Actor Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator, Walk the Line) is the brother of the late actor River Phoenix (Stand By Me), who died suddenly of a drug overdose in 1993 at the age of 23, outside of Johnny Depp's club, The Viper Room. Their three sisters are Liberty Phoenix, Summer Phoenix, and Rain Phoenix. River made his first onscreen appearance singing on the TV show Fantasy with Rain. They also sang together as a warmup act on the show Real Kids in 1982. Rain and River were in the band "Aleka's Attic" together for six years, beginning in 1987. Rain sang backup vocals on "The Red Hot Chili Peppers" album Monster (2005), which was dedicated to River. Rain's band "Papercranes" released an album called Vidalia in 2006, for which sisters Summer and Liberty sang as guest musicians. Summer and Rain were members of new wave band "The Causey Way," which released three albums between 1997 and 2001, when they disbanded. Rain was introduced to producer Gus Van Sant by her brother River, who suggested that Van Sant cast her in 1993's Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. River appeared in the film as an uncredited "Pilgrim." Summer played younger sister to her real-life brother Joaquin in the 1987 movie Russkies. In 2006, Summer married actor Casey Affleck, younger brother of Ben Affleck. Summer and Liberty appeared together in the 1986 TV movie Kate's Secret. Liberty's first role was on an episode of her brother River's '80s TV series, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
In 2009, Joaquin demonstrated bizarre behavior on Late Night with David Letterman, saying he was giving up acting to start a career in rap. His strange behavior, and the beard that went with it, continued through the summer of 2010. But that September, Joaquin and his brother-in-law Casey Affleck admitted that it was all for a documentary-style film entitled I'm Still Here, about the disintegration of a celebrity.