Gong Yoo

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Gong Yoo
180503 공유 (cropped).jpg
Gong in May 2018
Gong Ji-cheol

(1979-07-10) July 10, 1979 (age 42)
EducationKyung Hee University
Years active2001–present
AgentManagement SOOP
Korean name
Revised RomanizationGong Yu
McCune–ReischauerKong Yu
Birth name
Revised RomanizationGong Ji-cheol
McCune–ReischauerKong Chi-ch'ŏl

Gong Ji-cheol (Korean공지철; born July 10, 1979), better known by his stage name Gong Yoo (Korean공유), is a South Korean actor. He is best known for his roles in the television dramas Coffee Prince (2007), Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (2016–2017), The Silent Sea (2021), and Squid Game (2021), and the films Silenced (2011), Train to Busan (2016) and The Age of Shadows (2016).

His stage name is a combination of his father's family name "Gong" and of his mother's family name "Yoo".[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Gong was born Gong Ji-cheol on July 10, 1979 in Busan, South Korea. Gong's father attended Busan Sango, a baseball academy, and was a manager of the Lotte Giants from 1983 to 1985.[3] Gong attended Dongin High School, and pursued undergraduate studies at Kyung Hee University's Department of Theater and Film.[4][5]

In 2017, it was revealed that Gong Yoo is a descendant of Chinese philosopher Confucius, and is part of the 79th generation among Confucius's descendants originated from the Gokbu Gong clan.[6][7]


2001–2004: beginnings[edit]

Gong Yoo graduated from Kyung Hee University with a B.A. degree in theater.[8] In 2000, he started his show business career as a video jockey on Mnet and debuted as an actor in the TV series School 4 in 2001.[9] Thereafter, Gong did a number of supporting roles in dramas and movies and also hosted the music program Music Camp in 2004.

2005–2007: Coffee Prince and breakthrough[edit]

In 2005, he landed his first lead role in SBS's Hello My Teacher opposite Gong Hyo-jin.[10] This was followed by the romance melodrama One Fine Day in 2006.[11]

Gong Yoo was then cast in MBC's romantic comedy Coffee Prince, which became his breakout role. The popularity of the drama not only solidified his status as a leading man, but also made him a hallyu star.[12][13]

2008–2015: military enlistment and comeback[edit]

In January 2011

On January 14, 2008, Gong Yoo enlisted for the mandatory service, which ended on December 8, 2009.[14][15] He did 8 months of frontline active service in Cheorwon and was transferred to the Defense Media Agency, where he served in the public relations department and hosted as a DJ for the army radio station.[16] He was discharged in December 2009.

He made his comeback in the romantic comedy Finding Mr. Destiny, which was a medium box office hit in Korea.[17][18]

He then initiated and pursued the production of a theatrical adaptation of Gong Ji-young's novel The Crucible, a congratulatory gift from his senior for his promotion during enlistment.[19][20] This movie was internationally released under the title Silenced. Upon its release on September 22, 2011, the film sparked public outrage.[21] This led to a reopening of the investigations into the incidents on which the novel and film are based. Public demand for legislative reform reached the National Assembly, where a revised bill to target sex crimes against minors and the disabled, dubbed the Dogani Bill[22] after the Korean title of the film, was successfully passed in late October 2011.[23]

In December 2013

Gong Yoo then starred opposite Lee Min-jung in the romantic-comedy series Big written by the Hong sisters.[24] The drama was well-received, although it was criticized for its ending.[25]

In 2013, he returned to the big screen after a two-year gap in the movie The Suspect. He played an elite North Korean spy who defects after being betrayed by his country.[26][27] In November 2013, Gong Yoo was appointed as a special representative of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Korea, in conjunction with a celebration of the 24th year since the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was adopted. Following his appointment, he has visited countries around the world to raise awareness of the situation of children in underdeveloped countries.[28]

On July 7, 2014, Gong Yoo was named as an ambassador for the National Tax Service (NTS), alongside actress Ha Ji-won. The pair modeled for promotional posters and took part in street campaigns that encourage honest tax payment in support of the NTS.[29]

2016–present: career resurgence[edit]

Gong Yoo experienced a new high in his career with consecutive hit works in 2016.[30] His first film in 2016 was the melodrama A Man and a Woman alongside critically acclaimed actress Jeon Do-yeon.[31][32] He then starred in the hugely successful zombie blockbuster Train to Busan,[33] which surpassed 11 million admissions in South Korea.[34] He then starred in another box office hit The Age of Shadows,[35] which surpassed 6 million admissions in two weeks.[36]

In October 2021

In December 2016, Gong Yoo returned to television in Kim Eun-sook's fantasy-romance drama Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, playing the titular goblin.[37] The drama was a massive hit and Gong won Best Actor at the Baeksang Awards for his performance.[38][39]

In 2018, Gong Yoo was cast in the feminist film Kim Ji-young: Born 1982, which is his third collaboration with actress Jung Yu-mi (after Silenced and Train to Busan), Gong plays the role of Kim Ji-young's husband.[40]

In March 2020, Gong Yoo confirmed to make a special appearance in Kim Tae-yong's upcoming film Wonderland,

In 2021, Gong Yoo starred in Lee Yong-ju's action thriller film Seo Bok alongside Park Bo-gum. Gong plays a former intelligence agent who is caught up in the chase of catching the first human clone to uncover the secret to eternal life.[41][42] That year, he appeared as a recruiter salesman in Squid Game.

