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Samantha Mathis speaks out about River's death

May 1 2006 at 7:47 PM
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Rain  (Login OoxRa1nxoO)

I found this article and found it moving in a way. It's an older article that was done with a few years after River's death, but, I still think its a good one, considering that Samantha no longer talks of his death EVER.

Enjoy everyone!

Why I Still Grieve For River
By Samantha Mathis

The Broken Arrow star talks for the first time about her feelings for River Phoenix, her lover at the time of his tragic death

Samantha Mathis followed her boyfriend River Phoenix as he staggered out of
a Hollywood nightclub and crouched on the cold pavement. She held his head
as he slipped into unconsciousness.

Actor River, just 23, never recovered. He died within an hour of being
taken to Cedars-Sinai Hospital, Los Angeles. Despite a supposedly
clean-living lifestyle, he died from a lethal drug overdose.

Since then, Samantha has remained silent about the harrowing events of that
fateful Halloween night of October 1993 and the effect it has had on her
life. She has simply got on with her acting career, with appearances in
films like Little Women, Jack and Sarah and The American President, while
keeping a low personal profile and steering clear of intterviews.

She is rarely seen out socialising and has never been back to The Viper
Rooms, the trendy nightclub owned by Johnny Depp on Sunset Boulevard where
River Phoenix was taken ill.

But at 25, as her film career takes another leap forward, with a major role
in Broken Arrow with John Travolta and Christian Slater, Samantha has at
last decided to talk about her memories of the night River died and the
emotions that rememberance provokes.

‘I certainly look back on the night he died as a nightmare,' she says
frankly. ‘It is a nightmare that will never end. He had gone to the club
simply to play his guitar and enjoy himself, but his life at the time
seemed under so much pressure.

‘He had a lot of work and it seemed to get to him. He took the problems of
the world on his shoulders and could not seem to shake off blacks moods of

‘But he never wanted to die. It was so far from his mind and, together, we
shared a loving, caring life. Sadly, there is a feeling among some people
in Hollywood that they are somehow invincible. Like them, River began to
think that nothing could touch him.

‘To a certain extent, his sudden illness and death that nigh will always be
surreal for me. I still can't believe it. I spent a year thinking about it
-- a terrible year, and the loss is one of those things which, even now, is
very hard to accept.'

Samantha sits, speaking calmly and clearly, in a suite at the Four Seasons
Hotel, Beverly Hills, just three miles from the site of that night's
dramatic events.

Her slight frame, with brown hair cut neatly to shoulder length, looks so
diffferent from her on-screen image in Broken Arrow. She plays action girl
Terry Carmichael, who befriends stealth bomber pilot Riley Hale (Christian
Slater) in his attemps to expose rogue pilot Vic Deakins (John Travolta).
We see her character shooting, fighting and scheming to beat Deakins, who
has stolen nuclear weapons in an attempt to blackmail the American

But Samantha's fighting in the last two years has been of an altogether
different kind. ‘River's death was a life changing experience for me,' she
says. ‘We all know that when anyone dies, it makes us look at life
diffferently. Seeing someone so young and loving and full of life crumble
and dies changed all my priorities. You know, it made me see what is really
important and what isn't. Ultimately, I have really had to learn to laugh
at life, too. Otherwise, it can all become too much.'

Samantha, who co-starred with River in The Thing Called Love in 1993, knew
that his performances in films like Stand by Me and My Own Private Idaho
had set him up to earn recognition as ‘the new James Dean'. Dean died in
1955 in a car crash after starring in just three films and is still
remembered as a tragic genius whose promise was never fulfilled. But of
River, who was set to star alongside Tom Cruise in Interview with the
Vampire, Samantha has more pragmatic memories.

‘He had time for every problem and every possibility,' she says, ‘but I
have learned to be much more selfish in my outlook. I am selfish about my
time and who I spend it with. I am also selfish about my work and which
films I choose to work on.

‘And if I don't want to do something, I never criticise myself for not
doing it. I take care of myself and my needs, because life is too short. I
do not do anything because I have to.'

Since River's death, Samantha has spent time backpacking with her friend,
actress Sandra Bullock -- who is now one of Hollywood's hottest actresses,
earning $5 million for her latest film, A Time to Kill -- and she has been
very cautious about starting a new romance.

‘Working as I do makes things complicated. I can leave town for four months
at a time, and it is impossible to keep a male friendship moving forward
with such long gaps. So I have decided to leave things alone.

‘I have recently started seeing someone a little, though,' Samantha admits,
showing signs that she is gradually getting over losing River. ‘He is from
New York. It is really very new and it's not anywhere near a relationship
yet. But it's a start.'

It's obvious that, although the words flow surprisingly freely for someone
who has chosen not to say anything on the subject until now, Samantha is
still bruised and fragile over River's sudden death.

‘I think of him every day,' she says simply. ‘It's strange to see him
through his films, still living and breathing. I put on the television at
the weekend and I Love You to Death was on, and there he was. I'm grateful
to be able to see him like that, but at the same time it is very odd and
I'm never quite sure how to explain my emotions.'

Broken Arrow offered her a valuable chance to forget the past. ‘I needed to
do an action film, where I could put my emotions to one side,' she
confesses. I enjoyed learning how to shoot a gun, and it was very
confidence-building to be able to pull off a few stunts. There was an
element of fear and exhilaration.

It also gave her an opportunity to work with 26-year-old Christian Slater
again, who was her co-star six years ago in Pump up the Volume and,
ironically, the man who replaced River on Interview with the Vampire.

‘It is hard to remember where I was at 19,' she says, rather sadly. ‘I have
had a ton of experience since then and gained more confidence -- at a
terrible price, of course.

‘I am pretty much at peace about River now. But it is still strange. I have
a feeling it always will be.'

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(Login Riverfanalways)

Re: Samantha Mathis speaks out about River's death

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May 7 2006, 1:26 PM 

WOW! I do remember reading about how she said it was a nightmare.. well i am sure of that!

She is so pretty. A natural beauty.

I feel awful for what happened that night to her!

OH in the movie the thing called love there is a scene where they are in the hospital and the dialog is very eerie! see it!

I do wish her all the best.

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