Phoenix was born as River Jude Bottom, on August 23, 1970 in Madras, Oregon, the first child of Arlyn Sharon Dunetz and John Lee Bottom.
His mother was born in The Bronx, New York, to Jewish parents whose families had emigrated from Russia and Hungary. His father was a lapsed Catholic from Fontana, California. In 1968, Phoenix’s mother left her family in New York City and travelled across the United States, meeting John Lee Bottom while hitchhiking in northern California.
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