Joaquin Rafael Phoenix ( /hwɑːˈkiːn ˈfiːnɪks/; born October 28, 1974), formerly credited as Leaf Phoenix, is an American film actor. He was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and his family returned to the continental United States four years later. Phoenix is from a family of performers, including his older brother, the late River Phoenix.
Phoenix has ventured behind the camera, directing music videos as well as producing movies and television shows, and has recorded an album, the soundtrack to Walk the Line. He is also known for his work as a social activist, particularly as an advocate for animal rights. On October 27, 2008, he announced his retirement from film in order to focus on his rap music career. However, the announcement turned out to be part of Phoenix's acting role in a mockumentary directed by Casey Affleck, I'm Still Here.
Phoenix was born Joaquin Rafael Bottom in Río Piedras, located in the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico, to American parents. He is the third of five children, including River (1970–1993), Rain (1972), Liberty (1976), and Summer (1978). He also has a half-sister named Jodean (1964) from his father's first marriage. His father, John Lee Bottom, was a lapsed Catholic from Fontana, California. His mother, Arlyn (née Dunetz), was born in the Bronx, New York to Jewish parents whose families immigrated from Russia and Hungary. In 1968, Arlyn left her family and moved to California, later meeting Phoenix's father while hitch-hiking. They married in 1969, then later joined the religious cult the Children of God. They began travelling throughout South America.