Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix was one of the most respected actors of his age. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1974 to parents from the mainland U.S., Phoenix spent much of his early childhood traveling with his family through South America as missionaries for the religious cult Children of God. By the time he was eight, Phoenix's family had left the church and relocated to Los Angeles, where Phoenix's parents began entering him and his four siblings in various talent contests in an effort to earn money for the family. They were eventually signed to an agent, with Joaquin making his screen debut alongside his brother River on a 1983 episode of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (CBS, 1982-83). Phoenix would continue to act on screen from that point forward, memorably appearing in movies like "SpaceCamp" (1986) and "Parenthood" (1989). Then tragically in 1993, Phoenix was at a Los Angeles club with friends and a number of his siblings when his brother, actor River Phoenix, collapsed and later died of a drug overdose. Phoenix withdrew from the spotlight in order to process his grief, eventually emerging in 1995 to star opposite Nicole Kidman as a confused youth in Gus Van Sant's subversive drama "To Die For" (1995). The character's dark side would set a precedent for Phoenix's future roles as he continued to play unnerving and otherwise troubled characters for years to come. He earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as the villainous Commodus in "Gladiator" (2000) and established a solid professional relationship with director M. Night Shyamalan with roles in both "Signs" (2002) and "The Village" (2004). In 2005, Phoenix earned an Oscar nod for Best Actor when he played musical legend Johnny Cash in the acclaimed biopic "Walk the Line" (2005). He was nominated for still another Oscar in 2012 for his performance as the unstable Freddie Quell in Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" (2012), and earned a Golden Globe nod for his performance in "Her" (2013) as a man in love with a sentient computer operating system. In 2014, Phoenix worked with Anderson again, this time starring in "Inherent Vice" (2014), earning him another Golden Globe nod. He worked with Van Sant for a second time in 2018, playing paraplegic John Callahan in "Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot" (2018) before making a huge impact in 2019, playing a majorly updated version of D.C. villain the Joker in "Joker" (2019).