Choi Jin-sil

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This is a Korean name; the family name is Choi.
Choi Jin-Sil
Korean actress-Choi Jin-sil-Segye Ilbo.jpg
Choi Jin-Sil
Born (1968-12-24)December 24, 1968
Seoul, South Korea
Died October 2, 2008(2008-10-02) (aged 39)
Seoul, South Korea
Years active 1988–2008
Spouse(s) Cho Sung-Min (2000–2004; divorced)
Children 2
Korean name
Hangul
Hanja
Revised Romanization Choe Jin-sil
McCune–Reischauer Ch'oe Chin-sil

Choi Jin-Sil (December 24, 1968 – October 2, 2008) was a popular South Korean actress. She was considered one of the best actresses in South Korea, nicknamed "The Nation's Actress". She played leading roles in 18 movies and 20 television dramas and appeared in 140 commercials.[1] She committed suicide by hanging on October 2, 2008, at her home in Seoul.[2][3]

Early years[edit]

Choi was born as the first child to her parents Choi Guk-Hyeon and Jeong Ok-Suk on 24 December 1968 in Seoul. Her mother separated from her father since 1985 and divorced him in 1998.[4] She had a younger brother, Choi Jin-yeong who was an actor and singer.

Her family was so poor that her mother once managed the household by running a pojangmacha (a small street stall selling foods). She dreamed of becoming a star to escape from the poverty.[5] She said in talk shows her nickname during her school days was "Choisujebi" because she used to eat "sujebi" (a dumpling soup) instead of ordinary meals due to the home environment.[6] Although she later became a high-paid model and actress, she was known for frugality, even receiving awards for her savings activity and frugality.[5]

Career[edit]

In 1987, Choi graduated from Seonil Girls' High School. She began in Korea's entertainment circles as an advertising film model. She began to gain celebrity in an advertising campaign for Samsung Electronics in which she acted as a newly wedded housewife. [7] [8] [9] In 1988, she became a TV actress starring in the MBC historical drama, 500 Years of Joseon Dynasty. Her first film was North Korean Partisan in South Korea(1990).[1] After several experiences in TV dramas as a supporting actress, Choi played leading roles in the movie My Love, My Bride (1990) and the MBC drama Jealousy (1992).[5] In 1998, Choi published an autobiography Yes, Let's Live Truthfully Today Too, looking back at the change from an ordinary high school graduate to a famous actress.[1] She largely stayed out of the limelight, raising her two children after her high-profile divorce in 2004. In 2005, she returned with the soap opera My Rosy Life in a role that resurrected her career.[10][11] Her last work was The Last Scandal of My Life (2008), generating many positive reviews from critics and viewers.[12][13] A second season of The Last Scandal of My Life" was being planned for broadcast in November 2008 before her death.[14][15] She was also an MC in a talk show, Choi Jin-sil 'Truth and Lie' in 2008.[16]

Personal life[edit]

In 1994, her former manager Bae Byeong-Su, who was an influential figure in the entertainment field, was murdered by her road manager. She was called in as a witness. The incident shocked the Korean public.[17][18]

In 2000, her marriage to Cho Sung-Min received widespread attention in South Korea. Cho was a professional baseball player with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan. They first met on a television show in 1998. Choi gave birth to a son Hwan-Hee (2001) and a daughter Joon-Hee (2003).[4][19]

In November 2002, Cho physically attacked Choi, who was then pregnant with their second child. In August 2004, Cho again assaulted her. In September 2004, Choi divorced him.[20][21][22][23][24]

Choi took the parental rights and child custody over the children on condition of exempting Cho's debt to her mother and brother as well as dropping several charges against Cho. Cho could only visit his children regularly according to the mutual agreement.[25]

In January 2008, the South Korean family register (hoju) was changed. As a result, children could use their maternal family name when the family members wanted it. According to the changed register, her children changed their surname from "Cho" (paternal family name) to "Choi" (maternal family name).[26][27]

After Choi's death, her mother managed the inheritance and took custody of the children.[28][29][30][31]

Allegations of domestic violence[edit]

In August 2004, Choi Jin-sil came forward and declared herself a victim of domestic violence. Subsequently the advertiser, Shinhan Engineering and Construction, claimed she did not keep her contractual obligation to "maintain dignity" because she disclosed to the public her bruised and swollen face which was caused by the violence of her then husband.[23][32]

On June 4, 2009, the Supreme Court reversed a high court ruling that decided in favour of Choi in a compensation suit filed by the advertiser in 2004 against the actress, who was the model for its apartments. In handing down its ruling, the Supreme Court censured Choi for coming forward and declaring herself a victim of domestic violence, saying it constituted a failure to maintain proper "social and moral honour". Her two children became defendants as heirs.[33][34]

