“Celebrity Rehab” Star Bob Forrest Chronicles River Phoenix’s Last Moments Before His Death
“Celebrity Rehab” star Bob Forrest talks about the last moments of River Phoenix’s life in his new memoir “Running With Monsters.” In the book he chronicles his days as a drug addict and musician on the Hollywood scene and he recalls the night of Phoenix’s death, writing that Phoenix had come up to him and told him he did not feel well and thought he was overdosing.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of River Phoenix’s death of a drug overdose in front of the Viper Room.
Forrest recants how he was at the Viper Room and had just finished watching a performance by budding musician Phoenix and Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante. He recalls that they all gathered in the Viper Room office.
“Somebody broke out the coke and passed it around. River was obviously wasted and was as unsteady as a boxer who had taken one too many head shots during a 15-round bout. His complete lack of motor skills made me think he was drunk. Heroin will make users lean when they stand still, but you almost never see them stumble and fall.”
Later Forrest recalls that Phoenix came up to him and tapped him on the shoulder and told him he wasn’t feeling well and that he thought he was od’ing. Forrest reassured him he wasn’t od’ing something he says he still feels guilty about till this day.
Shortly after, Phoenix’s girlfriend, actress Samantha Mathis started screaming outside the Viper Room on the sidewalk when River Phoenix started convulsing.
“He was alive, because his arms and legs shook like he was having an epileptic fit,” Forrest recalls in the book.
Later, Forrest and Butthole Surfers front man Gibby Haynes, ventured to Cedars Sinai hospital to check on Phoenix. Forrest writes that he saw Samantha Mathis standing alone and knew that River had died.
In his book he admits that his concern for Phoenix’s well-being at the time was tempered by his own sense of self-preservation. He was concerned that the publicity from the event could draw legal heat to himself and his peers.