March 4, 1980
Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea
|Died||February 10, 2007
Seoul, South Korea
|Other names||Jung Da-bin|
|Revised Romanization||Jeong Da-bin|
|Revised Romanization||Jeong Hye-seon|
Born Jeong Hye-sun in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, she studied Theater and Film at Dongguk University. Using the stage name Jeong Da-bin, she made her acting debut in 2000 in The Legend of Gingko. This was followed by minor and supporting roles in television dramas, and as part of the ensemble cast in the sitcom Nonstop.
In 2003, Jeong and her costar Kim Rae-won rose to fame with Rooftop Room Cat (also known as Attic Cat or Cat on the Roof). Depicting a boy and a girl platonically living together then falling in love (with cohabitation at the time a taboo topic in the Korean mainstream), the series was a smash hit, especially popular among teenagers and twentysomethings.
Jeong became known for her cheerful and positive image, and in 2004 she headlined her first film, the romantic comedy He Was Cool opposite Song Seung-heon, based on the internet novel by Guiyeoni. She then returned to television, starring with Yoon Kye-sang in My 19 Year Old Sister-in-Law. Her last project would be That Summer's Typhoon with Han Ye-seul, which didn't do well in the ratings in 2005.
On February 10, 2007, Jeong was found hanged with a bath towel in the bathroom of her boyfriend's house in Samseong-dong, Gangnam District, southern Seoul. Her boyfriend, identified by his last name Lee, said he took Jeong back to his house because she got drunk while hanging out with friends at a nearby bar in Cheongdam-dong. Lee, who discovered the body at 7:50 a.m. and called the police, said the actress had been recently depressed over her lack of work, the imprisonment of her previous manager, and malicious attacks on the Internet about her physical appearance. Lee also said Jeong first tried to kill herself by cutting her wrist in September/October 2006, which her talent agency disputed, saying her wrist scar was from an accident when she was a freshman in high school. Suspecting foul play, her family and agency requested an investigation, but the postmortem concluded that it was suicide.
While no apparent suicide note was left behind, Jeong had posted her thoughts on her personal blog on Cyworld a day before she killed herself. Under the title "The End" (or "Finished"), she wrote:
Everything is so complicated. I get angry for no reason and I feel like I'm going crazy. It hurts so much that I feel like I'm getting seasick. My head hurts so much that I start to tear. I was becoming a slave to my temper. I thought that I was losing myself, losing my identity. Then, as if lightning had struck, all became quiet. The Lord came to me with love. He made me realize my importance and gave me courage. I was about to collapse, and he lifted me up, saying it's going to be okay. YES, I WILL BE OKAY.
She was cremated, and her remains placed at Cheonga Park in Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province. Jeong's death, which was shortly after singer U-Nee's suicide in January 2007, sent shock waves throughout Korea and sparked concern over copycat suicides.
- Money.com (SBS, 2000)
- The Full Sun (KBS2, 2000)
- New Nonstop (MBC, 2001)
- TV Novel "홍어" (KBS1, 2001)
- How Should I Be? (MBC, 2001)
- Trio (2002)
- Nonstop 3 (MBC, 2003)
- Rooftop Room Cat (MBC, 2003)
- My 19 Year Old Sister-in-Law (SBS, 2004)
- That Summer's Typhoon (SBS, 2005)
- Baek Ji-young - "I Won't Love" (2006)
- 2002 MBC Entertainment Awards: Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Sitcom/Comedy (New Nonstop)
- 2003 MBC Drama Awards: Best New Actress (Rooftop Room Cat)
- 2004 SBS Drama Awards: New Star Award (My 19 Year Old Sister-in-Law)
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- "Hundreds of Copycats Follow Celebrity Suicides". The Chosun Ilbo. 13 January 9. Retrieved 2013-07-12.