The Stand By Me actor died at 23 years old in 1993 outside The Viper Room

 

By

Ashley Boucher

May 22, 2019 12:47 AM

Leonardo DiCaprio was one of the last people in Hollywood to see River Phoenix alive.

Speaking about his new movie with Brad Pitt and Quentin Tarantino, 

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“I grew up revering River Phoenix as the great actor of my generation, and all I ever wanted was to have just an opportunity to shake his hand,” DiCaprio told

“And one night, at a party in Silver Lake, I saw him walk up a flight of stairs. It was almost like something you would see in

After Phoenix vanished in the crowd, DiCaprio didn’t give up on trying to meet the beloved actor.

“I walked back up the stairs and back down, and I was like, ‘Where did he go?’ And he was . . . on his way to The Viper Room,” DiCaprio explained. The

Realizing that he had seen his acting hero so close to his death shook DiCaprio.

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“It was almost as if — I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s this existential thing where I felt like . . . he disappeared in front of my very eyes, and the tragedy that I felt afterward of having lost this great influence for me and all of my friends,” the

To make the story even more full circle, DiCaprio said that he ended up flying to New Orleans “to meet about

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The film takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, and director Tarantino called it a “love letter” to the city in the interview with 

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