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What Happened To The Cast Of The Client?

As the third novel from acclaimed author John Grisham to be adapted as a feature film, 1994's "The Client" had a lot to live up to. "The Firm," which came out a year prior, was met with much acclaim and praise for its ensemble cast — including the likes of Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Gene Hackman, Holly Hunter, and Ed Harris, among others  — and tells the tale of the dark side of a prestigious law firm. It enjoys a 75% critics score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and is Certified Fresh. Released later in 1993, "The Pelican Brief" — starring Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, and Sam Shepard — was another legal thriller about a law student whose theory on the assassinations of two Supreme Court justices turns out to be true. It didn't receive as good of reviews as "The Firm" but was still well liked by audiences.

"The Client" tells the tale of a young boy named Mark Sway (Brad Renfro) who, along with his younger brother Ricky (David Speck), witness the death of a mob attorney at his own hands, as a means of avoiding being murdered by a thug named Barry "The Blade" Muldano (Anthony LaPaglia). Mark needs protection from both the mob and the overzealous U.S. Attorney "Reverend" Roy Foltrigg (Tommy Lee Jones), who's trying to get information out of Mark that he believes the late lawyer may have told him. His aid comes in the form of lawyer Regina "Reggie" Love (Susan Sarandon), who takes Mark on as a client; "The Client" that is.

"The Client" was well received and boasts a 78% Critics Score on Rotten Tomatoes, second only to "The Rainmaker" in terms of the critical success of John Grisham adaptations. Members of the film's cast have gone on to enjoy long and successful careers, though one was cut short by tragedy. Here's what happened to the cast of "The Client."

Susan Sarandon played Reggie Love

Veteran actor Susan Sarandon took on the role of Reggie Love, a caring attorney and recovering alcoholic who's not afraid to fight hard for her client and give "Reverend Roy" a piece of her mind. Her performance in "The Client" drew wide praise and nabbed Sarandon the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role; she was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role for her turn as Reggie.

In 1994, Sarandon also appeared in the critically acclaimed adaptation of "Little Women" in the role of Abigail March, mother to the four March sisters that the novel of the same name follows. The following year, she captured the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as Sister Helen Prejean, a nun who becomes the spiritual advisor of death row inmate Matthew Poncelet (Sean Penn) in "Dead Man Walking." Sarandon tugged on many a heartstring and was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in "Stepmom" as terminally ill mother Jackie Harrison, who begrudgingly bonds with her children's stepmother, Isabel (Julia Roberts).

As Sarandon's daughter Eva Amurri Martino came of age, the two have appeared in more and more films together, including "Anywhere but Here" in 1999 and "The Banger Sisters" in 2002. Sarandon and Martino appeared as mother-daughter duo Rhonda and Grace Berry in 2008's indie dramedy "Middle of Nowhere," and even played different versions of the same character in the Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg comedy "That's My Boy" in 2012. In 2017, she played Isis Dunkler, mother to Carla (Kathryn Hahn) in "A Bad Moms Christmas" and recently appeared as Honey, the late mother to Leif (Jake Johnson) in "Ride the Eagle."

Brad Renfro played Mark Sway

Actor Brad Renfro's role as Mark Sway in "The Client" was his first feature film appearance and became his breakthrough performance. A year later, in 1995, he starred with young "Home Improvement" actor Jonathan Taylor Thomas in "Tom and Huck," appearing as Huckleberry Finn in the comedy based on Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." In 1996, Renfro returned to dramatic fare, appearing as the young Michael Sullivan — one of four friends who, as juvenile delinquents, are sexually abused by the guards at a boys home — in the dark crime drama "Sleepers." He took on the role of Nazi-obsessed high school student Todd Bowden, who recognizes fugitive SS war criminal Kurt Dussander (Ian McKellen) in suburban America and blackmails him into indulging his dark interests in the Holocaust in 1998's "Apt Pupil." 

In 2000, Renfro branched out and wrote the short film "Meter Man," in addition to starring in it. For 2001's "Bully," he starred and served as associate producer as well. He served as the deuteragonist — appearing with an ensemble cast that included Stephen Dorff, Matt Dillon, Fairuza Balk, Norman Reedus, Johnny Knoxville, Frankie Muniz, and Drea de Matteo — for the critically panned period crime drama "Deuces Wild."

Renfro's final film appearance came as a hotel doorman named Jack who's caught up in kidnapping plot in 2008's "The Informers." He died on January 15, 2008, as reported by People. A subsequent article from People indicated that the coroner concluded Renfro's death was the result of an accidental heroin overdose. He was 25 at the time of his death.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Tommy Lee Jones played Reverend Roy Foltrigg

"Reverend" Roy Foltrigg was brought to life by big screen legend Tommy Lee Jones. He might be callous and only interested in his own career, but you've got to admit: he's got great hair. Jones had a busy 1994; "The Client" was one for five films he appeared in that year. With the action thriller "Blown Away" released prior to "The Client," his next film was the violent and controversial Oliver Stone action movie "Natural Born Killers," in which he plays Warden Dwight McClusky, charged with overseeing mass murderers Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory Knox (Juliette Lewis). He appeared as nuclear engineer Hank Marshall in "Blue Sky" and took on the role of fiery baseball legend Ty Cobb in the biopic "Cobb."

