Brad Renfro, a Hollywood actor best known for his roles in “The Client” and “Ghost World” and for his off-screen history of drug abuse, was found dead this morning, the Los Angeles Police Department said. He was 25.
Authorities said Renfro’s body was discovered in his Wilshire area home in the 1000 block of South Ogden Drive by his girlfriend. He was declared dead by paramedics at 9 a.m., said coroner’s spokesman Ed Winter.
Winter said the cause of death had yet to be determined.
“There is no suspicion of foul play,” LAPD Lt. David Evans said. Officials would not comment on whether drugs or drug paraphernalia were found in the home.
Renfro, a child actor from Tennessee, caught his first big break when he was cast opposite Susan Sarandon in “The Client,” the 1994 adaptation of the John Grisham novel. Renfro played a boy who is put in peril after he overhears a conversation about a murder.
The movie propelled him to a succession of other roles. In 1998, Renfro won the lead role opposite Ian McKellen in “Apt Pupil,” an adaptation of a Stephen King novella about a boy who suspects that his neighbor is a Nazi criminal. He also appeared with Scarlett Johansson and Steve Buscemi in 2001’s “Ghost World.”
Despite the promising start to his acting career, Renfro was perhaps best known for being in the wrong place at the wrong time when, just days before Christmas 2005, he was picked up by the LAPD during an undercover drug sweep of downtown’s Skid Row.
Unfortunately for Renfro, the LAPD — in an attempt to show what they were doing to improve Skid Row — had taken along a Times photographer and reporter that day. As a result, a photo showing Renfro being arrested by two police officers was featured prominently on the front page of the paper. At the time, he had numerous track marks on his arms.
Renfro told a detective arresting him that he was using heroin and methadone.
He ultimately went to a drug rehabilitation program and pleaded guilty to attempted possession of heroin. He was sentenced to three years’ probation.
Renfro’s former attorney Blair Berk said today: “Brad was a really gifted young man. It is a tragedy all the way around.”