On October 30, 1993, River Phoenix, his girlfriend and actor Samantha Mathis, along with his siblings Leaf (now known as Joaquin) and Rain, went to the Viper Room, an LA club owned by Johnny Depp. Just 45 minutes after they reached the venue, the news of Phoenix's death due to a drug overdose spread like wildfire and shook the world. Now, 25 years later, Mathis opens up about what went down that night.
In an interview with The Guardian, Mathis revealed that she had first assumed that they were there just to drop off Phoenix's siblings. "But when we arrived he said to me: 'Oh, there are some people playing music tonight in the club who want me to play with them – that’s OK, right?'" she said.
“I think if River was still here, I think he’d be acting, directing, saving the environment, just living and hanging out. Oh gosh, wouldn't that be nice?” - Samantha Mathis (Oct. 2018) pic.twitter.com/TlfbeX6LkG— The River Phoenix Gallery (@phoenixsgallery) October 25, 2018
"I knew something was wrong that night, something I didn’t understand," the 'American Psycho' actress revealed. "I didn’t see anyone doing drugs but he was high in a way that made me feel uncomfortable – I was in way over my head." She recalled saying, "Forty-five minutes later, he was dead."
Following the death of the actor, musician, and activist, Mathis unveiled that she had never spoken to anyone about it, except her therapist. She even revealed that for the first time she saw the last movie Phoenix had finished before he died of the drug overdose. The movie was 'The Thing Called Love'. Mathis had also starred in the movie.
She said that it felt like a sign. "The universe wanted me to talk about him." She then went on to say that when she came out the bathroom in the club, she saw Phoenix in a confused fight with another man and following that the two of them were pushed out of the club by a bouncer after which she saw Phoenix fall on the pavement.
"What have you done? What are you on?" Mathis said that she shouted at the other guy who replied saying, "Leave him alone, you’re spoiling his high." It was later found that Phoenix had died from an overdose of cocaine and heroin right before paramedics had arrived on scene.
Mathis recalls Phoenix being "sensitive and obsessive. He felt things on his heart very deeply."
"I’m looking at a photo of him now, oh wow …" Mathis said. “I think if River was still here, I think he’d be acting, directing, saving the environment, just living and hanging out. Oh gosh, wouldn’t that be nice?"