Parasite star Lee Sun-kyun found dead amid drug probe

South Korean Actor Lee Sun-kyun had been under investigation over drug use allegations.

South Korean Actor Lee Sun-kyun had been under investigation over drug use allegations. Photo: Getty

Lee Sun-kyun, an actor in the Oscar-winning film Parasite, has been found dead in a car at a Seoul park after he was reported missing.

Lee, 48, who played the head of a wealthy household in the 2019 film, had faced police questioning over accusations of illegal drug use amid a government crackdown, with one interview session running 19 hours over the weekend.

The actor had said he was tricked into taking drugs by a bar hostess trying to blackmail him, the Yonhap news agency reported.

Citing police, Yonhap said Lee was found in a car at a park in Seoul, after his manager told police the actor had left home, leaving an apparent suicide note.

Officials at Seoul’s Jongno and Seongbuk police stations did not immediately respond to telephone calls from Reuters to seek comment.

Lee’s agency, HODU&U Entertainment, also did not respond to calls.

However, domestic media cited a statement by the agency that expressed sadness at the death, while urging restraint regarding false information, speculation, or malicious reports.

Infringements of South Korea’s tough drug laws can lead to six months in jail, or up to 14 years for repeat offenders and dealers.

A dark-comedy thriller directed by Bong Joon-ho, Parasite won the Academy Award in 2020 in the four categories of best picture, best director, best original screenplay and best international feature film, after six Oscar nominations.

Lee, born in 1975, had leading roles in South Korean films such as the 2012 thriller Helpless and 2014’s All About My Wife.

He played the lead in Apple TV+’s first Korean-language original series Dr Brain, which rolled out in 2021.

Lee’s wife is award-winning actor Jeon Hye-jin, and the couple had two children.

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