Last Night at the Viper Room

Last Night at the Viper Room

River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind

Book - 2013
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In Last Night at the Viper Room, acclaimed author and journalist Gavin Edwards vividly recounts the life and tragic death of acclaimed actor River Phoenix--a teen idol on the fast track to Hollywood royalty who died of a drug overdose in front of West Hollywood's storied club, the Viper Room, at the age of 23. Last Night at the Viper Room explores the young star's life, including his childhood in Venezuela growing up under the aegis of the cultish Children of God. Putting him at the center of a new generation of leading men emerging in the early 1990's--including Johnny Depp, Keanu Reeves, Brad Pitt, Nicolas Cage, and Leonardo DiCaprio--Gavin Edwards traces the Academy Award nominee's meteoric rise, couches him in an examination of the 1990s, and illuminates his lasting legacy on Hollywood and popular culture itself.
Publisher: New York : It Books, an imprint of HaperCollins Publishers, [2013]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062273154
0062273159
Characteristics: xiv, 273 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 24 cm

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k
kccrush
Nov 23, 2017

This book is about the sad downfall of River Phoenix. The part I didn't like about it is that it is sloppily written and doesn't appear to have any first person research. The info especially about the very night he OD'd is not accurate. There is a tv show - Last 24 - which is on you tube with first person interviews with friends, tutors and the detectives who investigated his death that varies from the details in the book. I very much like biographies about people who die young, but not sure this is the best one on River. RIP.

m
mombrarian
Jul 11, 2014

Despite the sad ending that you know is coming the whole time, this book is a great, nostalgic read on 80s/90s music and Hollywood.

l
lukasevansherman
Feb 22, 2014

I'm a little embarrassed I picked this up, but, hey, I was about the same age as Phoenix and remember when he died in October 1993. The title is somewhat misleading as this covers his whole life, from his unconventional hippie upbringing and involvement with the Christian cult Children of God to his early acting gigs to his final, drugged-out days. It's written in a typical actor bio fashion, half-earnest and half-dishy, and it's kind of fun for the famous people that float through (various Chili Peppers, Ione Skey) and the other young Hollywood-ers he worked with (Keanu Reeves, Ethan Hawke).
Like Kurt Cobain, who died the next year, the sadness is both for the senseless loss and the squandered potential. Had he lived he probably could've had either Johnny Depp's (the co-owner of the Viper Room, where Phoenix overdosed) or Leonardo Di Caprio's career.

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