Known around the world thanks to his role as a rich father in Parasite (2019), a film by director Bong Joon-ho, but also at the heart of an investigation for drug consumption in his country, the South-American actor Korean Lee Sun-kyun took his own life. Alerted by his worried relatives after the discovery of a note expressing an apology, the police found the 48-year-old actor on Wednesday December 27. He was lying in his car near Waryong Park in the northern hills of Seoul. Coal briquettes were placed on the passenger seat.
His agency Hodu & U Entertainment said his funeral would be “private” . “We do not have the words to express our deep sadness,” added the company. “Let him be remembered for his work and his creativity,” reacted Min Jin Lee, author of the novel Pachinko , while actress Claudia Kim deplored “a terrible loss for the Korean entertainment industry. Everyone deserves to be forgiven for their mistakes.”
Mr. Lee’s suicide comes amid an investigation launched in October by the police into suspicion of drug use at the home of a bar hostess in the trendy Gangnam district of Seoul. After an initial questioning, the actor said he was “sorry to [his] family for this very difficult moment” . Mr. Lee married actress Jeon Hye-jin in 2009, with whom he had two children. In November, Lee Sun-kyun tested negative in various tests carried out by the police, which did not allay the suspicions of investigators, who summoned him again on November 4 and December 24.
The actor has always maintained his innocence, claiming that he had been set up by the hostess, against whom he filed a complaint, claiming that she had blackmailed him and extorted 350 million won (245,000 euros) from him. . The latter, aged around twenty, would have insisted on the fact that the actor had used drugs, in particular ketamine, at her home on several occasions. Mr Lee admitted he and the young woman met four times and inhaled a powder he thought was a crushed sleeping pill. The affair, in particular the last police custody, which lasted nineteen hours, would have exhausted the actor. His lawyer said he was “under pressure” .
Nicknamed “the voice”
The scandal deprived Mr. Lee of television appearances and advertising contracts, and derailed a storied career punctuated by television and film successes. Born in Seoul in 1975, Lee Sun-kyun joined the brand new drama course at the National University of the Arts in 1994. After graduating, he made his stage debut in 2001 in the musical Rocky Horror Show by Richard O’Brien, and on television in the MBC series Lovers , in which he played an unemployed troublemaker. His career took off in 2007 with the popular series Hayan Geotab (“The White Tower”) and Keopipeurinseu 1-Hojeom (“The Prince of Coffee”). These appearances earned him the MBC acting award.
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