Leonardo DiCaprio says he saw River Phoenix on the night he died: 'He disappeared in front of my very eyes'
Leonardo DiCaprio was reportedly one of the last people in Hollywood to see River Phoenix alive.
While discussing his upcoming movie starring Brad Pitt and directed by Quentin Tarantino, 'Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood', the 44-year-old star shared one of the "most ominous and sad" experiences he’s had in the entertainment industry.
“I grew up revering River Phoenix as the great actor of my generation, and all I ever wanted was to have just an opportunity to shake his hand,” DiCaprio told Esquire magazine.
"And one night, at a party in Silver Lake, I saw him walk up a flight of stairs. It was almost like something you would see in 'Vertigo', because I saw there was something in his face, and I’d never met him — always wanted to meet him, always wanted to just have an encounter with him — and he was walking toward me and I kind of froze. And then the crowd got in my way, and I looked back and he was gone," he added.
DiCaprio then looked for Phoenix in the crowded place.
"I walked back up the stairs and back down, and I was like, ‘Where did he go?’ And he was on his way to The Viper Room," he explained.
That was the last time DiCaprio saw 'The Stand By Me' actor, who died from a drug overdose at 23-years-old in October of 1993.
"It was almost as if — I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s this existential thing where I felt like . . . he disappeared in front of my very eyes, and the tragedy that I felt afterward of having lost this great influence for me and all of my friends," the Oscar-winning star added.
"The actor we all talked about. Just to be able to have that, always wanting to just—and I remember extending my hand out, and then . . . Two people came in front and then I looked back, and then he wasn’t there," he sighed.
'Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood' has already garnered critical praise since its premiere at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival this month and will hit theaters on July 26.