Leonardo Dicaprio has revealed his heartbreak over the fact he was one of the last people to see River Phoenix alive.
River died on 31 October 1993 at the age of 23 outside The Viper Room in Los Angeles following a drug overdose.
It was bittersweet for Leonardo, a huge fan of River’s acting, who saw the Hollywood star earlier in the night at another party.
In an interview with Esquire magazine, Leonardo described the incident as one of the ‘most ominous and sad’ experiences he’s had yet, and added that he ‘grew up revering’ River as the ‘great actor’ of their generation.
Recalling the night he saw River, the 44-year-old explained: ‘And one night, at a party in Silver Lake, I saw him walk up a flight of stairs.
‘It was almost like something you would see in Vertigo, because I saw there was something in his face, and I’d never met him — always wanted to meet him, always wanted to just have an encounter with him — and he was walking toward me and I kind of froze.
‘And then the crowd got in my way, and I looked back and he was gone.’
Leo added poignantly: ‘He disappeared in front of my very eyes, and the tragedy that I felt afterward of having lost this great influence for me and all of my friends.’
The Oscar-winning actor revealed how he extended his arm out to reach River but two other party-goers obstructed his view and suddenly River was gone.
River was brother to Hollywood actor Joaquin Phoenix and was best known for starring in movies like 1986’s Stand By Me, Explorers and Running On Empty which earned him a best supporting actor nomination at the Oscars.
Leo is currently at the Cannes Film Festival promoting his latest role in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.
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