Lee Sun-kyun dies at peak of his fame

December 27, 2023

Actor Lee Sun-kyun, who took his own life Wednesday at the age of 48 amid an investigation into alleged drug abuse, was at the peak of his acting career.

In 2021, the veteran actor won a Screen Actors Guild award, along with his cast mates of Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite.” Last year, he was also nominated for the best actor award at the International Emmy Awards for his role in the sci-fi film “Dr. Brain.”

This year, Lee’s two movies — the horror flick “Sleep” by Jason Yu and Kim Tae-gon’s disaster thriller “Project Silence” — were invited to the 76th annual Cannes Film Festival, with the former in the competition section of Cannes Critics’ Week, a parallel film festival of the Cannes Film Festival, and the latter in the Midnight Screening section.

Before starring in the Oscar-winning black comedy, Lee was already an established actor in South Korea for his versatile performances across platforms, from plays to movies to television, since the 2000s. He also performed in any genre, from romance to comedy to drama.

His breakthrough came in 2007, with back-to-back appearances in the critically lauded medical drama “White Tower” and the hit romance “Coffee Prince.”

He won in the best actor category at the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival, held in Spain, for his role in the 2009 film “Paju,” a drama about the complicated relationship between a young woman and her brother-in-law.

Among the scores of his works, many of his fans cite his heartfelt performance in the 2018 uplifting series “My Mister” as one of his best, where the actor played the second son of the three brothers who help each other, and other people for that matter, to overcome a rough patch in life.

The actor is survived by his actress wife, Jeon Hye-jin, to whom he married in 2009, and two sons.