Leonardo DiCaprio regrets failing to introduce himself to River Phoenix at a Halloween party - because just hours after their chance encounter the young actor lost his life outside a Los Angeles nightclub. DiCaprio was at the beginning of his Hollywood career when he spied his longtime hero Phoenix at a party on October 31, 1993.
The "Titanic" star, who was 18 at the time, was desperate to corner his idol for a chat but didn't have time to approach Phoenix before he left the party. And DiCaprio will always remember the missed opportunity, because 23-year-old Phoenix collapsed and died from a drug overdose outside the Viper Room just hours later.
He tells Esquire magazine, "When I was eighteen, River Phoenix was far and away my hero. Think of all those early great performances - 'My Own Private Idaho', 'Stand by Me'. I always wanted to meet him."
"One night, I was at this Halloween party, and he passed me. He was beyond pale - he looked white. Before I got a chance to say hello, he was gone, driving off to the Viper Room, where he fell over and died."