Lee Byung-hun

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For the medical professor, see Lee Byung-heon.
This is a Korean name; the family name is Lee.
Lee Byung-hun
Lee Byung-Hun in 2013.jpg
Born (1970-07-12) July 12, 1970 (age 44)
Seoul, South Korea
Nationality South Korean
Occupation Actor, Dancer, Singer
Years active 1995–present
Agent BH Entertainment
Spouse(s) Lee Min-jung (m. 2013)
Korean name
Revised Romanization I Byeongheon
McCune–Reischauer Ri Pyŏnghŏn

Lee Byung-hun (Hangul: 이병헌; born July 12, 1970) is a South Korean actor and martial artist. A popular and acclaimed actor in South Korea, he is best known for Joint Security Area (2000), A Bittersweet Life (2005), The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008), the television series Iris (2009) I Saw the Devil (2010), and Masquerade (2012). In the U.S., he is known for Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) and its sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), and RED 2 (2013). He will be portraying the T-1000 in the upcoming Terminator Genisys (2015).

Lee, along with Ahn Sung-ki, are the first Korean actors to imprint their hand and foot prints on the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles.


Lee made his debut in the television drama Asphalt My Hometown after auditioning in a KBS talent audition in 1991.[1] He continued to act in a string of various television dramas until he made his big breakthrough in 2000 with Joint Security Area directed by Park Chan-wook. The film broke the box office record and became the highest grossing Korean film at the time.[2] Lee played a border-guard soldier and won Best Actor at the Busan Film Critics Awards for the role.[3]

In 2001, his popularity continued to climb when he played the lead alongside Choi Ji-woo in the melodrama Beautiful Days. In 2003, he received the Grand Prize at the SBS Drama Awards and Best Actor at the Baeksang Arts Awards for his role in the poker drama All In.[4]

From 2005, he focused on film, earning critical acclaim for his performance in A Bittersweet Life directed by Kim Ji-woon which was screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival.[5] Lee was nominated for Best Actor at the Blue Dragon Film Awards and Grand Bell Awards, and won at the Chunsa Film Art Awards, Baeksang Arts Awards and the Korean Association of Film Critics Awards.

He reunited with director Kim Ji-woon in The Good, the Bad, the Weird, taking on his first villain role.[6] The film was screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival.[5] The following year he appeared in I Come with the Rain opposite American actor Josh Hartnett and Japanese actor Takuya Kimura. He then made his Hollywood debut as Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, also starring Channing Tatum and Sienna Miller.[7]

Lee returned to television in late 2009 in the espionage action thriller Iris as a secret agent who finds himself at the center of an international conspiracy. It was one of the most expensive shows ever produced with filming locations in Hungary, Japan as well as South Korea.[8] It became one of the highest rated dramas of 2009 and his performance earned him the Grand Prize at the KBS Drama Awards and Best Actor at the Baeksang Arts Awards.[9]

In 2010 Lee starred in I Saw the Devil with Choi Min-sik, his third collaboration with Kim Ji-woon, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. His portrayal of the intelligence agent won him the Grand Prize at the Baeksang Arts Awards.[10]

In 2013, he reprised his role as Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: Retaliation.[11][12] On June 23, 2012, Lee, along with Ahn Sung-ki, became the first Korean actors to leave their hand and foot prints on the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles. He was recognised as an emerging star in Hollywood for his role of Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and its sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation.[13] In October, he won Best Actor at the Grand Bell Awards for his dual role in the lavish period drama Gwanghae.[14] The film was a box office hit, becoming the 7th film in Korean history to surpass 10 million admissions.[15]

Lee co-starred in the American film RED 2 (2013), the sequel to the 2010 action-comedy hit RED, alongside Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Helen Mirren, and John Malkovich.[16][17] In March 2014, Lee was cast as the T-1000 in the upcoming Terminator Genisys opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger.[18]

Other work[edit]

Lee formed a management company BH Entertainment which manages many actors including Han Hyo-joo, Go Soo, and Han Ji-min. He owns a shop BHNC which sells hats, scarfs and wallets.[19]

Lee Byung-hun most notably in the video game industry provided his likeness for the main character Wayne Holden, in the 2006 Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, for the Xbox 360, PS3 & PC.

Personal life[edit]

Lee has a younger sister, Lee Eun-hee, who was Miss Korea in 1997. He graduated from Hanyang University with a major in French Literature and the Graduate School of Chung-Ang University with a major in Theater and Cinematography.

Lee dated his All In co-star Song Hye-kyo; they broke up in 2004. In his spare time, Lee Byung-hun practices taekwondo.[20][21]

Lee married actress Lee Min-jung on August 10, 2013 at the Grand Hyatt Seoul.[22] The couple had briefly dated in 2006, then resumed their relationship in 2012.[23] It is revealed that they are expecting their first child in April 2015.[24]

On September 2, 2014, Lee made a report at Gangnam Police Station claiming that two women were blackmailing him by using a compromising video as leverage. Dahee (of the K-pop girl group GLAM) and model Lee Ji Yeon were identified and they have since admitted to blackmailing the actor, but stated that they did so because Lee was breaking his affair with Lee Ji Yeon one sidedly.

