Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara name their baby son River

River Phoenix, Joaquin Phoenix’s brother, died aged 23 of a drug overdose in 1993

Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix have reportedly welcomed a baby boy named River, named after Phoenix’s late older brother, actor River Phoenix. This is the first child for the couple. Photograph: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Joaquin Phoenix, who won an Oscar this year for his role in the film Joker, has reportedly welcomed his first child with fiancee Rooney Mara. They named the baby boy after Phoenix's late brother, River, who died in 1993.

The director Victor Kossakovsky revealed the news at the 2020 Zurich film festival after a screening of the black-and-white documentary Gunda. Joaquin was an executive producer on the film.

Asking about Phoenix’s involvement in the film, Kossakovsky said: “He just got a baby by the way … A beautiful son called River.”

Clockwise, from top left: Marie Cassidy, Samantha Barry, Eileen Flynn, Caitlin Moran and Claire Byrne are guests on the second season of The Big Night In

River Phoenix, the star of films such as Stand By Me and My Own Private Idaho, died of an accidental drug overdose aged 23.


Speaking recently to Anderson Cooper on the TV programme 60 Minutes, Joaquin Phoenix reflected on his bond with his brother and how media attention after his death affected their family.“River was a really substantial actor and movie star, and we didn’t really know it,” he said. “So during that time in which you’re most vulnerable, there are helicopters flying over. There are people that are trying to sneak on to your land. Certainly, for me, it felt like it impeded on the mourning process.”

Actor River Phoenix, 1970- 1993, 1991. Photograph: Nancy R Schiff/Getty Images

Phoenix and Mara co-starred in the films Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot and Mary Magdalene. They are prominent campaigners for animal rights, with Phoenix devoting much of his awards acceptance speeches to advocating for a vegan lifestyle.

Two days after his Oscar win, Phoenix rescued a cow and a calf from an abbatoir. In July, a hostage siege in Ukraine ended after the president ceded to kidnappers’ demands to urge people to watch Earthlings, a 2005 eco-themed film narrated by Phoenix. - Guardian