Actor Lee Sun-kyun of Oscar-winning film ‘Parasite’ dies

December 27, 2023
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South Korean actor Lee Sun-kyun from the Oscar-winning film “Parasite” has died in an apparent suicide, South Korean news media reported Wednesday, citing the police.

Lee had been under investigation on allegations of using marijuana and other illegal drugs. He said he was innocent.

Police said Lee was found dead in a car at a park in central Seoul, according to the Yonhap news agency. There was a charcoal briquette in the passenger seat of the car.

Investigators at the scene in Seoul, South Korea, where Lee was found dead on Wednesday.
Investigators at the scene in Seoul, South Korea, where Lee was found dead on Wednesday.Seo Dae-youn / Yonhap via AP

Police had been searching for Lee after his family reported that he had left home after writing what appeared to be a suicide note, Yonhap said.

Lee, who was born in Seoul in 1975, played the father of a wealthy family in the dark comedy “Parasite,” which won four Academy Awards in 2020, including Best Picture. The film also won for best cast in a motion picture at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Lee Sun-kyun and Jo Yeo-jeong in a scene from "Parasite."
Lee and Jo Yeo-jeong in a scene from “Parasite.”Neon / via Everett Collection
Lee, center, and director Bong Joon-ho, right, with cast members of “Parasite” at the Academy Awards in 2020.
Lee, center, and director Bong Joon-ho, right, with cast members of “Parasite” at the Academy Awards in 2020.Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

The following year, Lee starred in “Dr. Brain,” a sci-fi thriller that was the first Korean-language show produced for Apple TV+.

His long list of credits in South Korea includes the 2012 films “Helpless” and “All About My Wife.”

An ongoing crackdown on narcotics in South Korea, which has stringent drug laws, has led to cases against a number of celebrities and other high-profile figures.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the network, previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.



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