When River Phoenix fatally collapsed from a drug overdose on the sidewalk outside the notorious Viper Room on Halloween 1993, he was a 22-year-old Oscar-nominated star of the classic “Stand by Me” with a brilliant future in the making. Or so people 

The actor was just 23 when he died outside the Viper Room in West Hollywood due to a drug overdose, but made his mark on the world after starring in beloved films Stand By Me (1986), Running on Empty (1988) and My Own Private Idaho (1991). His final 

It's been 20 years since River Phoenix died on October 31, 1993 at the Viper Room, where the 23-year-old Oscar nominee drank a “speedball” of heroin and cocaine dissolved into a drink before chasing it with Valium. But leading up to that night, friends

Host Rachel Martin talks with Gavin Edwards about his biography of River Phoenix, Last Night at the Viper Room. Copyright © 2013 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required. RACHEL MARTIN 

"Last Night at the Viper Room: River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind" (It Books), by Gavin Edwards. Everything in life seemed to come to actor River Phoenix before he was ready for it. Death, too. As the eldest child of free-spirited parents


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