Lee Byung-hun

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For other uses, see Lee Byung-hun (disambiguation).
This is a Korean name; the family name is Lee.
Lee Byung-hun
Byung-hun Lee (29146030393).jpg
Lee Byung-hun at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival in Ontario, Canada.
Born (1970-08-13) August 13, 1970 (age 46)
Namhansanseong-myeon, Gwangju County, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea
(now Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea)
Nationality South Korean
Occupation Actor, model, singer
Agent BH Entertainment
Children 1
Website www.leebyunghun.kr
Korean name
Revised Romanization I Byeongheon
McCune–Reischauer Ri Pyŏnghŏn

Lee Byung-hun (Korean: 이병헌; born August 13, 1970) is a South Korean actor, singer and model. He has received critical acclaim for his work in a wide range of genres, most notably 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). Lee has starred in four films—Masquerade, Inside Men, Joint Security Area and The Good, the Bad, the Weird—on the list of highest-grossing films in South Korea.

In the United States, he is known for portraying Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) and its sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), and starring alongside Bruce Willis in Red 2 (2013). He portrayed a T-1000 in Terminator Genisys (2015). Lee was the first South Korean actor to present an Oscar at the annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[1][2] Lee, along with Ahn Sung-ki, were the first South Korean actors to imprint their hand and foot prints on the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles.


Lee's career began in 1991 after auditioning in a KBS talent audition and making his debut in the television drama Asphalt My Hometown.[3] He continued to act in various television dramas until he made his big breakthrough in 2000 with Park Chan-wook's Joint Security Area. The film broke the box office record and became the highest grossing Korean film at the time.[4] Lee's role as a border-guard soldier won him the Best Actor award at the Busan Film Critics Awards.[5]

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.[6]

From 2005, he focused on film, earning critical acclaim for his performance in A Bittersweet Life directed by Kim Jee-woon which was screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival.[7] 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 Jee-woon in The Good, the Bad, the Weird, taking on his first villain role.[8] The film was screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival.[9] 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.[10]

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.[11] 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.[12]

In 2010 Lee starred in I Saw the Devil with Choi Min-sik, his third collaboration with Kim Jee-woon, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. His portrayal of the intelligence agent won him the Grand Prize at the Baeksang Arts Awards.[13]

In 2013, he reprised his role as Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: Retaliation.[14][15] 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.[16] In October, he won Best Actor at the Grand Bell Awards for his dual role in the lavish period drama Gwanghae.[17] The film was a box office hit, becoming the 7th film in Korean history to surpass 10 million admissions.[18]

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.[19][20] Lee played a T-1000 in Terminator Genisys (2015), opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger.[21] Lee and Schwarzenegger previously met in 2010, when Schwarzenegger visited Korea while Lee was the Californian Tourism Ambassador.

On 28 February 2016, Lee attended the 88th Academy Awards and presented the "Best Foreign Language Film" award with actress Sofia Vergara. He was the first Korean actor to present an award at the Oscars.[22]

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.[23]

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

Personal life[edit]

Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea. He has a younger sister, Lee Eun-hee, who was Miss Korea in 1996. 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.[24][25]

Lee married actress Lee Min-jung on August 10, 2013 at the Grand Hyatt Seoul.[26] The couple had briefly dated in 2006, then resumed their relationship in 2012.[27] Lee's wife gave birth to their first child, a son, Lee Joon-hoo born on March 31, 2015.[28]

Blackmail scandal[edit]

In September 2014, Lee was embroiled in a legal battle with two women, singer Dahee from K-pop girl group GLAM and model Lee Ji-yeon who blackmailed him for large sums of money in exchange for not revealing a compromising video of the actor Lee making sexual jokes. The two women were sentenced to a year and a year and two months in jail respectively, both suspended for two years.[29]



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 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 Min-woo (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 The Influence W
Iris: The Movie Kim Hyun-jun
I Saw the Devil Kim Soo-hyeon
2012 Masquerade (Gwanghae: The Man Who Became King) King Gwanghae, Beggar Ha-sun[30]
2013 G.I. Joe: Retaliation Storm Shadow
RED 2 Han Cho-bai
2015 Terminator Genisys Cop / T-1000[31]
Memories of the Sword Deok-gi / Song Yoo-baek
Inside Men Ahn Sang-goo
2016 Misconduct The Accountant
The Age of Shadows Jeong Chae-san (cameo)[32]
The Magnificent Seven Billy Rocks
Master President Jin[33]
2017 Single Rider Kang Jae-hoon


