Summary of “Hollywood Wanted An Edgy Child Actor. When He Spiraled, They Couldn’t Help.”

It had been years since Renfro had delivered a performance that caught the public’s attention, and at the time, he was treated as yet another addition to the mournful legacy of former child stars – Dana Plato, River Phoenix, Judy Garland – whose lives collapsed from Hollywood darling to death by overdose.
Renfro became an overnight star because he was a rowdy kid with natural talent who stood apart from more seasoned child actors.
10 years after Renfro’s death, interviews with Renfro’s former colleagues make plain that the mechanisms in place to protect child actors – mechanisms compromised by conflicts of interest and a dependence on parents and guardians – were scarcely capable of protecting kids like Renfro, and largely remain so today.
Renfro’s parents divorced when he was 5; his mother remarried and moved to Michigan, and Renfro’s paternal grandmother, Joanne Renfro, became the primary caregiver for an increasingly wayward child.
None of the adults who worked with Renfro as a child who spoke with BuzzFeed News said they suspected Renfro might be addicted to a drug like heroin.
With no boundaries off the set, Renfro kept getting pushed past perceived limits for child actors on the set, as well.
Instead, throughout the ’90s and Renfro’s early adolescence, Hollywood kept courting the child actor, trading on his name and fandom.
If the parent or guardian is checked out, and their child’s darker facets are what keeps them employed, it’s not in any way surprising that an actor like Renfro would slip through a system so ill-equipped to save him anyway.

The orginal article.