dafoe played opposite Ford in Clear and Present Danger (1994).
Often brings his mother or any of his three sisters as his date to movie premieres or award shows.
He and River Phoenix are the first brothers to be nominated for acting Academy Awards.
Rides a Ducati motorcycle and a yellow '72 Le Mans.
Joaquin has been nominated for 3 categories in the Music Video Production Association Awards (2006), Directorial Debut, Direction of a New Artist, and Adult Contemporary.
Invited to join AMPAS in 2006.
Owns two cats.
Kate Winslet calls him the best actor of his generation.
Is of Russian, Spanish and Hungarian heritage.
Announced his retirement from acting in October 2008 and claimed he wanted to pursue a career as a rapper. This announcement was followed by several bizarre appearances and musical performances by Phoenix, which made the shocked public wonder whether it was all just an act or if his behavior was for real. His retirement from acting and his "career" as a rapper turned out to be a hoax, which was part of his movie I'm Still Here (2010/I).
Joaquin and his brother River both played the son of actor Richard Harris. Joaquin in Gladiator, and River in Silent Tongue.
Phoenix's looks provided the inspiration for the design of the character Bill the Cat in The Freak Next Door (2012), most noticeably the darkened circles under his eyes.
I had a Catholic girlfriend but she wouldn't, uh, share loving.
After River's death, I felt like I was in an altered state. It took me over a year to get my life back.
I don't have the slightest desire to speak about my dead brother. It gets on my nerves to always be compared with him. My brother was a magnificent person and an outstanding actor.
River and I would talk about being old, being in our 50s together, how it'd probably take us that long to get to work together. There was something gorgeous about us being old together. River will be missed -period. I mean now, more than ever I wish I could talk to him. - on living without older brother River.
My significant other right now is myself, which is what happens when you suffer from multiple personality disorder and self-obsession.
(On relationship with Liv Tyler) "What can I say ? We hit it off immediately. She's a darling. I've said it over and over again. She's just very real, right there, never like a movie star. She's so genuine, and she doesn't take herself too seriously. It shows in the work she does that her honesty stands out most."
(On relationship with Liv Tyler) "I'm a great believer in people coming into your life, and you into theirs, for a reason. And i know that when Liv and I met, it was for a reason - I really needed her and she really needed me. And at a certain point, I think we stopped evolving with each other, stopped progressing, and made a very mature decision to move on, even though there was still a great love there. There's no one gossipy thing that I can share. I'm thankful that we had the time we had."
(On relationship with Liv Tyler) "I was in awe. Every once in a while you find an actor that, with one word, can sum up eight different emotions. She absolutely nailed that."
I'm not the indie kid, and I'm also not the John Grisham novel hero, but I am all of those things. I do whatever excites me at the time. I'll be in some huge $80 million buddy cop movie, I don't care, and I'll also do some wild independent movie. I refuse to have an agenda.
I don't know why I always get to play these guys who have few redeeming features. But don't knock it. Villains are much more fun.
As I'm reading a script, I start to see the character. I always seem to do something to my hair. A lot of stuff I do for a part, people don't even notice, but I notice, and it makes the character whole for me.
The reason I keep making movies is I hate the last thing I did. I'm trying to rectify my wrongs.
I go into movies thinking, we're performing, but with interviews, we're pretending to be completely real. I just can't get my head around it. And the things we say in this hour could permanently shape our personas. I mean, tell me that's not a little odd! And because I think that's odd, people think I'm odd. And that's strange. Know what I'm saying?
I enjoy humour more than anything, I don't really sit around banging my head and crying all the time.
I changed my name because no one in the States could pronounce 'Joaquin' and I used to get really embarrassed about it as a kid. All the other kids in my family had gorgeous names and I got 'Joaquin', you know what I mean? So I said 'This is not good. Even I can't say it'.
It's been a year since last time I tried to give up smoking. I went to a hypnotist; we sat down and started talking. A couple of hours later, I woke up; the hypnotist wasn't in the room, but his wife was. I was like 'Oh my goodness, I fell asleep and didn't get to talk to the doctor.' And she said 'Don't worry, you talked...' I freaked out, left their place, immediately bought a pack of cigarettes and smoked, terrified of what I'd said.
That kind of fame; I couldn't have it in my life. I love that we can sit on the lawn in Central Park and I'm just one of the millions. I don't want to lose that. I'm trying to figure out the perfect strategy. And it's tough. I just want to be right in the middle.
I had a really wonderful upbringing. We were a tight family. It was wonderful to grow up with so many siblings. We were all just a year or two apart, and we were always so supportive of each other. I learned everything from my older brother and sister and taught it to my younger sisters.
I never think that I'm good at anything I do. I can always do it better, I know my weakness. I've never been perfect.
"The less someone knows about me, the better, because my intention is to play a variety of characters." - on maintaining a lower profile then some of his other Hollywood peers.
