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Leonardo DiCaprio Recalls Seeing River Phoenix on Night He Died

Leonardo DiCaprio Recalls Seeing River Phoenix on Night He Died

Leonardo DiCaprio is opening up about almost meeting his idol, River Phoenix, on the night he died.

The 44-year-old Once Upon a Time In Hollywood actor shared his story about the Stand by Me actor – who passed away at the young age of 23 due to combined drug intoxication – in a recent interview with Esquire.

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“I grew up revering River Phoenix as the great actor of my generation, and all I ever wanted was to have just an opportunity to shake his hand,” Leonardo said. “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,” he continued. “And then the crowd got in my way, and I looked back and he was gone.”

“I walked back up the stairs and back down, and I was like, ‘Where did he go?’” Leonardo added. “And he was . . . on his way to the Viper Room. And it was almost as if—I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s this existential thing where I felt like . . . 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 actor we all talked about.”

“Just to be able to have that, always wanting to just—and I remember extending my hand out, and then . . . Two people came in front and then I looked back, and then he wasn’t there,” he shared. “I actually flew later to New Orleans to meet about Interview with the Vampire to play the part Christian Slater ended up playing. [Phoenix had been cast in the role.]”

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Posted to: Leonardo DiCaprio

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