Joaquin Phoenix was born in Puerto Rico and began his acting career at the young age of eight. As a boy, he made numerous television appearances on such hit shows as Hill Street Blues, The Fall Guy and Murder, She Wrote. He was a regular on the short-lived 1986 CBS series Morningstar/Eveningstar, and followed that same year with his first feature film role in SPACECAMP. The following year, he starred in RUSSKIES with sister Summer and Carole King. Two years later, director Ron Howard cast the teenager as Dianne Wiest's son in his popular family comedy PARENTHOOD. It wasn't until 1996 that the young actor returned to the fold with a stunning and critically-acclaimed performance opposite Nicole Kidman in Gus Van Sant's TO DIE FOR. New York Times film critic Janet Maslin hailed the young talent as an actor to watch for. He next co-starred with Liv Tyler, Billy Crudup and Jennifer Connelly in INVENTING THE ABBOTTS in 1997. That same year, he co-starred opposite Claire Danes, Sean Penn and Jennifer Lopez in Oliver Stone's U-TURN.
In 1998, Phoenix co-starred opposite Vince Vaughn in two very different roles -- as an American jailed in Malaysia for possession of drugs belonging to accomplice Vaughn in RETURN TO PARADISE, and as a dupe to Vaughn's smooth-talking serial killer in the black comedy, CLAY PIGEONS.
Continuing his ascendant star track, Phoenix next won acclaim as a street smart adult bookstore clerk who helps detective Nicolas Cage search for the truth behind what appears to be a snuff film in Joel Schumacher's dark thriller, 8MM.
In 2000, a banner year for the actor, Phoenix starred in three very different films. He earned his first Academy Award nomination co-starring opposite Russell Crowe as the complex Commodus in Ridley Scott's Oscar-winning Best Picture, GLADIATOR. In addition to nominations for the Oscar, the Golden Globe and the British Academy (BAFTA) Award, he received awards as Best Supporting Actor from the National Board of Review and The Broadcast Films Critics Association.
He followed that up with Philip Kaufman's Oscar-nominated QUILLS opposite Kate Winslet and Geoffrey Rush in the film based on Douglas McGrath's play about the Marquis de Sade, for which he won the Broadcast Film Critics Award as Best Supporting Actor. That same year, he also starred opposite Mark Wahlberg, James Caan, Faye Dunaway, Ellen Burstyn and Charlize Theron in James Gray's THE YARDS.
Phoenix continued his busy career as Mel Gibson's brother in the M. Night Shyamalan blockbuster, SIGNS, which earned a half billion dollars worldwide. He reteamed with Shyamalan two years later on his gothic thriller THE VILLAGE, starring as a young member of an isolated 19th Century village whose desire to see the outside world threatens to break the community's pact with the mysterious creatures which live in the surrounding forest.
He provided the voice of Kenai in the animated Disney film BROTHER BEAR and followed with the romantic drama IT'S ALL ABOUT LOVE, reuniting with actress Danes in the story of two lovers and their attempts to save their relationship in a near-future world on the brink of cosmic collapse. He also starred in the dark comedy BUFFALO SOLDIERS opposite Ed Harris as a devious and clever American soldier stationed in Berlin, and took the lead in the firefighting drama LADDER 49 opposite John Travolta, playing a firefighter who reflects on his life, loves and career while awaiting rescue from a blaze. And, in 2004, the actor earned high praise for his turn as a cynical journalist witnessing the horrific genocide of the Tutsis in Terry George's HOTEL RWANDA.
In 2006, Joaquin Phoenix was hailed for his mesmerizing performance as legendary singer-songwriter Johnny Cash (opposite Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon) in James Mangold's riveting biopic, WALK THE LINE. For his performance, he collected his second Academy Award nomination (this time, as Best Actor) and won the Golden Globe as Best Actor in a Musical as well as nominations for BAFTA, SAG, BFCA and Chicago Film Critics Awards.
In October of 2007, Phoenix was in WE OWN THE NIGHT where he reteamed with Mark Wahlberg and director James Gray and Focus Features and reunited him with director Terry George and Jennifer Connelly in the deeply moving RESERVATION ROAD. He reteamed with director Gray for TWO LOVERS, co-starring opposite Gwyneth Paltrow and Isabella Rossellini.
On October 27, 2008, Phoenix reportedly announced his retirement from film in order to focus on his rap music, but the announcement turned out to be part of Phoenix's acting role in the film I'M STILL HERE, directed by his brother-in-law, actor Casey Affleck. The film debuted at the Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010 and was released in the summer of 2010 by Magnolia Pictures.
A social activist, Phoenix has lent his support to a number of charities and humanitarian organizations, notably Amnesty International, The Art of Elysium, HEART, The Peace Alliance (an organization which campaigns for a United States Department of Peace) and is on the board of directors for The Lunchbox Fund. Phoenix narrated the film EARTHLINGS FOR NATION EARTH, a video about the investigation of animal abuse in factory farms, pet mills, in industry and research. In 2005, he was awarded the Humanitarian Award at the San Diego Film Festival for his work and contribution to EARTHLINGS. In 2005 he lent his voice to the documentary, I'M STILL HERE: REAL DIARIES OF YOUNG PEOPLE WHO LIVED DURING THE HOLOCAUST.
Phoenix has also directed music videos for Ringside, She Wants Revenge, People in Planes, Arckid, Albert Hammond, Jr and the Silversun Pickups.
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Joaquin Phoenix Facts
|Joaquin Raphael Phoenix
|October 28, 1974 (49)
|San Juan, Puerto Rico
|5' 8" (1m73) How tall is Joaquin Phoenix compared to you?
|2006 Golden Globe Awards: Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy (for Walk the Line)
|We Own The Night
|Walk The Line