In December 2021, Gong Yoo appeared as team leader Han Yoon-jae alongside Bae Doona, Lee Joon, Kim Sun-young, and others in the Netflix original sci-fi thriller series The Silent Sea executive produced by Jung Woo-sung. Set in a distant dystopian future where Earth faces acute water shortage, the series follows an expedition team to an abandoned station on the moon. The fan response to the series was mixed, but it topped Netflix’s global charts to become the most-watched non-English series for week 2.[43] It was also appreciated by critics and scored a 100 per cent rating[44] on Rotten Tomatoes. The Forbes review called it one of Netflix’s “best sci-fi series to date.”[45]



Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2003 My Tutor Friend Lee Jong-soo [46]
2004 Spy Girl Choi Ko-bong [47]
Superstar Mr. Gam Park Chul-soo [48]
S Diary Yoo-in [49]
2005 She's on Duty Kang No-young [50]
2007 Like a Dragon Park Chul Film adaptation of video game Ryu Ga Gotoku [51]
2010 Finding Mr. Destiny Han Gi-joon Film adaptation of stage musical Finding Kim Jong-wook
2011 Silenced Kang In-ho Film adaptation of Gong Ji-young's novel The Crucible
2013 The Suspect Ji Dong-chul
2016 A Man and a Woman Ki-hong
Train to Busan Seok-woo
The Age of Shadows Kim Woo-jin
2019 Kim Ji-young: Born 1982 Jung Dae-hyun Film adaptation of Cho Nam Joo's novel Kim Ji-young: Born 1982
2021 Seo Bok Gi Heon
TBA Wonderland Special appearance; Netflix film

Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2001 School 4 Hwang Tae-young Episode 29–48
2002 Whenever the Heart Beats Park Chan-ho
Hard Love Seo Kyung-chul
2003 20 Years Seo Joon [52][53]
Best Theater: Flying Saucer Ki Jin Episode 533
Screen Kim Joon-pyo
My Room, Your Room Kim Sung-joon SayClub Internet Drama [54]
2005 Hello My Teacher Park Tae-in Lead Role
2006 One Fine Day Seo Gun
2007 Coffee Prince Choi Han-kyul
2012 Big Seo Yoon-jae / Kang Kyung-joon
2013 Dating Agency: Cyrano Magician Cameo (Episode 9) [55]
2016–2017 Guardian: The Lonely and Great God Goblin / Kim Shin Lead role
2021 Squid Game Recruiter Cameo (Episode 1 and 9) [56]
The Silent Sea Han Yoon-jae [57]

Music video appearances[edit]

Year Song title Artist Ref.
2014 "How I Am" Kim Dong-ryool [58]


Year Program Role Episodes Ref.
2004 Music Camp Host 2004.01.10–2004.07.03 [59]
2008–2009 장병가요 베스트 (Best Music) episodes 155~186 [60]
공유가 기다리는 20시 DJ 371 episodes [9]


Year Title Album Ref.
2012 "Because It's You" Big soundtrack [61]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Year Category Nominated work Result Ref.
16th KBS Drama Awards 2002 Best New Actor Hard Love Nominated
11th SBS Drama Awards 2003 New Star Award Screen Won [62]
13th SBS Drama Awards 2005 Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Hello My Teacher Nominated
25th MBC Drama Awards 2006 Special Award, Actor in a Miniseries One Fine Day Won [63]
1st Mnet 20's Choice Awards 2007 Best Style Won [64]
26th MBC Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actor Coffee Prince Won [65]
32nd Blue Dragon Film Awards 2011 Best Leading Actor Silenced Nominated
Popular Star Award Won [66]
48th Baeksang Arts Awards 2012 Best Actor (Film) Nominated
26th KBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Big Nominated
48th Taxpayers' Day 2014 Presidential Commendation Won [67]
19th Chunsa Film Art Awards Best Actor The Suspect Nominated
22nd Korea Culture and Entertainment Awards Won [68]
Korea Film Actors Association Awards 2016 Grand Prize (Daesang) A Man and a Woman Won [69]
BloodGuts UK Horror Awards Best Actor Train to Busan Nominated
11th Asian Film Awards 2017 Best Actor Nominated
iHorror Awards Best Actor Nominated
2017 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Nominated
22nd Chunsa Film Art Awards Nominated
Korea Advertisers Association Awards Best Model Award Won [70]
14th Seoul Creative Festival of Film Advertising Model of the Year Won [71]
53rd Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (TV) Guardian: The Lonely and Great God Won [39]
5th Annual DramaFever Awards Best Actor Won [72]
Best Couple (with Kim Go-eun) Won
Brand of the Year Awards Actor of the Year Won [73]
3rd Fashionista Awards Best Fashionista – TV & Film Division Nominated
Brand Customer Loyalty Award 2020 Advertising Model Won


Name of publisher, year listed, name of listicle, and placement
Publisher Year Listicle Placement Ref.
Forbes 2017 Korea Power Celebrity 27th [74]
2018 24th [75]


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External links[edit]