- Publish Date
- Wednesday, 11 September 2019, 8:41AM
Joaquin Phoenix will always be "indebted" to his late brother River Phoenix.
The 'Joker' star recalled how his older sibling - who died from an overdose in October 1993 - urged him to start acting again when he was a teenager and he'll always be thankful for that push.
In an emotional speech at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Tribute Gala - where he was presented with the TIFF Tribute Actor Award - on Monday (09.09.19), he said: "When I was 15 or 16 my brother River came home from work and he had a VHS copy of a movie called 'Raging Bull' and he sat me down and made me watch it. And the next day he woke me up, and he made me watch it again.
"And he said, 'You're going to start acting again, this is what you're going to do.'
"He didn't ask me, he told me. And I am indebted to him for that because acting has given me such an incredible life."
The 44-year-old actor also praised the rest of his family for having such a "profound influence" on him.
He said: "I feel overwhelmed with emotion, because I'm just thinking about all the people that had such a profound influence on me.
"When I was watching those clips, I thought about my family. My sisters Rain and Liberty and Summer, who are still my bests friends."
He went on to praise his father for instilling a strong work ethic within him and his mother for being a "constant source of inspiration".
He added: "Everything I do is for her."
Joaquin ended his speech with an apparent reference to his girlfriend, 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' star Rooney Mara.
He said: "One last thing -- somewhere here, I don't know where, is a filthy dragon, and I want to rip its wings off and fasten a blanket and sleep with it forever. I love you. Thank you."
This article was first published on BANG Showbiz and is republished here with permission.