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Leonardo DiCaprio Recalls Seeing River Phoenix On The Night He Died — 'I Looked Back And He Was Gone'

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May. 22 2019, Updated 5:25 p.m. ET

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Leonardo DiCaprio revealed that he was one of the last people to see actor River Phoenix alive way back in 1993. The Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood star made the shocking revelation in a new interview with his costar Brad Pitt and the film's director, Quentin Tarantino. Keep reading to learn more.

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The trio sat down with Esquire, dishing on their film and sharing stories about meeting several Hollywood legends. Leonardo, 44, spoke about one of the “most ominous and sad” experiences he’s had in his early years of his career.

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“I grew up revering River Phoenix as the great actor of my generation, and all I ever wanted was to have just an opportunity to shake his hand,” he started. “And one night, at a party in Silver Lake, I saw him walk up a flight of stairs. It was almost like something you would see in Vertigo, because I saw there was something in his face, and I’d never met him."

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Leo continued, "I always wanted to meet him, always wanted to just have an encounter with him — and he was walking toward me and I kind of froze. And then the crowd got in my way, and I looked back and he was gone.”

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“I walked back up the stairs and back down, and I was like, ‘Where did he go?’ And he was . . . on his way to The Viper Room,” he told the publication.

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“I walked back up the stairs and back down, and I was like, ‘Where did he go?’ And he was . . . on his way to The Viper Room,” he told the publication.

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The Stand By Me star tragically died due to a combined drug overdose on October 31, 1993, at the age of 23 in Los Angeles.

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The Wolf of Wall Street star added, "It was almost as if — I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s this existential thing where I felt like . . . he disappeared in front of my very eyes, and the tragedy that I felt afterward of having lost this great influence for me and all of my friends. The actor we all talked about. Just to be able to have that, always wanting to just—and I remember extending my hand out, and then . . . Two people came in front and then I looked back, and then he wasn’t there.”

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Leo and Brad also recalled the time they met Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood costar Luke Perry. They encountered the late Riverdale star on set. “We were like kids in the candy shop because I remember going to the studios and Beverly Hills, 90210 was going on and he was that icon of coolness for us as teenagers. It was this strange burst of excitement that I had, to be able to act with him," Brad said.

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What are your thoughts on what Leo had to say about River? Sound off in the comments below!

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