Arlyn Sharon Phoenix (born December 31, 1944; née Arlyn Sharon Dunetz), commonly known as Heart Phoenix, is an American social activist and mother of actors River, Rain, Joaquin, Liberty, and Summer Phoenix. She is on the Board of Directors of Peace Alliance, an organization which supports the creation of a United States Department of Peace. In 2012, she co-founded the non-profit organization River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding which provides and promotes the best practices and principles of peacebuilding and global sustainability.
Life and work
Born in Bronx, New York on December 31, 1944, Arlyn was raised with her two sisters, Rhoda and Merle (Sun). Her mother, Margaret's (née Lefkowitz) family was from Hungary, and her father Meyer's family was from Russia. All of her grandparents were Jewish immigrants. Although her family celebrated the Jewish culture and holidays, they did not attend synagogue. Once out of school, she married a computer programmer, moved to Manhattan, and began working as a secretary. Phoenix left New York in 1968 and moved to California where she met her future husband John Lee Bottom. They traveled together along the west coast, picking fruit and vegetables along the way, and their first son River was born in 1970.
Soon after their first daughter Rain was born in 1972, they joined the religious group, The Children of God and toured Mexico, Puerto Rico and South America as Christian missionaries for several years. It was during this time that their son and daughter Joaquin and Liberty (Libertad) were born. Arlyn and John renamed themselves for a brief period, taking the biblical names Jochebed and Amram, respectively. The couple eventually grew disillusioned with the Children of God and left in 1977. Arlyn would later state that she and her husband were opposed to the cult's increasingly distorted rules, particularly the practice of Flirty Fishing. They returned to the U.S. in late 1977 and lived in Winter Park, Florida where Arlyn gave birth to her youngest child, Summer. Around this time, they legally adopted the surname "Phoenix" (Arlyn later changed her name to "Heart" in 1988) and began to embrace veganism as their new diet and lifestyle. The parents took their five children and headed back to California, where Arlyn got a job as an executive secretary for NBC. She later hired an agent, Iris Burton who eventually got all of her children acting work. John and Arlyn divorced in 1997. She is now married to Jeffrey Weisberg.
Phoenix was the Executive Director of The Florida School of Traditional Midwifery for five years, one of ten accredited direct entry midwifery schools in the country. In 2012, she co-founded the non-profit organization River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding which provides and promotes the best practices and principles of peacebuilding and global sustainability.
- "Rain Phoenix's unusual childhood". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
- Pfefferman, Naomi (April 11, 2002). "The Days of Summer". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
- "Wasted: How on earth did River Phoenix, purest of all child stars, sensitive, clean-living and eco-friendly, end up dead from a drug overdose at the age of 23? The answer lies in a secret life that was shocking even by the notorious double standards of Hollywood". The Independent. 5 December 1993. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
- "Profile of Joaquin Phoenix". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
- "The book 'Last Night at the Viper Room' tells of River Phoenix's life before it was cut short at 22". New York Daily News. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
- "Board of Directors". The Florida School of Traditional Midwifery. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
- "River Phoenix center for peace is up and running". Ocala Star Banner. February 10, 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2014.