Los Angeles: Actor Leonardo DiCaprio was one of the last people in Hollywood to see actor River Phoenix alive.
Speaking about his new movie with actor Brad Pitt and filmmaker Quentin Tarantino "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood", DiCaprio shared one of the "most ominous and sad" experiences he has had in the entertainment industry, reports people.com.
"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," DiCaprio told Esquire magazine.
"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 - 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."
After Phoenix vanished in the crowd, DiCaprio didn't give up on trying to meet the actor.
"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," DiCaprio explained.
"The Stand By Me" actor died from a drug overdose at 23 years of age in October 1993 outside the iconic Los Angeles landmark.
Realising that he had seen his acting hero so close to his death shook DiCaprio.
"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 afterwards of having lost this great influence for me and all of my friends," he continued.
"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."