Summer Phoenix
Birth Date:
December 10, 1978
Birth Place:
Winter Park, Florida, USA
5' 7''
Famous for:
Her role as Jen Malmskog in 'The Laramie Project' (2002)
Actress, Musician
New York University's Tisch School of the Arts (graduated in 1998 with B.F.A. in film)
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Summer Phoenix
The Believer


Summer Phoenix is an American actress, model and musician. She received an Independent Spirit nomination for her scene stealing role as Ryan Gosling's lover in “The Believer” (2001) and a Prism nomination for her starring role in the TV film “Wasted” (2002). Other films she has appeared in include “Arresting Gena” (1997), “SLC Punk!” (1998), “Girl” (1998), “The Faculty” (1998), “Committed” (2000), “Esther Kahn” (2000) and “Suzie Gold” (2004).   

Phoenix is married to actor Casey Affleck. They have two sons, Indiana (born 2004) and Atticus (born 2008). She is a vegan and has actively supported several environmental and animal rights causes and charities, including PETA. In May 2003, Phoenix opened a recycled vintage clothing boutique on Manhattan's Lower East Side called Some Odd Rubies, with business partners Odessa Whitmire and Ruby Canner. The new store is located in Los Angeles.

Sum Sum Causey

Childhood and Family:

Summer Phoenix was born Summer Joy Bottom on December 10, 1978, in Winter Park, Florida, to parents Arlyn Sharon and John Lee Bottom. The final of five children, she has two brothers, Joaquin (Leaf) and the late River, and two sisters, Rain and Liberty. Her family moved to Los Angeles, California when she was two years old. As a young child, she auditioned for and appeared in several television pilots and shows. At age 9, her family moved to Orlando, Florida, where she continued to act. She moved to Central America five years later, but she did not decide to pursue acting seriously until she was 18 years old. She then moved to New York City and attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. However, she quit school before graduating to focus on her career.

On  December 25, 2003, Summer, whose nickname is Sum Sum Causey, was engaged to boyfriend Casey Affleck (born August 12, 1975), the younger brother of actor and director Ben Affleck. They had their first child, son Indiana August, on May 31, 2004. The couple married on June 3, 2006 in Savannah, Georgia, and welcomed their second son, Atticus Affleck,  on January 12, 2008.



Along with her siblings, Summer Phoenix began working as a child actor with agent Iris Burton when she was two years old. She made her early television appearance four years later in episodes of “Airwolf” (1984, as Little girl) and “Murder, She Wrote” (1984, as Cindy Donovan). In 1986, she played the role of Becky, the adoring daughter of Meredith Baxter Birney and Ben Masters, in the NBC television film “Kate's Secret,” directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman. In the following year, she broke into the big screen with the Rick Rosenthal directed drama “Russkies,” where she played the younger sister of real life brother Joaquin. Phoenix continue to have guest roles in “Growing Pains” (1987, as Jody), “ABC Weekend Specials' Runaway Ralph” (1998, as Lana) and “The New Leave It to Beaver” (1989, as Bettie Haskell).    

In 1990, Phoenix appeared as Lilly in an episode of “Swamp Thing” called “New Acquaintance,” but it was her last acting job before she eventually decided to pursue acting more  professionally. During her hiatus from acting, in 1995, she appeared in  the British rock band Catherine Wheel's music video “Eat My Dust, You Insensitive Fuck,” directed by Stephen Dorff. Soon after, she appeared in in a music video for the band Space Hog, helmed by Jake Scott.

Phoenix resumed acting in 1997 with a guest spot in the NBC hit medical drama series “ER,” where she portrayed Petra in the episode “Ambush.” She returned to feature films after a decade in Hannah Weyer's drama, “Arresting Gena” (1997), where she starred as Jane Freeman. The film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize in the Dramatic category at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival and the Grand Prix Asturias for Best Feature at the 1997 Gijón International Film Festival. She next had a small role as bartender#2 / girl at the beach in “I Woke Up Early the Day I Died” (1998), a camp comedy film written by Edward D. Wood, Jr., directed by Aris Iliopulos, and starring Billy Zane, Tippi Hedren, Ron Perlman, and Christina Ricci, co-starred in the drama film “Girl” (1998), opposite Dominique Swain, Christopher Masterson, Sean Patrick Flanery, Tara Reid and Selma Blair, portrayed Brandy in the independent comedy/dram  “SLC Punk!” (1998), starring Matthew Lillard and Michael A. Goorjian, and landed a featured in the horror/science fiction movie “The Faculty” (1998), starring Josh Hartnett, Elijah Wood, Shawn Hatosy, Jordana Brewster, Clea DuVall, Laura Harris, Robert Patrick, Bebe Neuwirth, Piper Laurie, Famke Janssen, Usher Raymond, Salma Hayek, and Jon Stewart. In Spring 1999, she modeled for designer Blumarine.

Entering the new millennium, Phoenix appeared with Heather Graham, Luke Wilson, Goran Visnjic and future husband Casey Affleck in Lisa Krueger's film, “Committed” (2000), which was nominated for the Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing - Music (Foreign & Domestic) and the Grand Jury Prize at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. She played the title role on  the French/UK film “Esther Kahn” (2000), the first English language film by the French director Arnaud Desplechin. It premiered at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival but was not distributed to the United States for two years until it played in New York City in 2002. Co-stars in the film included Ian Holm, Fabrice Desplechin, László Szabó and Frances Barber. Still in 2000, she portrayed the head waitress, Marti Wellington, on the independent film “Dinner Rush,” opposite Danny Aiello, Edoardo Ballerini, Vivian Wu and Kirk Acevedo.

In 2001, Phoenix was cast as Carla Moebius, the girlfriend of a neo-Nazi on “The Believer,”  drama film co-written (with Mark Jacobson) and directed by Henry Bean. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2001 and won the Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic there. The film aired on Showtime in March 2002 before its theatrical release in May 2002. For her bright acting in the film, Phoenix was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female.    

In 2002, Phoenix starred with Casey Affleck and Matt Damon in a production of Kenneth Lonergan's “This Is Our Youth” at the Garrick Theatre in the West End. The play ran for three months.    The same year, she also played Jen Malmskog in the drama film “The Laramie Project,” which was directed and written by Moisés Kaufman. The film premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and was first broadcast on HBO in March 2002. She was nominated for a Prism Award in the category of Performance in TV Movie or Miniseries for her performance as Samantha in the made for television film “Wasted” (2002), opposite Nick Stahl and Aaron Paul.

In 2004, Phoenix had the title character in the British comedy/drama film “Suzie Gold,” which marked the directorial debut of Richard Cantor. It was nominated for the Emden Film Award.

Apart from acting, Phoenix has showed an interest in music. Along with her sister Rain, she performed in the quasi-religious alternative band The Causey Way. There she played keyboard and occasionally sang back vocals. It was during her tenure with the now defunct band that she got her nickname “Sum Sum Causey.” Phoenix currently is a member of the alternative band The Paper Cranes, where she plays the Rhodes, piano and guitar. Her sister Rain is the lead vocalist of the band. The band plays mostly shows in Gainesville, Florida, and has released an EP.


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Summer Phoenix - Rebecca Lewis Photoshoot (2003)  x7uhq
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