January 23, 2008
The acclaimed actor, who had starred in Stand by Me and was Oscar-nominated for Running on Empty, died of a drug overdose on Halloween night 1993 at the age of 23. He was working on the independent thriller Dark Blood at the time of his death and had signed on to play the interviewer in Interview With a Vampire. That role was inherited by Christian Slater. Dark Blood, directed by George Sluizer, had just 11 more days of production when Phoenix died. It was never completed.