Last Night at the Viper Room: River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind

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In Last Night at the Viper Room, acclaimed author and journalist Gavin Edwards vividly recounts the life and tragic death of acclaimed actor River Phoenix—a teen idol on the fast track to Hollywood royalty who died of a drug overdose in front of West Hollywood’s storied club, the Viper Room, at the age of 23.

Last Night at the Viper Room explores the young star’s life, including his childhood in Venezuela growing up under the aegis of the cultish Children of God. Putting him at the center of a new generation of leading men emerging in the early 1990s— including Johnny Depp, Keanu Reeves, Brad Pitt, Nicolas Cage, and Leonardo DiCaprio—Gavin Edwards traces the Academy Award nominee’s meteoric rise, couches him in an examination of the 1990s, and illuminates his lasting legacy on Hollywood and popular culture itself.

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For the Bill Murray fan in all of us, this epic collection of “Bill Murray stories”—many reported for the first time here—distills a set of guiding principles out of his extraordinary ability to infuse the everyday with surprise, absurdity, and wonder.

No one will ever believe you.

New York Times bestselling author Gavin Edwards, like the rest of us, has always been fascinated with Bill Murray—in particular the beloved actor’s adventures off-screen, which rival his filmography for sheer entertainment value. Edwards traveled to the places where Murray has lived, worked, and partied, in search of the most outrageous and hilarious Bill Murray stories from the past four decades, many of which have never before been reported. Bill once paid a child five dollars to ride his bike into a swimming pool. The star convinced Harvard’s JV women’s basketball team to play with him in a private game of hoops. Many of these surreal encounters ended with Bill whispering, “No one will ever believe you” into a stranger’s ear. But The Tao of Bill Murray is more than just a collection of wacky anecdotes. A sideways mix of comedy and philosophy, full of photo bombs, late-night party crashes, and movie-set antics, this is the perfect book for anyone who calls themselves a Bill Murray fan—which is to say, everyone.

Praise for The Tao of Bill Murray

“When confronted by life’s challenges and opportunities, we should all be asking ourselves, ‘What would Bill Murray do?’ This book actually has the answers.”—Jay Duplass, writer, director, actor, fan of Bill Murray

“[Gavin Edwards] captures Murray’s enigmatic, comic genius.”—The Washington Post

“Rib-tickling.”—Newsday

“If you are among the multitudes who have a Bill Murray story (viz: ‘I was in the airport bar, and who sat down next to me but Bill Murray?’), The Tao of Bill Murray will speak to you.”—Elle

“Murray is an endless delight, and his knack for bons mots and non sequiturs will keep readers laughing before revealing an unexpectedly poignant vision for happiness. . . . A fun and revealing look behind the charm and mythos of Bill Murray that will only strengthen his legend.”—Kirkus Reviews

“This book is bursting with anecdotes that underline Murray’s unconventional and fun-loving life. . . .  Murray’s fans are sure to savor [it] and walk away with a deeper appreciation of the actor and his work.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“I just can’t fathom how anyone could not like the man. He lives as much as possible by his own rules; this is a guy who doesn’t buy round-trip airline tickets because he prefers to make decisions on the fly. That old question of the three people you’d most like to have dinner with? I’d pick Bill Murray and leave the other two chairs empty just to see who he pulls over to join us. . . . You will love The Tao of Bill Murray. Period.”—GeekDad

“A hilarious read—occasionally heartwarming, sometimes head-scratching. . . . Sure to please Murray fans.”—Library Journal
4.3
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Additional Information

Publisher
Harper Collins
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Published on
Oct 22, 2013
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9780062273192
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Entertainment & Performing Arts
Performing Arts / Film / General
Social Science / Popular Culture
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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"Spares no details." —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"An incredible read." —Richard Donner, Director

"People always ask me about life after childhood stardom. What would I say to parents of children in the industry? My only advice, honestly, is to get these kids out of Hollywood and let them lead normal lives." —Corey Feldman

The New York Times Bestseller
A deeply personal and revealing Hollywood-survival story.

Lovable child star by age ten, international teen idol by fifteen, and to this day a perennial pop-culture staple, Corey Feldman has not only spent the entirety of his life in the spotlight, he's become just as famous for his off-screen exploits as for his roles in such classic films as Gremlins, The Goonies, and Stand by Me. He's been linked to a slew of Hollywood starlets (including Drew Barrymore, Vanessa Marcil, and adult entertainer Ginger Lynn), shared a highly publicized friendship with Michael Jackson, and with his frequent costar Corey Haim enjoyed immeasurable success as one half of the wildly popular duo "The Two Coreys," spawning seven films, a 1-900 number, and "Coreymania" in the process. What child of the eighties didn't have a Corey Feldman poster hanging in her bedroom, or a pile of Tiger Beats stashed in his closet?

Now, in this brave and moving memoir, Corey is revealing the truth about what his life was like behind the scenes: His is a past that included physical, drug, and sexual abuse, a dysfunctional family from which he was emancipated at age fifteen, three high-profile arrests for drug possession, a nine-month stint in rehab, and a long, slow crawl back to the top of the box office.

While Corey has managed to overcome the traps that ensnared so many other entertainers of his generation—he's still acting, is a touring musician, and is a proud father to his son, Zen—many of those closest to him haven't been so lucky. In the span of one year, he mourned the passing of seven friends and family members, including Corey Haim and Michael Jackson. In the wake of those tragedies, he's spoken publicly about the dark side of fame, lobbied for legislation affording greater protections for children in the entertainment industry, and lifted the lid off of what he calls Hollywood's biggest secret.

Coreyography is his surprising account of survival and redemption.

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