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'Beasts of the Southern Wild' actor Jonshel Alexander has died aged 22


The former child actor, Jonshel Alexander, who co-starred alongside Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild, has tragically passed away at the age of 22 when she was shot and killed over the weekend in her home state of Louisiana. 

Pronounced dead at the scene together with an unidentified man in their vehicle in New Orleans, police are currently looking for a masked suspect and a maroon pickup truck that they believe was used as part of the murder. 

Known for her role as Joy Strong in Benh Zeitlin’s debut feature film, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Alexander was just 23 when she appeared in the film as the best friend of the protagonist named Hushpuppy. Beating over 4,000 other actors for the major part, the late actor’s mother recalls to The New Orleans Advocate, “She brought life to everything…Jonshel was feisty, jazzy, spoiled. It was her way or no way. Jonshel was like, ‘It’s going to be me’”.

Posting her condolences on Twitter, Alexander’s co-star Quvenzhané Wallis, wrote,:“When we were filming we were always together and I wish I could go back in time so I can see you again. I love you. you will be missed by so many”. 

Quvenzhané Wallis became the youngest person ever to be nominated for a Best Leading Actress award at the 2013 Academy Awards for her starring role in Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild. Tipped to become one of the finest modern filmmakers, Zeitlin has since only made one film since his awards-contender, releasing the quiet drama, Wendy in 2020 to a humble cinematic reception. 

On the other hand, Quvenzhané Wallis enjoyed success in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, as well as the movie musical remake Annie and the animated Dreamworks triumph, Trolls in 2016. 

Beasts of the Southern Wild was Jonshel Alexander’s only film credit.