Jung Il-woo

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Jung Il-woo
K Travel Bus 04 (cropped).jpg
Jung in 2016
Born (1987-09-09) 9 September 1987 (age 33)
Seoul, South Korea
Alma materHanyang University
OccupationActor , TV host
Years active2006–present
Korean name
Revised RomanizationJeong Ir-u
McCune–ReischauerChŏng Iru

Jung Il-woo (Korean정일우; born 9 September 1987) is a South Korean actor. He is best known for his roles in the sitcom Unstoppable High Kick (2006), and the television dramas The Return of Iljimae (2009), 49 Days (2011), Cool Guys, Hot Ramen (2011), Moon Embracing the Sun (2012) and Cinderella with Four Knights (2016).

Early life[edit]

The son of a former television news anchorman, Jung Il-woo studied Broadcasting at the Seoul Institute of the Arts, then later dropped out and transferred to the Theater and Film department of Hanyang University.[2]

In August 2006, Jung sustained injuries in a serious car accident while riding with childhood friend and fellow actor Lee Min-ho, who was badly injured in the accident.[3]


2006–2010: Beginnings and rising popularity[edit]

Jung made his acting debut in 2006 with a minor role in the thriller The World of Silence,[4] but he first rose to fame playing a rebellious teen and motorcycle fanatic with a crush on his teacher in daytime family sitcom Unstoppable High Kick.[5][6] He then joined the ensemble cast of 2007 romantic comedy film My Love.[7][8]

In 2009, Jung starred in his first leading role as a young warrior battling injustice in historical drama The Return of Iljimae.[9][10][11][12][13] This was followed by a supporting role in romantic comedy My Fair Lady, as an idealistic, upper-class lawyer.[14] He further challenged himself when he made his stage debut in 2010 as an HIV-positive gay man in the sold-out play Beautiful Sunday, written by Japanese playwright Mayumi Nakatani.[15]

2011–present: Breakout and overseas popularity[edit]

Jung's breakout role was in 2011 tearjerker 49 Days, in which he portrayed the Scheduler, a witty modern-day Grim Reaper.[16][17][18][19] His popularity increased with his leading man turn in 2011 cable romantic comedy Cool Guys, Hot Ramen, in which he played an arrogant, immature yet lovable chaebol heir.[20][21] A supporting role in hit 2012 historical drama Moon Embracing the Sun followed; Jung played a prince who becomes his half-brother's rival in love and for the throne.[22][23][24][25]

Following the success of Cool Guys, Hot Ramen and Moon Embracing the Sun, Jung was launched to stardom as a Hallyu star.[26][27][28][29] He won the Asia Male Actor award at Beijing's Huading Awards, the first non-Chinese entertainer to be nominated at the awards show since it began in 2005.[30][31]

From 2013 to 2014, he played a prosecutor who falls in love with a girl from a family of orphans in Golden Rainbow.[32][33][34][35] This was followed by a leading role as a prince turned ghost-seeing night watchman who patrols the palace after curfew and keeps the king and his citizens safe, in the supernatural period drama Diary of a Night Watchman.[36][37][38][39]

In 2015, Jung starred in the Korean-Chinese web drama High-End Crush opposite Jin Se-yeon.[40] In less than a month, the drama series recorded over 200 million views.[41] Jung then starred in the Chinese romantic comedy film Rise of a Tomboy, where he plays the CEO of an IT firm who helps a girl develop a love formula for a mobile app.[42]

In January 2016, Jung signed with a new management agency, HB Entertainment.[43] Jung made his return to Korean television in tvN's romantic comedy Cinderella with Four Knights, playing a lonely and wild-child rebel who is not yet used to being a member of a rich family, having lived most of his life as an orphan.[44]

In 2017, Jung starred in Gon Rak Game Ma Ya (also known as Love and Lies), making him the first Korean actor to land a leading role in a Thailand drama.[45] The drama emerged as a local sensation, and led to a rise of popularity for Jung in the country.[46]

In 2019, Jung starred in the historical action drama Haechi. This marks his first project after enlistment.[47][48]

Personal life[edit]

Jung is close friends with fellow actors Lee Min-ho and Kim Bum.[49][50]

In November 2016, he was diagnosed with a cerebral aneurysm. Although this would have exempted him from his mandatory military service, Jung enlisted in December 2016.[51] Jung was discharged on November 30, 2018.[52]


Television series[edit]