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[34]



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. ^ "Lee Byung-hun to present at Oscars". The Korea Times. January 24, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Actor Lee Byung-hun, 3 other Koreans named new Academy members". The Korea Times. June 30, 2016. 
  3. ^ "YumCha! - Lee Byung Hun - Man of the World - Feature Article - North America Site". Yesasia. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  4. ^ "Joint Security Area". koreanfilm.org. Retrieved 2010-10-28. 
  5. ^ "List of Pusan Film Critics Awards". Korean-drama-guide.com. 2013-02-06. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  6. ^ "Baek Sang Art Awards (2006)". imdb.com. Retrieved 12 September 2016. 
  7. ^ "Festival de Cannes: A Bittersweet Life". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Good, the Bad, and the Weird". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  10. ^ [2][dead link]
  11. ^ "Lee Byung-hun in Expensive Spy Drama Series IRIS". Beyond Hollywood. 
  12. ^ [3][dead link]
  13. ^ [4][dead link]
  14. ^ Park Soo-mee. "Lee Byung-hun to Reprise 'G.I. Joe' Role". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  15. ^ "'G.I. Joe 2′ Gets a Release Date; But Will We See The Cast Return?". The Film Stage. 
  16. ^ "Ahn Sung-ki, Lee Byung-hun to Leave Handprints in Hollywood". Chosun Ilbo. April 26, 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2012. 
  17. ^ "'Gwanghae' sweeps Korean Oscars". The Korea Times. October 31, 2012. 
  18. ^ Lee, Rachel (October 21, 2012). "'Masquerade,' 7th film to reach 10 million viewers". The Korea Times. 
  19. ^ Chitwood, Adam. "Catherine Zeta-Jones and Byung-Hun Lee Join Bruce Willis and More in RED 2". Collider. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  20. ^ Schwartz, Terri (2012-05-11). "'Red 2' Adds Catherine Zeta-Jones, Byung-Hun Lee". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  21. ^ "'G.I. Joe,' 'Mad Men' and 'House of Cards' Actors Join 'Terminator: Genesis' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. March 31, 2014. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Lee Byung-hun, Sumi Jo attend Academy Awards". Koreaherald.com. 2016-02-29. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  23. ^ "Trash: BH Shop - Sinsadong Garosu-gil Road Branch (신사동 가로수길-이병헌 스타샵) | Official Korea Tourism Organization". English.visitkorea.or.kr. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  24. ^ "Byung-Hun Lee Talks Storm Shadow and "G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2012-05-13. 
  25. ^ "Q&A - G.I. Joe Star Byung-hun Lee Explains Storm Shadow's Martial Arts Style". ACMTV. Retrieved 2012-05-13. 
  26. ^ Lee, Eun-ah (10 August 2013). "Lee Byung-hun, Rhee Min-jung Walk Down the Aisle Today". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  27. ^ Cho Chung-un, Lee Woo-young (19 August 2012). "Top actors say they are dating". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  28. ^ Choi, He-suk. "Lee Min-jung gives birth to son". The Korea Herald. The Korea Herald. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  29. ^ "Lee Byung-hun's blackmailers get suspended jail terms". The Korea Herald/Yonhap News. The Korea Herald. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  30. ^ "Lee Byung-hun to star in ‘The Prince and the Pauper’ remake" JoongAng Ilbo 15 November 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-23
  31. ^ "'Terminator: Genesis' Call Sheet Reveals Byung-hun Lee's Role As T-1000". screenrelish.com. Retrieved May 27, 2014. 
  32. ^ "OSEN - '밀정' 이병헌, 의열단장 정채산으로 특별출연". Osen.mt.co.kr. 2016-08-20. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  33. ^ "꽃보다청춘 강하늘,"여자 잘 몰라" 말했다가 김우빈 "한번 폭로해 볼까?"". News.donga.com. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  34. ^ "Lee Byung Hun in Absolute Cinema Experience". wordpress.com. 7 May 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2016. 

External links[edit]