The following year, Jones reunited with "The Client" director Joel Schumacher for "Batman Forever," taking on the role of iconic DC Comics villain Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face. He went on to costar in another comic book movie in 1997's "Men In Black," playing Agent K alongside Will Smith. For 1998's "U.S. Marshalls," he reprised his role as United States Deputy Marshal Sam Gerard from the 1993 hit crime thriller "The Fugitive."

In 2007, Jones played Sheriff Ed Tom Bell in the Coen Brothers' smash-hit crime thriller "No Country for Old Men." He became one of the handful of actors to play roles in both Marvel and DC Comics films, joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Colonel Chester Phillips in 2011's "Captain America: The First Avenger." Jones joined another popular franchise in 2016, playing CIA Director Robert Dewey in "Jason Bourne," before taking on the role of H. Clifford McBride, commander of the Lima mission and father to Brad Pitt's character, astronaut Roy McBride, in 2019's "Ad Astra."

Mary-Louise Parker played Dianne Sway

Actor Mary-Louise Parker played Mark and Ricky's mother, Dianne Sway. She does her best as a mother with what little she's able to provide. After her sons witness Jerome Clifford's suicide, Ricky falls into a catatonic state and Dianne spends all her time with him at the hospital. She's also low-key jealous the bond that Reggie develops with Mark and seems self-conscious about her own abilities as a mother.

Parker has enjoyed a long career since taking on the role of Dianne Sway in "The Client." The very next year, she appeared in the critically praised "Boys on the Side" with Drew Barrymore and Whoopi Goldberg as Robin, one of three friends taking a road trip across the country. In 2002, she played Molly Graham, wife to FBI behavioral analyst Will Graham (Edward Norton) in the psychological thriller "Red Dragon" — a prequel to 1991's "The Silence of the Lambs" — featuring Sir Anthony Hopkins as psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter. Four years later, she appeared in the cast of "Saved!" a religious satire mashed up with a coming of age romance.

Beginning in 2005, Parker took on the role of "Weeds" lead character, Nancy Botwin, a widow who begins to sell marijuana as a means to support her family. She later appeared in 2010's action comedy "Red" as Sarah Ross, the eventual love interest to Bruce Willis' retired spy Frank Moses; but first he has to kidnap her. She reprised the role for "Red 2" in 2013, with Sarah now serving as Frank's actual girlfriend. Keeping up the theme of spy-movies-with-crimson-in-the-title, Parker appeared in 2018's "Red Sparrow" as a political lackey named Stephanie Boucher who sells classified American intel to Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence), a ballerina-turned-femme fatale spy.

Anthony LaPaglia played Barry 'The Blade' Muldano

Anthony LaPaglia played tough-guy killer Barry "The Blade" Muldano. His uncle, mob boss Johnny Sulari (Ron Dean), thinks Jerome Clifford may have spilled the beans on where the body of a Louisiana senator Barry killed is located, which would unearth a heap of trouble. So he tells Barry to move the body — which he can't, because the cops are investigating — and to kill Mark Sway as well. Eventually, Barry wears out his welcome in the crime family and becomes the latest person Johnny wants whacked.

A year after "The Client" came out in 1994, LaPaglia played embattled record store manager Joe Reaves in the coming-of-age comedy "Empire Records," appearing alongside an ensemble of up-and-coming actors like Liv Tyler, Renee Zellweger, Rory Cochrane, Ethan Embry, and Robin Tunney. The following year in 1996, he took on the recurring role of Jimmy Wyler, a former assistant district attorney who becomes a defense lawyer on the legal drama "Murder One."

In 2002, LaPaglia had a bit part as actor Anthony Bella, who plays Nicky Caesar on the fictional show mafia "Little Caesar," for which real mob boss Paul Vitti (Robert De Niro) serves as consultant in the organized crime comedy sequel "Analyze That." The same year, he took on the lead role in "Without a Trace," a law enforcement procedural that followed the works of the FBI's Missing Persons Unit. LaPaglia's Special Agent Jack Malone is the lead agent in the MPU's New York division, an Army veteran with a psych degree, and a father whose family life is on shaky ground. 

LaPaglia played dollmaker Samuel Mullins in 2017's supernatural prequel movie in the "Conjuring" Universe, "Annabelle: Creation." So if any of these movies scared the bejeezus out of you, it's basically his fault, given that his character crafted the doll that the demon inhabits.