Born in an artistic, penniless hippie family, River Phoenix was brought up playing music and, the charming singing act he formed with his sister Rain rapidly attracted the attention. At only twelve, the American actor appeared in his first television series, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers before obtaining substantive roles in Explorers, in 1985 and Stand by Me, in 1986. The handsome young man soon became a teen heartthrob with such features as Little Nikita, in 1988 and played a young Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, in 1989. With Gus van Sant's My Own Private Idaho, in 1991, the actor was acclaimed as the leading man of his generation. However although he publicly espoused a strong and sensitive vegan, eco-friendly and social consciousness, River Phoenix was addicted to hard drugs, probably to deal with the pressure of celebrity and his difficulty to acclimate himself to modern life after he had been brought up in such an unorthodox environment. The 'vegan James Dean ' soon fell into a torturous slide. In October 1993, River and his siblings, Rain and Joaquin partied at Johnny Depp's Los Angeles club, the Viper Room. The actor took and explosive cocktail of drugs and soon collapsed dead outside the club under the eyes of his panicked sister and brother. His death immediately shocked fans and the media, marking the end of the innocence of a disillusioned Generation X. And although from that day, friends and family have refused to speak about River Phoenix, he highly impacted pop culture and inspired many posthumous tributes from rock bands such as R.E.M and Red Hot Chili Peppers.