|Born||Brad Barron Renfro
July 25, 1982
Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S.
|Died||January 15, 2008 (aged 25)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Brad Barron Renfro (July 25, 1982 – January 15, 2008) was an American actor. He made his film debut in 1994 in the lead role of The Client. He acted in 21 films, several short films, and one television episode during his career. Much of his later career was marred by a pattern of substance abuse. He died January 15, 2008 from an overdose of heroin.
Brad Renfro was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, the son of Angela and Mark Renfro, who was a factory worker. He was raised from the age of five by his paternal grandmother, Joanne Barron Renfro, a church secretary.
Renfro was discovered by Mali Finn, a casting director for Joel Schumacher, when he was 10. His only previous acting experience had been as a dealer in an anti-drugs workshop school production. Cast by Finn for Schumacher's The Client, Renfro acted alongside Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones. Based on the bestselling John Grisham novel, it became one of the top-grossing films of 1994. In 1995, he won Hollywood Reporter's "Young Star" award, and was nominated as one of People's "Top 30 Under 30." That year, he played Huckleberry "Huck" Finn in 1995's Tom and Huck with Jonathan Taylor Thomas. He also won a second "Young Star" award, as well as the "Young Artist" award, for his performance in The Cure.
In 1998, he starred opposite Ian McKellen in Apt Pupil, directed by Bryan Singer. That same year, he played Leon S. Kennedy in a live-action preview of Resident Evil 2. Renfro went on to act in other films, including 2001's Ghost World and Bully, 2002's Confessions of an American Girl, and 2005's The Jacket. He also appeared in an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent and completed filming on the film The Informers, co-starring Mickey Rourke, Winona Ryder and Billy Bob Thornton.
Renfro was the cousin of Jesse Hasek, lead singer of the band 10 Years, and was featured in the first version of their video for the song "Wasteland". He fathered a son named Yamato Renfro, born in 2003. The boy lives in Japan with his mother.
In December 2005, he was arrested by LAPD officers during an undercover drug sweep of downtown's skid row and was charged with attempted possession of heroin. A photograph showing him in handcuffs made the front page of the Los Angeles Times. Renfro admitted to a detective that he was using heroin and methadone. In court, he pleaded guilty to the charges, and was sentenced to three years' probation. In 2006, he spent 10 days in jail for convictions of driving while under the influence and attempted heroin possession.
Renfro was found dead, at the age of 25, on January 15, 2008 in his Los Angeles apartment. On February 8, 2008, the Los Angeles County Coroner's office ruled that Renfro's death was accidental, attributing it to acute heroin/morphine intoxication. His body was returned to East Tennessee, where he was buried on January 22, 2008 north of Knoxville, at Red House Cemetery in the small community of Blaine. He was not included in the annual Academy Awards tribute to Hollywood figures who died in the past year.
Less than three weeks after his death, his grandmother Joanne – who had raised him and accompanied him regularly during his early acting career – died at her home at the age of 76. Local officials stated that she died of natural causes.
|1994||The Client||Mark Sway|
|1995||Tom and Huck||Huckleberry Finn|
|1996||Sleepers||Young Michael Sullivan|
|1997||Telling Lies in America||Karchy Jonas|
|1998||Apt Pupil||Todd Bowden|
|1999||2 Little, 2 Late||Jimmy Walsh|
|2000||Skipped Parts||Dothan Talbot|
|2001||The Theory of the Leisure Class||Billy|
|2002||American Girl||Jay Grubb|
|2003||The Job||Troy Riverside|
|Mummy an' the Armadillo||Wyatte|
|The Jacket||The Stranger|
|2006||10th and Wolf||Vincent|
|YoungStar Awards||1995||Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Drama Film||The Cure||1995||Won|
|Young Artist Award||1995||Young Artist Award for Best Performance by a Young Actor Starring in a Motion Picture||The Client||1994||Won|
|YoungStar Awards||1996||Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Comedy Film||Tom and Huck||1995||Nominated|
|Young Artist Award||1996||Young Artist Award for Best Young Leading Actor in a Feature Film||The Cure||1995||Won — Shared with Joseph Mazzello|
|YoungStar Awards||1997||Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Drama Film||Sleepers||1996||Nominated|
|Tokyo International Film Festival||1998||Best Actor Award||Apt Pupil||1998||Won|
|Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films||1999||Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor||Apt Pupil||1998||Nominated|
|Sedona International Film Festival||2004||Director's Choice Award for Most Spirited Rising Performer||—||—||Won|