(On falling into acting): "I suck at painting and writing; I tried both. For me, it's acting because I grew up with it. When we moved to California, we all did commercials and TV shows. Riv was the first to get a TV show and me and my sister Liberty guest-starred on another show. It was kind of accidental."
(On his childhood and his live on the land with his family): "I remember us being poor, but I never felt embarrassed, or like I was missing anything. I don't remember the hardship of trying to make it, just how my parents always managed to get through."
If you can come in, say your lines brilliantly, and be thinking 'What's for lunch?' the whole time you're doing it and it works for the audience, who cares?
Making movies is a constant manipulation. You manipulate the environment. You make it rain when you want it to. You manipulate actors. And as an actor, you try and manipulate your feelings to match what you think you'd be going through in a situation where your character is going through something.
I don't know Shakespeare! I'm not a serious actor. Directors always make references, and I go: "Ah, I'll check it out," and I never, ever do. I'm incredibly lazy.
I'm going to sound a little weird here, but I like to spend a lot of time on my own in the woods. I don't exactly sneak off in the middle of the night, but I like to be in a place where no one can reach me by phone or e-mail.
Acting. I'm one of those actors who likes to stay in character between takes. I drive other actors crazy but, to me, the most important thing when I'm making a film is that the character takes precedence. I become obsessed with whoever I'm playing. I want to explore the character as completely as I can. The moment an actor becomes satisfied with themselves, their work suffers. I think that we should always challenge ourselves in work. - On acting being his biggest challenge.
I live a really boring life. I'm much more clichéd, pathetic and pretentious than you would probably give me credit for. I don't want to do much of anything when I'm not working. It's important that any woman I know shouldn't need to be stimulated outside the house, because I can't provide that. (2007)
It's a bad idea for actors to grow accustomed to seeing themselves on camera, because inevitably you start doing things and become too self-conscious. The only way to prevent it is by not being aware of yourself in that way or at least trying not to be.
First of all, I really think that the greatest fear for actors, is reaching the point in which they go, 'God, I'm good at this', because I think the work will really suffer. It's not a conscious effort, it's just I always hope I can do justice to the films and characters. I feel that I've been choosy in my roles as much as I can be, and I only work on films that I REALLY want to make.
[2007, on being a vegetarian] I don't try to impose my views on anyone else, and I can simply say I feel it's right for me. Of course, I've had slips. When I was about 12 I stayed with a friend in San Diego. They got pizza, and I was like, "I'm having some motherfucking pizza. I ate two slices and vomited for two days. I'm strange in that I crave salad and vegetables. I've never really had a sweet tooth, and I don't particularly like foods that are too rich. I'm a parent's dream.
[2007, on if he believes in life after death] Fuck no. There's just nothing. We're gone. If I do have a soul, I don't think it's interpreting life, feelings or experience. My brain is what's making sense of experience and feelings for me. So when that fucker's cut off, how can I possibly understand or feel anything?
 Early on, there wasn't much strategy in choosing roles. I didn't get offered 400 movies; I got offered four, and I did those movies. Let's be honest: If I were six-foot-two, blond and incredibly muscular, they would have been banging down my door. Any actor who doesn't admit that is wrong. But once you've established yourself, you try to break out to the other place...The irony is that I am suddenly being offered all those things usually offered to the six-foot-two blond guy with the big chest. And I'm going, "Are you motherfuckers crazy? I'm finally fucking starting to get into some real work, and now you want me to make movies where I run around with a fucking gun, chasing dudes?" I can't understand actors who, after busting their asses for years, get nominated for an Oscar at the age of 45 and win it, and the next 10 movies they make are fucking crap.
Once I became a total buffoon, it was so liberating. Part of why I was frustrated with acting was because I took it so seriously. I want it to be so good that I get in my own way. It's like love: when you fall in love you're not yourself anymore. You lose control of being natural and showing all the beautiful parts of yourself, and all somebody recognizes is total desperation.
[on Paul Thomas Anderson, director of The Master (2012)] He called me "Bubbles"on the set. Bubbles was Michael Jackson's pet monkey, and I was Paul's pet monkey. I didn't mind I at all. I love having a master.
[on being attracted to acting] On the first job I ever did, there was a fight scene. I was eight, and though I knew it wasn't real and they were actors, I was emotionally affected by it. I felt the adrenaline race through my body. There are kids who get on a BMX bike when they're eight and they go, 'Whoa, this is incredible' and grow up to do extreme sports. It's the same for me with acting.
|Buffalo Soldiers (2001)||$700,000|
|The Village (2004)||$5,000,000|
|Ladder 49 (2004)||$850,000|
|Walk the Line (2005)||$3,500,000|
(April 2005) Began treatment for alcoholism.
(August 2005) August 11, 2005 - directed the video for "Tired of Being Sorry" by the band Ringside
(March 2006) Began filming We Own the Night (2007) in New York.
(September 2006) Was in Brazil/Amazon area working with the Yawanawa Tribe.
(November 2006) Finished filming Reservation Road (2007).
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