Actor Brad Renfro, 25, was found dead in his Los Angeles home Tuesday morning (January 15). Although the circumstances of his death are currently unknown, the former child star had been plagued for nearly a decade by drug abuse and run-ins with the law.
Renfro was best known for a skyrocketing career that began with a central role in the 1994 John Grisham legal thriller "The Client," a part he landed when he was 10 years old. In the years that followed, the Tennessee-born teen would continue to choose gritty, adult-oriented work in films like the Kevin Bacon drama "Telling Lies in America," the critically acclaimed AIDS tale "The Cure," and the high-wattage "Sleepers" (in which he played a young Brad Pitt).
As of Tuesday evening, the Los Angeles Times was reporting that although the cause of Renfro's death had yet to be determined, there was no suspicion of foul play.
"Brad was a really gifted young man," his former attorney Blair Berk reportedly said. "It is a tragedy all the way around."
According to the newspaper, Los Angeles Police Lieutenant David Evans would not comment on rumors of a drug overdose.
In 1995, he won the Hollywood Reporter's YoungStar award, was nominated as one of People magazine's "Top 30 Under 30," and won a Young Artist award for his role in "The Cure."
Although the only straightforward family flick Renfro made during his adolescent years was the modest Disney success "Tom and Huck," the actor found himself struggling with teen typecasting as the new millennium dawned. For all intents and purposes, his last mainstream starring role was in "Apt Pupil," director Bryan Singer's underperforming Nazi tale best remembered for a lawsuit involving child extras and a shower scene.
Renfro's troubles became public in 1998, when he was charged with possession of cocaine and marijuana but avoided jail time. In a bizarre incident just a few years later, he was charged with attempting to steal a yacht in Florida. Renfro's reported drug habit led to his getting picked up in a December 2005 sting operation on Los Angeles' Skid Row as the actor attempted to buy heroin from an undercover officer; he would soon enter rehab. Just one month prior, Renfro had been charged with driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license.
Career-wise, Renfro would never fully recover from his post-"Pupil" substance-abuse troubles. The actor spent the rest of his Hollywood days in forgotten films like "Deuces Wild" and "American Girl," or occasional supporting work in the Scarlett Johansson cult classic "Ghost World" and the Adrien Brody military flick "The Jacket."
One of Renfro's final acting appearances was in a recent episode of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." He had recently been filming "The Informers," co-starring Winona Ryder and based on the Bret Easton Ellis novel of the same name; how that film will address Renfro's passing is currently uncertain.
In the weeks to come, further details are expected to be revealed about Renfro's untimely death. Sadly, what is certain is his inclusion on a list of young Hollywood deaths.