Celebrity News
Brad Renfro Dead at 25
By Staff
Jan 20, 2008 - 11:45:50 AM

MELROSE—Brad Renfro (25) was found dead in his Los Angeles apartment on January 15, 2008.  According to media reports, he was at a party in the Hollywood Hills the previous evening when he called his girlfriend for a ride home.  His girlfriend, Natanya Ross, is also an actor and is famous for playing Robyn Russo in the television series The Secret World of Alex Mack. Ross had received the call at work, an Italian restaurant in Sherman Oaks.  Sources say he was ill and Ross agreed to take care of him.  They both went to bed believing Renfro was well.  When Ross woke up the next morning her boyfriend was unconscious. Ross called authorities around 8:45 AM, and Renfro was pronounced dead at 9:00 AM.

He was 11 years old when he debuted in the 1994 film The Client.  Brad acted in 24 movies including Sleepers, Ghost World, Deuces Wild, and he just finished working on The Informers. His additional Hollywood credits include guest starring in several television sitcoms.  According to his bio, in 1995 he won Hollywood Reporter's "Young Star" award, and was nominated as one of People Magazine's "Top 30 under 30."  In 2000 Brad wrote a short film titled Meter Man that won the Tennessee Independent Spirit Award honorable mention.

However, like many young Hollywood actors Brad struggled with substance abuse.  In 2006, he spent 10 days in jail for driving under the influence and attempted heroin possession.  Brad had previously been arrested in 2005 for trying to buy heroin from an undercover policeman during a sting operation on skid row.  He plead guilty to the charges; therefore, he was sentenced to three years of probation and sent to a rehab center in order to complete a court-ordered detox program.  In 2002, he was charged with public intoxication and driving without a license. 

Although there is a history of heavy substance abuse the cause of death has not been determined.  An autopsy is planned, but confirmation for the cause of death will not be known until toxicology tests are revealed in about six weeks. 

Friends and fans of Renfro have posted testimonials on his MySpace page, and actor Ian McKellen has written a blog dedicated to the actor.  McKellen writes: "Off the set he played football, played his guitar and one magical evening I shall never forget, invited me to his home in the Hollywood Hills.  We chatted a bit about acting and his dreams to direct films, to write music and to return to Tennessee.  When he heard a dog barking wildly across the valley, he mimicked the animal and the dog replied; a kid at play but capable of growing into someone special."

Brad was an only child born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee.  He is survived by his father and mother.

Brad Renfro starring in The Client.

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