|Born||15 March 1973|
Master's degree in Theater and Film
|Agent||C-JeS Entertainment (since 2013)|
|Revised Romanization||I Jeong-jae|
Lee Jung-jae (born 15 March 1973) is a South Korean actor. He debuted as a fashion model, then began his acting career on television, notably in the campus series Feelings (1994) and the iconic drama Sandglass (1995). After his acting breakthrough in An Affair (1998), Lee's film career took off. He has starred in a variety of film genres, among them romantic films such as Il Mare (2000) and Over the Rainbow (2002), melodrama Last Present (2001), comedy Oh! Brothers (2003), action films The Last Witness (2001) and Typhoon (2005), heist film The Thieves (2012), and film noir New World (2013). He won Best Actor awards at the Blue Dragon Film Awards for City of the Rising Sun (1999), and at the Fantasporto Director's Week for The Housemaid (2010).
Lee Jung-jae was discovered by designer Ha Yong-soo while he was working at a café in Apgujeong, then worked as a fashion model for a number of years. Upon making his acting debut with the 1993 TV drama Dinosaur Teacher, Lee became a star practically overnight, and was almost always cast in lead roles thereafter. A year later, he received favorable reviews for his first big screen role in Bae Chang-ho's The Young Man, but it was the 1994 hit drama Feelings that made him a household name.
In 1995 what was supposed to be a small supporting role as the heroine's silent, devoted bodyguard in ratings behemoth Sandglass turned Lee into a national heartthrob, such that his screen time was increased throughout the series' run. His acting breakthrough would come in late 1998 in the award-winning film An Affair by E J-yong. This was followed up by another success, City of the Rising Sun, for which he received a Best Actor award at the domestic Blue Dragon Film Awards ceremony.
Though his time-travel romance Il Mare was not a popular success in 2000, since then it has developed a loyal fan base a la Somewhere in Time and attained the status of a minor classic among Korean cinema fans (Keanu Reeves played Lee's role in the 2006 Hollywood remake The Lake House).
After starring in the Korean-Japanese coproduction Asako in Ruby Shoes, released in December 2000, Lee found considerable popular success in a melodrama titled Last Present, where he was cast opposite Lee Young-ae, and in the action/mystery/drama The Last Witness directed by Bae Chang-ho. In 2002 he starred in the romance Over the Rainbow with Jang Jin-young.
In 2003 he starred opposite Lee Beom-soo in Oh! Brothers, a comic drama about two brothers, one of whom has an unusual disease. The film was one of Lee's biggest hits ever, topping three million admissions at the local box office. Nonetheless he remained out of the limelight for the next couple years. Finally at the end of 2005 he returned in Typhoon, a big-budget action blockbuster by Kwak Kyung-taek, the director of Friend.
With the period action comedy The Accidental Gangster and the Mistaken Courtesan, Lee said he wanted to try his hand at playing a different kind of role, a comical loose cannon type of character. Though it was not successful at the box office, he still considers it one of his most memorable films.
In August 2008 Lee was awarded his master's degree from Dongguk University's Department of Theater & Film Art in the Graduate School of Cultural Arts. He made his first foray into theater in December of that same year, taking on the titular role in Hamlet in Water. The play ran for four days at his alma mater's Lee Hae-rang Theater.
He then starred in the high-profile 2010 erotic thriller The Housemaid, which screened at the Cannes Film Festival, and Toronto International Film Festival. Lee nabbed a Best Actor award at the Fantasporto Director's Week. As his next project, he joined the star-studded ensemble cast of The Thieves, a 2012 heist film that became the second all-time highest grossing movie in Korean cinema history.
El Fin del Mundo ("The End of the World") is a 13-minute split screen film made by visual artists Moon Kyung-won and Jeon Joon-ho, which depicts the destructive environmental changes the world faces in the future and the subsequent end of art and birth of new art based on dialogue between two artists in different times and space, played by Lee and Im Soo-jung. The film was screened at dOCUMENTA in 2012, considered the world's most prestigious and innovative contemporary art platform. A longtime art collector and honorary ambassador for the National Museum of Contemporary Art in 2011-2012, Lee also narrated the TV documentary Contemporary Art, Bury the Boundary which highlighted homegrown Korean artists.
In 2013 noir thriller New World, he played a police officer who goes undercover in a crime organization. Lee said he was grateful to co-star Choi Min-sik, who suggested casting him to the director. He later signed on to be exclusively managed by C-JeS Entertainment, reportedly choosing the agency after he worked with Song Ji-hyo in New World.
Lee dated actress Kim Min-hee for three years; the couple broke up in late 2006. He has denied rumors romantically linking him with Lim Sae-ryung, the ex-wife of Samsung Group heir apparent Lee Jae-yong.
Apart from his acting, Lee is known for having launched a chain of upscale Italian restaurants in Seoul named after his movie Il Mare. Having studied interior design, he himself took responsibility for designing the interiors of his restaurants. Lee also founded the real estate development company Seorim C&D in 2008.
Lee says he enjoys art exhibitions, ballet performances and music concerts when he's off work, and often hangs out with actor Jung Woo-sung, his best friend since they starred together in City of the Rising Sun.
|1993||Survivor's Grief (TV - KBS2)|
|Dinosaur Teacher (TV - SBS)|
|Love is Oh Yeah!|
|1994||The Lonely Man (TV - KBS2)|
|Feelings (TV - KBS2)||Han Joon|
|Love is Blue (TV - SBS)|
|The Young Man||Lee Han|
|1995||Sandglass (TV - SBS)||Baek Jae-hee|
|Park vs Park||Park Su-seok|
|Snail (TV - SBS)||Dong-cheol|
|1998||White Nights 3.98 (TV - SBS)||Lee Yeong-jun|
|1999||City of the Rising Sun||Hong-ki|
|The Uprising||Lee Jae-su|
|Il Mare||Han Sung-hyun|
|Asako in Ruby Shoes||Woo-in|
|2001||Last Present||Jung Yong-gi|
|MOB 2025 (short film)||Dust|
|The Last Witness||Detective Oh|
|2002||Over the Rainbow||Lee Jin-su|
|2003||Oh! Brothers||Oh Sang-woo|
|2007||Air City (TV - MBC)||Kim Ji-sung|
|2008||The Accidental Gangster and the Mistaken Courtesan||Cheon-doong|
|2009||Triple (TV - MBC)||Shin Hwal|
|2012||El Fin del Mundo (short film)|
|2013||Contemporary Art, Bury the Boundary (TV - SBS)||Documentary narrator|
|New World||Lee Ja-sung|
|The Face Reader||Prince Suyang|
|1995||Baeksang Arts Awards||Best New Actor in TV||Sandglass|
|Grand Bell Awards||Best New Actor||The Young Man|
|Blue Dragon Film Awards||Best New Actor||The Young Man|
|Korean Association of Film Critics Awards||Best New Actor||The Young Man|
|1997||Baeksang Arts Awards||Popularity Award in Film||Firebird|
|1999||Baeksang Arts Awards||Popularity Award in Film||City of the Rising Sun|
|Blue Dragon Film Awards||Best Actor||City of the Rising Sun|
|Korean Association of Film Critics Awards||Best Actor|
|2001||Prime Minister's Citation for Saving's Day|
|2006||Golden Cinematography Awards||Best Actor||Typhoon|
|2008||Style Icon Awards||Style Icon Actor|
|2010||Mnet 20's Choice Awards||Most Influential Star|
|2011||Fantasporto Director's Week||Best Actor||The Housemaid|
|2013||Grand Bell Awards||Popularity Award||The Face Reader|
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