On 9 June 2009, Korean Womenlink, the Korea Women's Hot Line, and the Korea Women's Association United issued a joint statement lambasting the ruling. Women's groups censured the Supreme Court for not realising the suffering of domestic violence victims, which included Choi. As to the ruling, the groups claimed that revealing the results of domestic violence was not a matter of "dignity" but a matter of "survival". "When a person is suffering, he or she needs to restore their dignity and social honour by disclosing the damage and seeking proper legal help as Choi did," a director of Korean Womenlink said.[35]

Death[edit]

Choi Jin-Sil committed suicide by hanging on 2 October 2008, at her home in Seoul.[2][3][36] Her suicide was confirmed by the police. She was survived by her two children, her mother and younger brother Choi Jin-Young, who committed suicide a year and a half later. Choi's suicide triggered[dubious ] a temporary 70% increase in suicide in South Korea for about a month after her death; police recorded 700 more suicides in that month than would have been typical statistically.[37]

Cause[edit]

On 8 September 2008, Ahn Jae-hwan, the husband of popular comedian Jeong Sun-Hee, was found dead in his car. Ahn committed suicide apparently due to distress over mounting debts.[38] Jeong and Choi had been close friends for a long time; at his funeral Choi appeared deeply shaken. Shortly after, rumours circulated on the web that Choi, as a loan shark, had lent a large sum of money to Ahn. On 22 September 2008, Choi sought a police probe into the source of the rumours, calling them groundless. On 28 September 2008, police arrested a securities company employee for spreading the rumours.[2][39][40]

Choi came under greater stress amid rumours circulating on the Internet that she was involved in the suicide of fellow actor Ahn Jae-Hwan.[41][42]

In response to Choi's death, the South Korean government tried to strengthen a legal push to regulate Internet postings. Politicians have reacted by proposing legislation that would impose a more rigorous real name registration requirement on the Internet and more heightened punishment for libelous statements.[43][44][45]

Press reaction[edit]

The news of her death was widely reported and large number of reporters rushed to Choi's house to cover the event. On the other hand major portal web sites blocked online users from leaving replies for articles concerning Choi, for fear that some users might leave malicious comments.[46][47][48]

"Almost 80 percent of South Korea's households have broadband access, fostering active online interactions. Most Web sites here have bulletin boards where users can post uncensored, anonymous comments, and nearly all young people run their own blogs, updating via cellphone. Such sites were a major avenue for rumors about the possible dangers of dropping a ban on American beef that fed enormous street protests and political upheaval earlier this year. Major Web portals have in recent years doubled the number of monitors to screen out online character assassination and respond more quickly to complaints of malicious rumors. But many victims still complained that vicious rumors spread so fast their reputations were ruined virtually overnight," The New York Times commented on her death on October 2, 2008.[42]

"She was more than South Korea's Julia Roberts or Angelina Jolie. For nearly 20 years, Choi was the country's cinematic sweetheart and as close to being a "national" actress as possible. But since her body was found on Oct. 2, an apparent suicide, she has become a symbol of the difficulties women face in this deeply conservative yet technologically savvy society. Incessant online gossip appears to have been largely to blame for her death. But it's also clear that public life as a single, working, divorced mom — still a pariah status in South Korea — was one role she had a lot of trouble with," Time commented on her death on October 6, 2008.[49]

Theft of urn[edit]

On August 15, 2009, Choi's ashes were stolen from her burial site.[50] The police hunt for a suspect was aided by surveillance camera images showing a man carrying out the theft. On August 25, 2009, the police arrested him and Choi's ashes were found in his home.[51]

A small memorial park for Choi Jin-Sil has been built in a cemetery in Gyeonggi Province. Choi's ashes were placed in the new tomb in the park in the Gapsan Park Cemetery in Yangpyeong on September 28, 2009. Security devices have been installed to prevent a recurrence of the theft, with the tomb specially manufactured in China and more surveillance cameras placed around the tomb.[52]

Choi Jin-sil Foundation[edit]

Choi was the "big sister" who led the so-called "Choi Jin-Sil Association". It was a friendly group of close celebrities that included the comedians Lee Young-Ja and Jeong Sun-Hee, the models Hong Jin-Kyung and Lee So-Ra, and the actresses Choi Hwa-Jung and Uhm Jung-hwa. After Choi's death, they founded "The Choi Jin-Sil Foundation" for charity.[53][54][55]

Drama synopsis[edit]

