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Okja actor Byun Hee-bong passes away- Cinema express

Okja actor Byun Hee-bong passes away

Byun made his acting debut in 1970 with the police crime show Chief Inspector

Published: 18th September 2023
Okja actor Byun Hee-bong passes away

South Korean actor Byun Hee-bong, known for his memorable roles in films like The Host and Okja, has passed away aged 81.

Byun died on Monday after complications related to a return of the pancreatic cancer that had previously occurred and been treated, according to the semi-official Yonhap News agency. The precise circumstances of his demise were not disclosed.

Byun made his acting debut in 1970 with the police crime show Chief Inspector. He made his celluloid debut in the 1980s with films like Eunuch and A Surrogate Father. Gaining popularity for his eccentric characters, his iconic role was in Bong Joon-ho's classic film Barking Dogs Don't Bite. He went on to act in many of Bong's films, earning awards at the Asia Pacific Film Festival and Blue Dragon Film Awards.

The success of the film Barking Dogs Never Bite, led Bong to cast him in his short film Sink & Rise (2004), and also his crime drama Memories of Murder (2003). He was also in the popular monster movie The Host (2006). Later, the two once again collaborated for Okja (2016).

Byun Hee Bong was diagnosed with cancer after he was offered the K-drama Mr Sunshine. In 2020, Byun was awarded the Eungwan Order of Cultural Merit, the second-highest-ranking South Korean cultural decoration, in recognition of his contribution to the development of the nation’s pop culture.

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