- 11:57 AM, Jun 24
In early 1980s, two small boys were singing and dancing on the streets of North Hollywood for the sake of a little money on the hand. Wearing Kmart shirts, they would happily sing The Beatles' songs with no slightest shame. People passed by and none of them knew then what they would become someday: the next big thing in Hollywood. Those kids were none other than the Phoenix brothers, River and Joaquin. Together they struggled through the hardship of life and career until they could taste fame and money a decade later. Unfortunately, in the late 1993 River died of overdose, leaving his younger brother to preserve their family name in Hollywood's showbiz. Joaquin made it true.
Born on October 28, 1974, Joaquin came from a unique family. Her Russian/Hungarian mother, Arlyn Dunetz left her first husband and headed for West Coast where she met John Lee Bottom who was an Irish/Spanish decent. They discovered that they shared mutual interest so they got married and traveled across the US. In 1970, they had their first child River Jude Bottom in Madras, Oregon before having the second son, Joaquin Raphael Bottom in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The other three children, Rain, Liberty and Summer were also each born in different cities. After Summer's birth in 1978, they changed their surname to Phoenix. Joaquin too, decided to change his first name to Leaf because he was irritated on how people kept mispronouncing his name. "I changed my name because no one in the States could pronounce 'Joaquin' and I used to get really embarrassed about it as a kid. All kids in my family had gorgeous names & I got 'Joaquin'. I said 'This is not good'. Even I can't say it." Thus, for the next eleven years he was credited as Leaf.
With five children under the care, John who was working as a carpenter couldn't provide much for his family. They were poor but hadn't lost the optimism. Seeing aptitude within their children, John and Arlyn encouraged them to join a local talent contest. Somehow, River and Joaquin's name traveled to actress and producer, Penny Marshall who then suggested that they came over to her studio if they happened to visit LA. With no further thought, the whole family moved to LA. Their luck there wasn't fast growing, but slowly their condition turned upside down. Arlyn got a job as