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He first used it as a screen credit in his big comeback film To Die For.
In order to provide food and financial support for the family, the children performed on the streets and at various talent contests, singing and playing instruments.
The film turned out be a box office success, grossing million worldwide, In 2000, Phoenix co-starred in three films.
Three days after Joaquin's 19th birthday, Joaquín's older brother River suffered a fatal drug overdose on October 31, 1993.
Joaquín's call to 911 seeking help for his brother was repeatedly played on radio and television.
During his period as a child actor he was credited as Leaf Phoenix, his self-given name.
He later went back to his birth name, Joaquín, and received positive reviews for his supporting work in a wide range of films, most notably in the film adaptation of the novel To Die For (1995) and the period film Quills (2000).
During the comeback portion of his career, Phoenix went back to his given name Joaquín and was often cast in supporting roles as conflicted, insecure characters with a dark side.