WEST HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — River Phoenix was remembered Thursday night, 20 years after the actor’s death outside a popular West Hollywood nightclub.
The 23-year-old, known for his roles in “Stand by Me,” “Running on Empty” and “My Own Private Idaho,” died of a drug overdose outside of the Viper Room, which was then owned by Johnny Depp, on Halloween night in 1993.
Fans marked the tragedy by placing candles, flowers and cards outside of the club.
“Solemn day for all of us in remembrance of what happened here,” said Brad Robinson, the Viper Room’s operations manager. “We try to honor him in everything we do.”
Phoenix was hanging out with other stars, including Depp and Christina Applegate, on the fateful night. It was inside the club where he suffered drug-induced convulsions.
“It was a very shocking thing. He was such a wonderful, uprising star…it was very sad,” said Robinson.
Robinson said up until recently, the club kept its doors closed on Halloween night.
“Part of our history, part of our heritage. It’s not the best thing that ever happened here, but it’s definitely something that happened here, so we honor that,” he said.
Phoenix earned two Oscar nominations.
Musician Buddy Princeton said the actor’s legacy lives on through his movies and the big-screen success of his brother, Joaquin Phoenix.
“Just what a waste it is. So much talent,” said Princeton. “He was the greatest. To see his life cut like that, after a brief night of fun….”