‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ Actress Jonshel Alexander Killed at 22

In Summary

Alexander got the supporting role of Joy Strong at age 12 and was able to successfully beat out 4,000 children for the role.

Former child actress Jonshel Alexander, who appeared in the film Beasts of the Southern Wild in 2012, was killed on Saturday during a shooting in New Orleans, People reported.  

According to police, Alexander and a man were inside a vehicle in New Orleans’ 7th ward. The shooting happened at around 9 p.m. after an assailant allegedly shot them both. Paramedics pronounced Alexander dead, while the man, whose identity hasn’t been released, was able to drive himself to the hospital. 

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Authorities believe they have found a maroon pickup truck used by the suspect, per The New Orleans Advocate. 

Alexander got the supporting role of Joy Strong at 12 years old in the film Beasts of the Southern Wild and was able to beat out 4,000 children for the part.  

The Benh Zeitlin film followed the story of a poor Louisiana Bayou community through the perspective of the main character, played by Quvenzhane Wallis. 

The film earned four Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture.  

“A lot of the lines were written by her, and so much of the character grew out of who Jonshel was,” Zeitlin said. “Her character in the film is named Joy Strong, which always seemed like a perfect description of Jonshel. She was a really bright burning light.” 

Alexander was the youngest member of her family and the actress welcomed a daughter after she graduated high school.  

“She brought life to everything,” Alexander’s mother, Shelly, told The New Orleans Advocate on Tuesday. “Jonshel was feisty, jazzy, spoiled. It was her way or no way. Jonshel was like, ‘It’s going to be me.'” 

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