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Star of Oscar-winning ‘Parasite’ found dead

Police were called to search for South Korean actor Lee Sun-kyun after a ‘suicide-like note’ was found at his home

South Korean actor Lee Sun-kyun, star of Oscar-winning movie ‘Parasite’, was found dead in Seoul on Wednesday amid a police investigation into alleged drug use.

The 48-year-old was found unconscious in his car at a central park in the capital on Wednesday morning. Police had received a call from his manager earlier in the day, reporting that the actor had left home after writing a “memo akin to a suicide note,” according to Yonhap news. The manager had visited the star’s home after being unable to contact him.

Lee had faced three rounds of police questioning over alleged drug use, amid a wider government crackdown on narcotics. The latest session lasted 19 hours on Saturday and Sunday. 

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The star was suspected of taking illicit substances with a hostess from a high-end Seoul bar. The actor insisted he had been tricked and wasn’t aware of what he was taking, according to Yonhap. In October, Lee filed complaints of blackmail against two people, including the hostess, who was arrested last month. The actor was examined for narcotics in his system and tested negative.

Lee Sun-kyun.


©  Шlgan Sports/Multi-Bits via Getty Images

Breaking South Korea’s drug laws can lead to six months in prison, or a maximum of 14 years for repeat offenders and dealers. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol has vowed a crackdown on narcotics, while the nation’s drug crimes department has been expanded. 

The actor’s agency, HODU&U Entertainment, released a statement offering its condolences to the bereaved. “Please respectfully refrain from spreading false information via speculation or malicious statements so that the final path of the deceased will not be unfair,” the agency wrote. 

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Lee played the role of the family patriarch in the scathing black comedy ‘Parasite’, in which his home is infiltrated by members of a lower-class family, posing as skilled domestic workers in a twisted scheme that ends in bloodshed. It was the first non-English language movie to win the Oscar for Best Picture, and claimed four awards in total at the 2020 event. 

A prolific actor in South Korea’s film industry, Lee starred in everything from TV series to smaller art-house films, as well as on the big screen following his debut in the sitcom ‘Lovers’. 

Lee is survived by his wife, award-winning actress Jeon Hye-jin, as well as two children.

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December 27, 2023 at 06:35PM
RT

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