Charlbi Dean, Star of Top Winner at Cannes, Dies at 32

A South African-born actress and model, she had a breakout role in the satirical “Triangle of Sadness,” due in theaters in the fall.

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By Reggie Ugwu

Charlbi Dean, an actress and model who plays a lead role in the film satire “Triangle of Sadness,” which won the top award at the Cannes Film Festival this year and will be released in the fall, died on Monday in Manhattan. She was 32.

The death, in a hospital, was confirmed by a representative from her publicity agency. The cause was not given.

“Triangle of Sadness,” an English-language satire of the ultrawealthy from the Swedish director Ruben Östlund, stars Ms. Dean and Harris Dickinson as models aboard a luxury cruise that goes awry. It took the Palme d’Or prize at Cannes and is scheduled to play at both the Toronto International Film Festival and the New York Film Festival in September. The independent studio Neon is expected to release the film to theaters on Oct. 7.

The New York Times critic Manohla Dargis wrote that the film was a “blunt, ugly sendup of class politics” that “sharply divided critics.”

In a promotional interview for the film, Ms. Dean welcomed such a polarized response.

“Hopefully people will leave the theater wanting to talk about it and discuss it,” she said. “Those are my favorite films: the ones that get my mind going, piss me off a little, make me laugh and cry.”

In a statement posted on Instagram, Mr. Östlund called Ms. Dean’s death “a shock and a tragedy.”

“Charlbi had a care and sensitivity that lifted her colleagues and the entire film crew,” he wrote.

Charlbi Dean Kriek was born on Feb. 5, 1990, in Cape Town, South Africa, to Johan Kriek and Joanne Muller. In 2008 and 2010, she appeared on the covers of the South African editions of GQ and Elle magazines.

She appeared in her first feature film role in 2010, playing a popular boarding school student alongside Troye Sivan and John Cleese in the movie “Spud.” From 2018 to 2021 she portrayed Syonide — a villain with deadly marksmanship skills — in the CW Network superhero drama “Black Lightning.”

She is survived by her parents; her brother, Alex Muller; and her fiancé, the South African actor and model Luke Volker.

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