Year English title Original title Role Network Notes
2006-2007 Unstoppable High Kick 거침없이 하이킥 Lee Yoon-ho MBC
2008 The Secret of Coocoo Island 크크섬의 비밀 Lee Yoon-ho cameo, episode 1[53]
2009 The Return of Iljimae 돌아온 일지매 Iljimae
My Fair Lady 아가씨를 부탁해 Lee Tae-yoon KBS2
High Kick Through the Roof 지붕 뚫고 하이킥 Il-woo MBC cameo, episode 35[54]
2011 49 Days 49일 Scheduler/Song Yi-soo SBS
Cool Guys, Hot Ramen 꽃미남 라면가게 Cha Chi-soo tvN
High Kick: Revenge of the Short Legged 하이킥! : 짧은 다리의 역습 Il-woo MBC cameo, episode 40[55]
2012 Moon Embracing the Sun 해를 품은 달 Prince Yang-myung
2013 The Queen of Office 직장의 신 Cha Chi-soo KBS2 cameo, episode 3
2013-2014 Golden Rainbow 황금 무지개 Seo Do-young MBC
2014 Diary of a Night Watchman 야경꾼일지 Lee Rin
2015 High-End Crush 고품격 짝사랑 Choi Se-hoon Naver TV Cast South Korean-Chinese web drama
2016 Cinderella with Four Knights 신데렐라와 네 명의 기사 Kang Ji-woon tvN
2017 Love and Lies กลรักเกมมายา Tim True4U Thai drama
2019 Haechi 해치 Prince Lee Geum SBS
2020 Sweet Munchies 야식남녀 Park Jin-sung JTBC
TBA Beautiful Woman 女人花似梦 Kim Moon-ho Chinese drama[56]
The Girls' Lies 恋人的谎言 Lantian Chinese drama[57]


Year English title Original title Role Notes
2006 The World of Silence 조용한 세상 young Ryu Jung-ho
2007 My Love 내사랑 Ji-woo
2016 The Rise of a Tomboy 女汉子真爱公式 Ge Yang [58]
2018 The Discloser 1급기밀 Kang Young-woo Cameo[59]

Music video appearances[edit]

Year Song Title Hangul Artist Notes
2007 "This Is Me" 이게 나예요 SAT [60]
"Goodbye Sadness" 굿바이 새드니스 (Part 1: 오죽했으면 / Part 2: 그러니까) Goo Jung-hyun [61]

Reality show[edit]

Year Title Network Notes
2011 One More Time – Jung Il-woo MTV Korea [62]

Variety show[edit]

Year Title Network Notes
2019-2020 Stars' Top Recipe at Fun-Staurant KBS2 Cast/chef (episodes 1-20)[63]


Year Title Hangul Role Notes
2010 Beautiful Sunday 뷰티풀 선데이 Lee Joon-seok
2019 The Elephant Song 엘리펀트송 Michael


Year Title Hangul Notes
2009 "Guilty" 죽일 놈 narration for Dynamic Duo song[64]
2011 "Scarecrow" 허수아비 track from 49 Days OST[65]
"Someone Like You" 너란 사람 track from Cool Guys, Hot Ramen OST[66]
2014 "Rain Tears Instead" 차라리 비눈물에 track from Diary of a Night Watchman OST, duet with Nicole Jung[67]
2016 "Heartbeat" track from The Rise of a Tomboy (女汉子真爱公式)
2017 "My All" track from Love & Lies (กลรักเกมมายา) thai drama

Social activities[edit]

Year Event Notes
2011 12th Jeonju International Film Festival Honorary ambassador[68][69][70]
Canadian Tourism Commission Honorary ambassador[71][72]
TOTO Workshop Official mentor[73]
2012 4th Japan-Korea Friendship Festival Korean representative[74][75][76]
2016 K Travel Bus Public Relations ambassador[77]
2018 National Museum of Korea Public Relations ambassador[78]
2019 Seoul Catholic Social Welfare Association Ambassador
2019 National Center for Trauma Ambassador

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2007 44th Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actor (Film) My Love Nominated
9th Mnet KM Music Festival Best Actor in a Music Video Goodbye Sadness Won [79]
1st Mnet 20's Choice Awards New Star Award Unstoppable High Kick Won [80]
Drama Star Award Won
MBC Entertainment Awards Best Male Newcomer in a Comedy/Sitcom Won [81]
2009 2nd Korea Junior Star Awards Daesang (Grand Prize), TV category The Return of Iljimae Won [82]
KBS Drama Awards Best New Actor My Fair Lady Nominated
2012 48th Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actor (TV) Moon Embracing the Sun Nominated
7th Asia Model Festival Awards Fashionista Award 49 Days, Cool Guys, Hot Ramen Won [83]
2nd Ministry of Health and Welfare Share Happiness Awards Recipient N/A Won [84]
7th Huading Awards Asia Male Actor Award N/A Won [30]
MBC Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Moon Embracing the Sun Nominated
Popularity Award, Actor Nominated
2013 MBC Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actor in a Special Project Drama Golden Rainbow Nominated
2014 Cosmo Beauty Awards Forever Young Icon Male Star N/A Won [85]
MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Special Project Drama Diary of a Night Watchman Won [86]
Popularity Award, Actor Nominated
Best Couple Award with Ko Sung-hee Nominated
2015 Asia Influence Eastern Awards Most Celebrated Actor N/A Won [87]
2016 11th Asia Model Festival Awards Asian Special Actor Award N/A Won [88]
2019 KBS Entertainment Awards Rookie Award in Show & Entertainment Convenience Store Restaurant Won
SBS Drama Awards Producer Award Haechi Nominated
Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Mid-length Drama Nominated
Best Couple Award with Go Ara Nominated


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External links[edit]