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Actress found hanged, apparently a suicide

2nd case this year alarms mental health experts

Feb 12,2007
A memorial for Jeong Da-bin at Asan Medical Center in Seoul. [NEWSIS]
Jeong Da-bin, 27, was found hanged with a bath towel at her boyfriend’s house in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul, on Saturday. The popular actress’s death was reported by her boyfriend, whom police did not identify.
Police said they found no suicide note, but believe on the basis of their investigation so far that she took her own life. Her friend said Ms. Jeong had suffered some career reverses lately and was under stress.
Her family and her agency, sounding somewhat skeptical, urged the police yesterday afternoon to investigate further and conduct an autopsy.
Ms. Jeong made her debut as a television actress in 2000 and cemented her fame in a TV drama, “A Cat in a Room on the Rooftop,” in 2003. She also starred in a romantic comedy movie, “That Guy Was Cool,” in 2004. She had not been seen much professionally in recent months, however.
If, as the police concluded, Ms. Jeong’s death was a suicide, some mental health experts said they were concerned about what may have been a “copycat suicide” triggered by other film and television actresses who also took their lives.
Yun Se-chang, a professor of neuropsychiatry at Samsung Medical Center, said, “After the suicide of the actress Lee Eun-ju in 2005, the number of people committing suicide has jumped from 0.84 to 2.13 a day on average.”
Ms. Jeong’s death came as a shock to other entertainers, coming as it did on the heels of the suicide of a pop singer, Yuni, who took her life late last month. Both she and Lee Eun-ju reportedly took their own lives because of stress and despondency over their respective careers.
Ahn Sung-ki, a seasoned actor who has continued to stay in the limelight for five decades, sent a memorial letter to the JoongAng Ilbo, in which he wrote, “Celebrities are under a lot of stress because of their uncertain future.”
Saying that he was “shocked by the loss of two young celebrity juniors this year,” Mr. Ahn added, “It’s the destiny of celebrities who have ups and downs in popularity, but we need to stay away from being now glad and now sad.”
He continued, “We need to be grateful for the very fact that we are doing the job that we chose.”


By Kim Pil-gyu(JoongAng Ilbo)/ Chun Su-jin(Staff Writer)[sujiney@joongang.co.kr]


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