John Lee Bottom: Wiki, Age, Bio, and Net Worth

John Lee Bottom was an American social activist and philanthropist, best known as the father of famous actors River Phoenix and Joaquin Phoenix. He was born on April 5, 1947, in California, United States. He married Arlyn Dunetz in September 1969, and the couple had five children, including River and Joaquin.

John Lee Bottom and his wife Arlyn were part of a religious group called The Children of God, a Christian missionary organization, for several years. They traveled together along the West Coast, picking fruit and vegetables along the way. It was during this time that their first son, River, was born in 1970. John and Arlyn continued to raise their family in the Children of God community, but eventually left the group in the late 1970s.

Despite his association with the Children of God, John Lee Bottom was known for his activism and philanthropy. He was a supporter of various causes, including animal rights and environmentalism. John Lee Bottom passed away in 2015 at the age of 68, leaving behind a legacy that includes his famous sons and his work as an activist and philanthropist.

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Early Life of John Lee Bottom

John Lee Bottom was born on April 5, 1947, in California, United States. He was the son of Robert Merrill Bottom and Beulah Ernestine Ingram. John was the eldest of five children and had to assist with his sibling’s upbringing from an early age.

Family Background of John Lee Bottom

Robert Merrill Bottom, John’s father, was a carpenter by profession. He was born on September 15, 1917, in Missouri, United States. Beulah Ernestine Ingram, John’s mother, was born on November 12, 1918, in Arkansas, United States.

John’s parents moved to California in the 1940s, where they settled in Fontana. Robert worked as a carpenter in the construction industry, while Beulah took care of their children.

Childhood Years

John Lee Bottom spent most of his childhood in Fontana, California. He attended local schools and was an average student. John was interested in music and played the guitar. He also enjoyed spending time outdoors and was fascinated by nature.

John’s parents taught him the value of hard work and perseverance. From an early age, John had to help his father with his carpentry work. He also helped his mother with household chores and taking care of his younger siblings.

Overall, John Lee Bottom had a humble and happy childhood. His parents’ teachings and values would shape his life and guide him in his future endeavors.

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Career Beginning of John Lee Bottom

John Lee Bottom was an American social activist and philanthropist. He was born on April 5, 1947, in California, United States. John Lee Bottom’s career began in the 1960s when he left the United States to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam War. He moved to Canada where he met Arlyn Sharon Dunetz, who later became his wife.

Initial Roles

John Lee Bottom started his career as a missionary, traveling extensively with his wife and adopting new names for their evangelism work. They belonged to the Christian missionary group “The Children of God” for a considerable amount of time. During this time, John Lee Bottom worked as a carpenter and a painter to support his family.

Rise to Prominence

John Lee Bottom’s rise to prominence began when he moved his family to California in the 1970s. He continued his work as a carpenter and painter while also becoming involved in social activism. He was a member of the Rainbow Family, a counterculture group that promoted peace, love, and environmentalism.

John Lee Bottom also became involved in philanthropy, donating money to various causes and organizations. He was particularly interested in environmental causes and was a supporter of the Rainforest Action Network.

In summary, John Lee Bottom began his career as a missionary and carpenter and later became a prominent social activist and philanthropist. His work in social activism and philanthropy would continue throughout his life and leave a lasting impact on those around him.

Personal Life of John Lee Bottom

John Lee Bottom was an American social activist and philanthropist. He was born on April 5, 1947, in California, United States. John had an unhappy childhood and dropped out of high school. He married Arlyn Phoenix in 1969, and the couple had five children together.


John Lee Bottom’s marriage to Arlyn Phoenix ended in divorce in 1997 after 28 years of marriage. He had a daughter named Rain Phoenix and three sons named Joaquin Phoenix, River Phoenix, and Liberty Phoenix. His son River Phoenix passed away in 1993 at the age of 23 due to a drug overdose, which had a significant impact on the family.

Interests and Hobbies

John Lee Bottom was known for his activism and philanthropy work. He was a member of the Children of God religious group, and he and his wife Arlyn traveled as missionaries to Mexico, South America, and other areas of the United States, preaching the message of ‘The Children of God.’ They left the group in 1978 and moved to California, where they joined the Peace and Love movement.

John Lee Bottom was also interested in music and played the guitar. He encouraged his children to pursue their musical talents and supported them in their careers. His sons Joaquin and River Phoenix were both successful actors, and his daughter Rain Phoenix is a musician and actress.

Overall, John Lee Bottom lived a life dedicated to social activism and supporting his family’s artistic pursuits.

Legacy of John Lee Bottom

John Lee Bottom was a notable social activist and philanthropist who left behind a lasting legacy. His influence on his children, who went on to become successful actors in their own right, is well-documented. However, his impact on the acting industry itself is often overlooked.

Influence on Acting

John Lee Bottom’s passion for social justice was a driving force in his life, but it also had a profound impact on his family. His children, River and Joaquin, were both inspired by their father’s activism and were deeply committed to using their platform to raise awareness about important issues.

Joaquin Phoenix, in particular, has been vocal about his father’s influence on his acting career. In an interview with The New York Times, he said, “My dad was a big inspiration for me. He was always talking about social justice and the importance of using your voice to make a difference.”

Memorable Performances

While John Lee Bottom himself was not an actor, his legacy lives on through the memorable performances of his children. River Phoenix, who tragically passed away at the age of 23, is remembered for his powerful performances in films like “Stand By Me” and “My Own Private Idaho.”

Joaquin Phoenix, on the other hand, has become one of the most respected actors of his generation. His performances in films like “Gladiator,” “Walk the Line,” and “Joker” have earned him critical acclaim and numerous awards.

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In conclusion, John Lee Bottom’s legacy is a testament to the power of activism and the importance of using one’s voice to make a difference. His influence on his children and the acting industry as a whole will be felt for generations to come.

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