Autopsy: The Last Hours of...: River Phoenix Re-Examined


River Phoenix was one of the most popular and exciting stars of the 1990s. Supposedly clean-living and anti-drugs, his films included the cult classics Stand by Me and My Own Private Idaho, and at 18 he received an Oscar nomination for his role in Running on Empty. But on October 31st 1993 after an hour at friend Johnny Depp’s exclusive nightclub in Los Angeles, The Viper Room, River started convulsing. After 5 seizures over a period of just 30 minutes and repeated attempts at resuscitation by paramedics, River Phoenix was officially pronounced dead at 01:51am. Armed with the autopsy report, Dr Michael Hunter will take the viewer back over the last few weeks of River’s life and try to unravel what went on that fateful night. Returning from a six week film shoot in the mountains of Utah, the autopsy reveals that River’s return to Los Angeles was fraught with mystery illnesses, prescription pill and illegal drug-taking. However it’s the one hour he spends at the club that holds the key to understanding why Phoenix, a perfectly fit and healthy young man, lost his life so tragically. Alongside careful and detailed reconstructed drama scenes we talk to close friends, a psychologist and people who knew him, to painstakingly piece back together the last days of one of the most exciting actors of the 1990s