Legendary South African agent and casting director, Moonyeenn Lee has passed away.
Lee succumbed to coronavirus (COVID-19) complications on Saturday morning in Johannesburg, according to a statement released by her company, Moonyeenn Lee Associates (MLA SA).
“Moonyeenn helped shape the lives of many actors, directors and writers through her fierce honesty and passion. The SA film industry has lost an icon and a formidable champion of the arts. She will be sorely missed by us all,” MLA SA says in the statement.
The Tsotsi casting director has 47 years in the film industry, which earned her a ‘formidable reputation’.
MLA says Lee received the Lionel Ngakane Lifetime Achievement Award from the South African Film & Television Awards in 2017.
“A highlight in her illustrious career was when she became the first South African member of both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which votes for the Oscars, and the Television Academy, which votes for the Emmys.”
She managed the casting of films such as The Bang Bang Club, Disgrace, the Oscar-winning Tsotsi, Fanie Fourie’s Lobola, the Oscar-nominated Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Hotel Rwanda and Blood Diamond; the Oscar-shortlisted Black Panther and Life, Above All; the Golden Globe nominees Machine Gun Preacher and Mandela and De Klerk; and Emmy-winning series like Homeland, as well as nominees like The Prisoner and No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, among others.
My agent, my friend, my sister passed away last night. RIP Moonyeenn Lee. I truly have no words to express grief. Thank you for everything. Elder 🙏🏿💝⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
— JohnKani (@JohnKani2) July 19, 2020
— Nandi Madida (@Nandi_Madida) July 19, 2020
Absolutely devastated to hear of the passing of Moonyeenn Lee — there isn’t a notable South African film she wasn’t pivotal in casting. The careers and lives she has shaped — there is none like her! My thoughts go to her children Cindy and David.
— Nadia Neophytou (@NadiaNeophytou) July 19, 2020