How did River Phoenix die? Matthew Perry takes petty dig at Keanu Reeves who adored 'Stand By Me' star

How did River Phoenix die? Matthew Perry takes petty dig at Keanu Reeves who adored 'Stand By Me' star
Matthew Perry (C) trolled Keanu Reeves (R) while ostensibly praising the late River Phoenix (L) and Heath Ledger (Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: The most surprising revelations in Matthew Perry's new memoir, 'Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing', are two jabs against fellow-actor Keanu Reeves that appear to come out of nowhere.

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According to Variety, Perry twice questions, in the biography, why Reeves is still living while 'unique minds' like Chris Farley and River Phoenix are sadly no longer around. Needless to say, fans of Keanu Reeves also retaliated against Perry via social media posts.

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River Phoenix was one of the most adored actors of the early 1990s. Phoenix, who was well-known for both his acting prowess and attractive personality, appeared to be bound for stardom. Like countless Hollywood tales, however, heavy drug use and the wild Hollywood lifestyle took its toll and on October 31, 1993, the young actor passed away at the age of 23 from an overdose.

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Friends knew River Phoenix had a drug problem, but his tragic overdose still surprised many people. After all the actor looked to be approaching a tipping point. He allegedly remained sober for two months while filming 'Dark Blood' in Utah and New Mexico.

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Perry, in his memoir, writes: "River was a wonderful man, inside and out—too gorgeous for this world, it turned out. The guys that fall tend to invariably be the genuinely skilled ones. Why is it that the original thinkers like River Phoenix and Heath Ledger die, but Keanu Reeves still walks among us?" 

In an interview with Esquire in 2021, Reeves revealed his personal relationship with Phoenix. “It’s weird speaking about him in the past. I hate speaking about him in the past. So I almost always gotta keep it present.” The two met for the first time through actress Martha Plimpton. River and Martha were in a relationship at the time. They bonded on the set of Harrison Ford’s 'The Mosquito Coast' before co-starring in 'Running on Empty'. River went on to receive his only Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for the picture.

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Billy Baldwin rushed to Reeves' defense, tweeting, "In a world full of Matthew Perry’s… be a Keanu Reeves". YouTuber and filmmaker Thomas James Ridgewell, known online as TomSka, posted a cartoon image to express his thoughts on the matter. Another Twitter user wrote, "It's possible to wish that River Phoenix and Heath Ledger were still alive without wishing that Keanu Reeves wasn't ..."

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“He was a really special person, so original, unique, smart, talented, fiercely creative. Thoughtful. Brave. And funny. And dark. And light. It was great to have known him. To—yeah. Inspirational. Miss him,” said Reeves in his Esquire interview. It's a lovely tribute from Reeves who speaks movingly about love and loss and hints on the relationship the two shared.

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