Parasite actor Lee found dead during drug investigation

South Korean actor Lee Sun-kyun

known for his remarkable performance as the wealthy patriarch in the Oscar-winning film “Parasite”, tragically passed away on Wednesday in an apparent suicide in a park in Seoul, according to officials in the capital.

During the recent government crackdown on illegal drug use, Lee, a 48-year-old character in South Korea’s first-ever Oscar-winning film from 2019, met a horrific fate. Prior to this, Lee had undergone intense police questioning three times, with one of the sessions lasting a staggering 19 hours over the weekend.

According to the Yon hap news agency, the actor claimed that he had been deceived by a bar hostess who attempted to blackmail him into taking drugs.

A fire official, speaking on condition of anonymity as the case is sensitive, told Reuters that Lee was located during a search prompted by a report of a missing person.

According to an anonymous police official, Lee was discovered in a car parked at a Seoul park after his manager reported that the actor had left home, leaving behind a note that suggested suicide.

HODU&U Entertainment, the agency representing Lee, failed to answer any phone calls.

Domestic media reported that the agency expressed sadness at the death, but emphasized the importance of refraining from spreading false information, speculation, or malicious reports.

South Korea has strict drug laws that can result in a six-month imprisonment for violations, while repeat offenders and dealers may face up to 14 years behind bars.

Bong Joon-ho’s dark-comedy thriller “Parasite” triumphed at the 2020 Academy Awards, sweeping four categories including best picture, the best director, the best original screenplay, and best international feature film, out of six Oscar nominations.

The film achieved a historic milestone, becoming the inaugural non-English language movie to earn the highly acclaimed best picture award. Bong expressed his elation, asserting that its widespread appeal signifies the triumphant demolition of the once formidable “one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles” on the path towards international triumph.

Lee portrayed the character of Mr. Park in the movie. He skillfully embodied a wealthy homeowner whose opulent residence is cunningly invaded by deceptive individuals from a lower social class, masquerading as supremely skilled household staff. The ensuing web of intrigue and deceit ultimately escalates into a forceful and intense climax.

Lee, born in 1975, starred in prominent South Korean films, including the 2012 thriller “Helpless” and 2014’s “All About My Wife”, as well as the highly-praised 2018 TV series “My Mister”.

In 2021, he took on the leading role in Apple TV+’s inaugural Korean-language original series.

The sci-fi thriller “Dr. Brain” is a captivating six-episode series that follows a determined neurologist as he delves into mind-bending experiments in search of answers to a perplexing family tragedy.

Lee is married to the award-winning actress Jeon Hye-jin, and the couple has two children.

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