The drama synopsis As Life Goes On (사노라면) which Choi Jin-Sil had written was found in her home after her death.[56]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Korean Romanization
1990 Nambugun 남부군 Nambugun
1990 You Know What? It's a Secret 2 있잖아요 비밀이에요 2 Itjanayo Bimiriyeyo 2
1990 Kkokjiddan 꼭지단 Kkogjidan
1990 My Love, My Bride 나의 사랑, 나의 신부 Naui Sarang Naui Sinbu
1991 Susanne Brink's Arirang 수잔 브링크의 아리랑 Sujan Beuringkeu-ui Arirang
1991 The Room in the Forest 숲속의 방 Supsogui Bang
1992 Mister Mama 미스터 맘마 Miseuteo Mamma
1993 The Girl for Love and The One for Marriage 사랑하고 싶은 여자, 결혼하고 싶은 여자 Saranghago sipeun Yeoja, Gyeolhonhago sipeun Yeoja
1994 How to Top My Wife 마누라 죽이기 Manura Jugigi
1994 I wish for what is forbidden to me 나는 소망한다, 내게 금지된 것을 Naneun Somanghanda Naege Geumjidoen Geoseul
1995 Mom Has a New Boyfriend 엄마에게 애인이 생겼어요 Eommaege Aeini Saenggyeosseoyo
1995 Who Makes Me Crazy 누가 나를 미치게 하는가 Nuga Nareul Michige Haneunga
1996 Ghost Mamma 고스트 맘마 Goseuteu mamma
1997 Baby Sale 베이비 세일 Beibi Seil
1997 Holiday In Seoul 홀리데이 인 서울 Holidei in Seoul
1997 The Letter 편지 Pyeonji
1999 Mayonnaise 마요네즈 Mayonejeu
2000 The Legend of Gingko 단적비연수 Tan Jeok Bi Yeon Su

TV drama[edit]

Year Title Korean Romanizaton Broadcast
1988 500 Years of Joseon Dynasty 조선왕조 오백년 Joseon Wangjo Obaengnyeon MBC
1989 Sleepless Tree 잠들지 않는 나무 Jamdeulji anneun Namu MBC
1990 각시방 사랑 열렸네 Gaksibang Sarang Yeollyeonne MBC
1990 Our Paradise 우리들의 천국 Urideurui Cheon-guk MBC
1992 Enchantment 매혹 Maehok MBC
1992 Jealousy 질투 Jiltu MBC
1993 Stormy Season 폭풍의 계절 Pokpung-ui Gyejeol MBC
1994 Scent of Love 사랑의 향기 Sarang-ui Hyanggi SBS
1995 Asphalt Man 아스팔트 사나이 Aseupalteu Sanai SBS
1995 Jazz 째즈 Jjaejeu SBS
1995 APT 아파트 Apateu MBC
1997 Star in My Heart 별은 내 가슴에 Byeoreun Nae Gaseume MBC
1996 Promise 약속 Yaksok MBC
1997 You and I 그대 그리고 나 Geudae Geurigo Na MBC
1998 Memories 추억 Chueok MBC
1999 Roses and Bean Sprouts 장미와 콩나물 Jangmiwa Kongnamul MBC
2002 Since We Met 그대를 알고부터 Geudaereul Algobuteo MBC
2004 War of the Roses 장미의 전쟁 Jangmiui Jeonjaeng MBC
2005 My Rosy Life 장밋빛 인생 Jangmitbit Insaeng KBS2
2007 Bad Woman, Good Woman 나쁜여자 착한여자 Nappeun Yeoja, Chakhan Yeoja MBC
2008 The Last Scandal of My Life 내 생애 마지막 스캔들 Nae Saeng-ae Majimak Seukaendeul MBC

Awards[edit]

Film awards[edit]

  • Blue Dragon Film Awards
    • 1991 (12th), 1992 (13th), 1993 (14th), 1994 (15th), 1995 (16th), 1997 (18th), 1998 (19th) - Popular Star Award
    • 1990 (11th) - Best New Actress for Nambugun

Broadcasting awards[edit]

  • KBS Drama Awards
    • 2005, Top Excellence Award, Actress; Netizen Award; Best Couple Award
    • 1998, Top Excellence Award, Actress
  • MBC Drama Awards
    • 1997, Top Excellence Award, Actress
    • 2008, Achievement Award [58]
  • SBS Drama Awards
    • 1995, New Star Award; Excellence Award, Actress

Broadcasting nominations[edit]

  • 2008 MBC Drama Awards[59]
    • Top Excellence Award, Actress
    • Best Couple Award

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  51. ^ koreatimes.co.kr Suspect Caught Over Actress Urn Theft
  52. ^ koreatimes.co.kr Actress Choi’s Urn Placed in New Tomb
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External links[edit]