John Lee Bottom was an American carpenter and philanthropist, best known as the father of the late actor River Phoenix. Despite his son’s fame, John Lee lived a relatively private life and was not often in the public eye. In this article, we will delve into the life of John Lee Bottom, including his early years, family, career, and legacy.
Early Life and Family
John Lee Bottom was born on May 23, 1947, in Metolius, Oregon. He was the son of Walter Bottom and Beulah Ernestine Ingram. John Lee grew up in a large family with six siblings, and his parents were devout members of the Children of God religious movement.
Meeting and Marrying Arlyn Dunetz
In the late 1960s, John Lee met Arlyn Dunetz, a young woman who had recently left her home in New York to join the Children of God. The two quickly fell in love and were married in 1969. They left the religious movement and moved to California, where they began their life together.
Career and Philanthropy
John Lee Bottom worked as a carpenter for most of his life, and he was known for his exceptional craftsmanship. He also had a passion for philanthropy and was involved in various charitable causes throughout his life.
The Phoenix Family Foundation
In 1997, John Lee and Arlyn founded the Phoenix Family Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting peace, tolerance, and environmental awareness. The foundation was named after their son River, who tragically passed away in 1993.
The Phoenix Family Foundation has supported numerous causes, including the Rainforest Action Network, EarthSave International, and the Children’s Health Fund. The foundation also provides grants to organizations that align with their mission and values.
Family Life and Children
John Lee and Arlyn had five children together: River, Rain, Joaquin, Liberty, and Summer. The family lived a nomadic lifestyle, traveling around South America and the United States while John Lee worked as a carpenter.
The Tragic Death of River Phoenix
In 1993, John Lee and Arlyn’s son River tragically passed away at the young age of 23. River was a rising star in Hollywood, known for his roles in films such as “Stand by Me” and “My Own Private Idaho.” He collapsed outside of a nightclub in Los Angeles and died of a drug overdose.
The death of River had a profound impact on the Bottom family, and they have since been vocal advocates for drug addiction and overdose prevention. In 1994, John Lee and Arlyn received the Environmental Media Award for their work in raising awareness about the dangers of drug abuse.
The Success of Joaquin Phoenix
Despite the tragedy of losing their son, John Lee and Arlyn’s youngest son, Joaquin, has gone on to have a successful acting career. Joaquin has starred in numerous critically acclaimed films, including “Gladiator,” “Walk the Line,” and “Joker,” for which he won an Academy Award.
Death and Legacy
John Lee Bottom passed away on September 30, 2018, at the age of 71. He was survived by his wife, Arlyn, and their four children. John Lee’s legacy lives on through his family and the Phoenix Family Foundation, which continues to make a positive impact on the world.
Remembering John Lee Bottom
John Lee Bottom may have lived a relatively private life, but his impact on the world was significant. He was a devoted husband, father, and philanthropist, and his legacy will continue to inspire others for years to come.
John Lee Bottom was a man of many talents and passions. From his exceptional carpentry skills to his dedication to philanthropy, he left a lasting impact on those around him. Despite the tragedy of losing his son, John Lee’s legacy lives on through his family and the Phoenix Family Foundation. He will always be remembered as a loving husband, father, and humanitarian.
For more information, visit: Lezeto Media