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Lost in Hollywood: The Fast Times and Short Life of River Phoenix Hardcover – February 27, 1995


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 303 pages
  • Publisher: Donald I. Fine, Inc.; 1ST edition (February 27, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556114265
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556114267
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,794,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

If the deluge of tabloid stories about River Phoenix's death from a drug overdose only whetted your appetite for dirty details about the actor's life, you'll find plenty of juice in Lost in Hollywood. Yet Glatt, the author of Rage and Roll: Bill Graham and the Selling of Rock, also tries to give this book a serious facade; it's replete with (amateur) psychoanalysis, references to Rimbaud, and a bibliography. He traces Phoenix's problems to his childhood (natch), which he spent in a Christian cult. Besides sending children out to beg, the group encouraged spouse swapping and preschool sex, Glatt reports. Disenchanted, the family finally left in 1978. Soon, however, River's mother came up with an unusual new plan to save the world: She would push her children into show business and use their visibility to preach the family's message. His mission determined, Phoenix quickly advanced from parts in commercials to film roles. But noble ulterior motives and his wholesome vegan image notwithstanding, Phoenix wasn't able to just say no. Although Glatt tries to pin the blame on rapacious hangers-on and the pressures of Hollywood, the case he makes is tenuous. If you, like, have a huge crush on River Phoenix, this is indeed titillating stuff, but ultimately the book doesn't rise far enough above its schlock-bio brethren.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Whenever a young media star dies, familiar observations are made and the usual demons--drugs, fame, sexual confusion, and parental abuse, misuse, or disuse--are exposed. In the case of River Phoenix, all such are rooted in reality. Raised in a religious cult, Phoenix had a childhood far from normal. According to Glatt, he was introduced to sex at age four and withheld from formal schooling, both apparently in accordance with cult beliefs. After a spell in South America, his parents hatched a plot to promulgate their religious views by having River become a Hollywood star. Soon the boy was the family breadwinner. Raised to believe he was on a holy mission to save the world, he grew up to be a serious, committed vegan who preached against drug and alcohol abuse. That he was also a dedicated partyer was remarked, but hey, that's the Hollywood lifestyle. Based on interviews covering every turn in Phoenix's curlicue lifepath, Glatt's book affords more revelation than is usually forthcoming after what unfortunately must be called a typical celebrity death-by-misadventure. Mike Tribby

More About the Author

John Glatt is an investigative journalist with more than thirty years experience. In the last fourteen years he has written 19 true crime books and 4 biographies. With more than a million books currently in print all over the world, Glatt is acknowledged to be one of the best true crime writers working today.

A native of London, England, Glatt left school at sixteen and worked in a variety of jobs - including tea boy and messenger - before joining a small weekly newspaper outside London, where he honed his keen news sense. Over the next few years he freelanced for many national English newspapers, including The Daily Express, The Sunday People, The Daily Mail and Woman Magazine.

In 1981 he moved to New York, working on staff for News Limited, as well as freelancing for Newsweek, Omni, the New York Post, the Australian, Modern Business and other newspapers and magazines worldwide.

His first book Rage & Roll: Bill Graham and the Selling of Rock, was published in 1993 to critical acclaim. Two years later he wrote Lost in Hollywood: The Fast Times and Short Life of River Phoenix, a well received biography on the tragic movie star. His next book, The Chieftains: An Authorized Biography, which was published in 1997, saw him nominated for a 2000 Grammy in the spoken word category. In 1998 wrote the well-received The Ruling House of Monaco: The Story of a Tragic Dynasty, uncovering many new revelations about the Grimaldis.

In 1998 he wrote his first true crime book, For I Have Sinned: True Stories of Clergy Who Kill. A year later he followed it up with Evil Twins, an anthology of twins that kill. And since then he has written a True Crime book a year for St. Martin's Press True Crime Library, establishing him as a master of the genre.

Over the years, Glatt has appeared on scores of television and radio programs all over the world, including Dateline NBC, Fox News, Discovery ID, BBC World, and A&E Biography.

He and his jewelry designer wife Gail divide their time between New York City, the Catskill Mountains and London.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
Any River Phoenix fan would be amazed at the River you didnt see when reading this book. It tells all the "what the media didnt tell you". From before being born tohisdeath,learn about friends, family, and the unfortunate life of River that brought it to end. As a River Phoenix fan still, I enjoyed every word. I highly recommend reading it!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amy (river_girl70@hotmail.com) on July 10, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Let's talk about the good stuff first. The book is in depth about River's life. The author did alot of research and wrote a pretty good book. The titles of the chapters kept me going, eventhough I already knew most of the information. The pictures inside were rare and candid, sortta. I found out some new info about River that I didn't know before, but I still have to find out if the book has the facts correct. Now the bad parts. There were huge basic mistakes in the book. First they kept spelling Joaquin Phoenix's name wrong. In the beginning it was Yoaquin, then Toaquin. Second, they left out River's 2nd sister Liberty, she was born July 5, 1976. The do mention her later, but many times they leave her out. There are more mistakes throughout the book, but I'm not going to bother with them....Enjoy the reading P.S. Since this book is out of print, you might want to look for another edition titled: River Phoenix The Biography, it's the same book (by the same author), but with a different title.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 6, 1997
Format: Paperback
As a description of the chonology of River Phoenix's life and work, Glatt's work excels. So many of the questions which plagued those of us who followed Phoenix's work with interest are answered here, plainly and with little glitz. River's birth, life, and sad death are conveyed journalistically through summaries of interviews with those in the Phoenix "inner-circle," summaries of articles by other authors, and through Glatt's unadorned narrative. As a River Phoenix fan I suppose I expected a little more passion from this book, possibly something mirroring the actor's own passion and zest for sensation. Ultimately, it gave me the information I sought, and it did cause the memories and emotions following the actor's death to resurface. I wept, though I would not expect any but the most devoted fans to react similarly. I am grateful to Glatt for passing on this story with an objective and truthful spirit. The media's shredding of River's legacy was unfair and unjust. Glatt has removed some of the tarnish from River's name and through this biography reminds us all what a prodigious talent this young actor shared through his films. This book has made me once again mourn the passing of this human being for whom stardom led not to the answer of dreams and wishes but to the reality of his greatest fears
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By babyphoenix on September 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a die-hard fan of River Phoenix but when I read the first three pages of the prologue I didn't know if I could trust everything that John Glatt had to say. Yes he had interviewed 60 + people for the book but only one of them was a Phoenix family member (River's grandmother). In the author's note it specifically says that he had tried to contact River's parents for an interview which they had declined. He than bashes them in the first couple of paragraphs of the prologue, accusing them of being drug addicts and bringing their children to Hollywood to gain fame and fortune. The book also misspells Joaquin's name more than once, spelling it Yoaquin and than Toaquin. Glatt also fails to mention Liberty Phoenix, River's younger sister. There are plenty of things wrong with this biography but it does emit some interesting facts about the people who surrounded River and events in his life. A note to Phoenix fans: Read the book, but don't take Glatt too seriously. I found that sometimes his writing was overwhelmingly snide and sarcastic.
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Someone in a chat room I frequent recommended this book, and I am so glad she did! I'm ashamed to say, but I liked it so much that I read the whole thing in about 6 hours. I learned some things I didn't know about River before. I definitely recommend it to fans of River Phoenix.
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