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Joaquin Phoenix Life Story

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Joaquin Rafael Phoenix (born October 28, 1974), once also known as Leaf Phoenix, is an Academy Award nominated and Golden Globe Award winning, Puerto Rican-born, American actor. In 2006 he won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Johnny Cash in Walk the Line and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in a Lead Role for that same role. He often plays supporting roles as conflicted, insecure characters with a dark side. Phoenix is a devout vegan.

The scar on Joaquin’s lip is popularly believed to be the result of a repaired cleft lip. However, Joaquin Phoenix has stated in interviews that his mother, while pregnant with him, felt a sharp pain one day and he was born with a scar on his lip. The birth scar is a microform, basically it is an ‘almost cleft’, the tissues just reached far enough to join up. If the bone and muscle tissues joined correctly no surgery or cleft repair is required, as is the case with Joaquin.

Early life: Phoenix’s father, John Lee Bottom, is of Irish and Spanish descent; his mother, Arlyn Sharon Dunetz, was born in the Bronx to Orthodox Jewish immigrants from Hungary and Russia. Shortly after they met, the two joined the Children of God cult and began traveling throughout South America as missionaries.

Joaquin was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and lived there until he was six years old. After leaving the Children of God and returning to the United States (upon which they adopted the surname “Phoenix”), his parents encouraged their children (Joaquin was the third of five) to develop their creative instincts. Since his siblings had nature-related names – “River”, “Rain” (or “Rainbow Joan of Arc”), “Liberty Butterfly” (or “Libertad Mariposa”), and “Summer” (or Summer Joy) – Joaquin changed his name to “Leaf”.

The family moved to Los Angeles, where his mother started working as a secretary for NBC, and his father became a landscaper. His parents hired an agent, who eventually got the five children acting work.

Film career: Joaquin’s first acting jobs were guest appearances on two television shows with his brother River: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1982) and Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia (1984).

He made his big-screen debut in Space Camp (1986), playing the role of Max, and his first starring role was in Russkies (1987). He went on to establish himself as a child actor in Parenthood (1989), before deciding to withdraw from acting for a while and move to Mexico with his father.

Joaquin came back into public view under tragic circumstances he was the person who dialed 9-1-1 when his brother River Phoenix suffered a fatal drug overdose outside Hollywood nightclub The Viper Room. Joaquin was reluctant to re-enter the world of acting, but he did so at the insistence of his friends. He changed his name from “Leaf” back to “Joaquin.”

He portrayed a troubled teen in Gus Van Sant’s To Die For, and has earned positive reviews for adult roles as Commodus in Gladiator (for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor), a priest in Quills, the washed-up baseball player Merrill Hess in M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs, and stoic Lucius Hunt in Shyamalan’s The Village.

In 2006, Phoenix won the “Best Actor – Musical or Comedy” Golden Globe award for his role as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line. He was nominated for an Oscar for the performance.

On January 26, 2006, a few days after his Golden Globe win for Walk The Line, he and another person were involved in an auto accident in the Hollywood Hills suburb in Los Angeles when his SUV flipped over and skidded onto its side. Fortunately, he suffered no serious injuries, and was pulled from his overturned car by German art film director Werner Herzog, whose home was located nearby. Phoenix appeared at the 2006 Screen Actors Guild Awards a few days later.

Phoenix was recently cast as John Kelly (aka John Clark) in the film verson of Tom Clancy’s best selling novel, Without Remorse. He has admitted himself into rehab to deal with his increasing alcohol problem. He is also a chain smoker.

Phoenix  returned to the screen in the fall of 2007 in “We Own the Night,” his third film for director Michael Gray. He co-starred with the equally intense Mark Wahlberg for a tale of family and professional loyalties in the nightclub and drug-dealing world of 1980s Brooklyn. Despite fine performances from the stars, it failed to make much of a dent in the public or critical consciousness.

At the same time, Phoenix rolled out “Reservation Road,” a family drama pairing Phoenix with Mark Ruffalo with highly-anticipated results. Only a few months before the 2009 release of his Brooklyn-set romantic drama, “Two Lovers,” co-starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Phoenix raised eyebrows by announcing his retirement from acting.

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