The police revealed that they had issued arrest warrants for Dahee and Ji Yeon, and there is a possibility that they will be jailed for several years.[25]



Year Title Role
1995 Who Drives Me Crazy Lee Jong-du
Runaway Lee Dong-ho
1996 Kill the Love Love
1997 Elegy of the Earth Park Jong-man
1999 The Harmonium in My Memory Kang Soo-ha
2000 Joint Security Area Sgt. Lee Soo-hyeok
2001 Bungee Jumping of Their Own Seo In-woo
2002 My Beautiful Girl, Mari Adult Nam-woo (voice)
Addicted Dae-jun
2004 Everybody Has Secrets Choi Su-hyeon
Three Extremes - segment "Cut" Ryu Ji-ho
2005 A Bittersweet Life Kim Sun-woo
2006 Once in a Summer Yun Suk-young
2007 HERO Kang (cameo)
2008 The Good, the Bad, the Weird Park Chang-yi, the Bad
2009 I Come with the Rain Su Dongpo
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Storm Shadow
2010 Iris: The Movie Kim Hyun-jun
The Influence W
I Saw the Devil Kim Soo-hyeon
2012 Masquerade (Gwanghae: The Man Who Became King) King Gwanghae, Beggar Ha-sun[26]
2013 G.I. Joe: Retaliation Storm Shadow
RED 2 Han Jo-bae / Han Cho Bai
2015 Memories of the Sword Deok-gi
2015 Terminator Genisys T-1000[27]
The Insiders Ahn Sang-gu


Year Title Role
1991 Asphalt My Hometown
Flower That Never Wilt
1992 Wild Sunflower
Days of Sunshine Choi Hyung-man
Tomorrow Love Shin Bum Soo
1993 The Sorrow of the Survivor Ja-myung
Police Oh Hae-sung
1994 The Fragrance of Love Kim Jun-ho
1995 Asphalt Man Kang Dong-joon
Son of Wind Chang Hong-pyo
1997 Beautiful My Lady Hwang Jun-ho
I Do
White Sand
1998 White Nights 3.98 Min Gyeong-bin
1999 Happy Together Suh Tae-poong
Love Story - Story 1: Sunflower Tae-sung
Sally is Back
2001 Road Woo-sik
Beautiful Days Lee Min-chul
2003 All In Kim In-ha
2009 Iris Kim Hyun-jun
2011 Diplomat Kosaku Kuroda John (cameo)


Year Title Role
2006 Lost Planet: Extreme Condition Wayne Holden
2013 CGV 4DX trailer Himself[28]



Year Album Name
1999 Lee Byung Hun - To Me


Year Single Name
2008 Itsuka (Someday)


Year Track Album
2010 "Stay" Iris OST
"Endless Road" Iris OST

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.yesasia.com/us/yumcha/lee-byung-hun-man-of-the-world/0-0-0-arid.209-en/featured-article.html
  2. ^ "Joint Security Area". koreanfilm.org. Retrieved 2010-10-28. 
  3. ^ http://www.korean-drama-guide.com/List-of-Pusan-Film-Critics-Awards.html
  4. ^ http://www.imdb.com/event/ev0001111/2006
  5. ^ a b "Festival de Cannes: A Bittersweet Life". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  6. ^ Obsessedwithfilm.com
  7. ^ IESB.net - Movie News, Reviews, Interviews and More! - UPDATED WITH STUDIO CONFIRMATION - GI Joe Casting!
  8. ^ "Lee Byung-hun in Expensive Spy Drama Series IRIS". Beyond Hollywood. 
  9. ^ http://www.mb.com.ph/node/236653/gi-joe-
  10. ^ http://sundance.slated.com/2011/films/isawthedevil_sundance2011
  11. ^ Park Soo-mee. "Lee Byung-hun to Reprise 'G.I. Joe' Role". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  12. ^ "‘G.I. Joe 2′ Gets a Release Date; But Will We See The Cast Return?". The Film Stage. 
  13. ^ "Ahn Sung-ki, Lee Byung-hun to Leave Handprints in Hollywood". Chosun Ilbo. April 26, 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2012. 
  14. ^ "'Gwanghae' sweeps Korean Oscars". The Korea Times. October 31, 2012. 
  15. ^ Lee, Rachel (October 21, 2012). "'Masquerade,' 7th film to reach 10 million viewers". The Korea Times. 
  16. ^ http://collider.com/red-2-cathertin-zeta-jones-bruce-willis/165440/
  17. ^ Schwartz, Terri (2012-05-11). "'Red 2' Adds Catherine Zeta-Jones, Byung-Hun Lee". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  18. ^ Kitfirst=Borys (March 31, 2014). "'G.I. Joe,' 'Mad Men' and 'House of Cards' Actors Join 'Terminator: Genesis' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  19. ^ http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SH/SH_EN_7_2.jsp?cid=1017491
  20. ^ "Byung-Hun Lee Talks Storm Shadow and "G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2012-05-13. 
  21. ^ "Q&A - G.I. Joe Star Byung-hun Lee Explains Storm Shadow's Martial Arts Style". ACMTV. Retrieved 2012-05-13. 
  22. ^ Lee, Eun-ah (10 August 2013). "Lee Byung-hun, Rhee Min-jung Walk Down the Aisle Today". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  23. ^ Cho Chung-un, Lee Woo-young (19 August 2012). "Top actors say they are dating". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  24. ^ [1]
  25. ^ "GLAM's Dahee named as one of Lee Byung Hun's blackmailers + arrest warrant issued". Allkpop. September 2, 2014. Retrieved September 2, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Lee Byung-hun to star in ‘The Prince and the Pauper’ remake" JoongAng Ilbo 15 November 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-23
  27. ^ "'Terminator: Genesis' Call Sheet Reveals Byung-hun Lee's Role As T-1000". screenrelish.com. Retrieved May 27, 2014. 
  28. ^ Lee Byung Hun in Absolute Cinema Experience

External links[edit]