Lee Jong-suk

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Lee Jong-suk
Lee Jong-suk March 2018.png
Lee in March 2018
Born (1989-09-14) 14 September 1989 (age 31)
Yongin, South Korea
EducationKonkuk University
  • Actor
  • Model
Years active2005–present
AgentA-Man Project
Height186 cm (6 ft 1 in)[1]
Korean name
Revised RomanizationI Jong-seok
McCune–ReischauerYi Chongsŏk
WebsiteOfficial website

Lee Jong-suk (Korean이종석, born 14 September 1989) is a South Korean actor and model. He debuted in 2005 as a runway model, becoming the youngest male model ever to participate in Seoul Fashion Week. Lee's breakout role was in School 2013 (2012). He is also well known for his roles in I Can Hear Your Voice (2013), Doctor Stranger (2014), Pinocchio (2014), W (2016), While You Were Sleeping (2017), The Hymn of Death (2018) and Romance Is a Bonus Book (2019).


Lee majored in Professional Motion Pictures and Art at Konkuk University and graduated from the university in 2016.[2]


2005–2010: Beginnings[edit]

At 15, Lee began his modelling career at the Seoul Collection walkway in 2005, making him the youngest male model to debut in the Seoul Collection program at Seoul Fashion Week. Since then, he has walked in a number of fashion shows.[3][4]

Lee trained as an idol group member for three months, and had signed on with an agency to debut. However, he quit after the agency broke their promise of debuting him as an actor.[5] He took part in a selection for actors at SBS TV station when he was in middle school.[6]

In 2010, Lee made his official acting debut in the South Korean TV series Prosecutor Princess. He also made his big-screen debut in the horror movie Ghost.

2011–2013: Rising popularity and breakthrough[edit]

Lee started to gain recognition following his supporting role in the hit drama Secret Garden where he played a talented young composer with a surly attitude and a forbidden crush on the second male lead.[7][8] In 2011, he appeared in MBC's sitcom High Kick Season 3 where he gained further popularity.[9][10] Lee also co-starred in the film R2B: Return to Base in 2012, a loose remake of the critically acclaimed 1986 film Top Gun.[11]

At Vogue Fashion's Night Out, 2013

Lee's breakout role came as a high school student in the teen drama School 2013.[12][13] He received his first acting award for the role at the 2012 KBS Drama Awards under the category Best New Actor.[14] He also ranked fifth according to a survey entitled 'Actors Who Lit Up 2013' by Gallup Korea.[15]

Following the success of School 2013, Lee starred in the critically acclaimed drama series I Can Hear Your Voice with Lee Bo-young. He played Park Soo-ha, an intelligent young man who can read minds.[16] Originally slated for 16 episodes, the drama was extended by two episodes due to its successful ratings.[17] He received the Excellence Award in the male category at the Korea Drama Awards for his performance.[18] Lee then starred in the sports film No Breathing and had a supporting role in the box office hit The Face Reader.[19][20]

2014–present: Mainstream popularity[edit]

At W press conference, August 2016

In 2014, he starred in teen romantic comedy Hot Young Bloods, playing a cheesy womanizer.[21][22] Lee then starred in hit medical drama Doctor Stranger, playing a North Korean defector who works as a doctor in South Korea.[23] The drama was a success in China, gaining 400 million views.[24] Lee next starred in Pinocchio opposite actress Park Shin-hye,[25] and played the protagonist Choi Dal-po, a first year reporter at a broadcasting company who struggles with the idea of justice and truth in a world where everyone wants to hide the facts.[26] Pinocchio was another hit, with a reported revenue of 6.2 billion won (US$5.62 million) for broadcasting rights in just one year.[27][28] Lee's performances in the dramas Doctor Stranger and Pinocchio earned him acting accolades, including the Male Top Excellence Award at the 8th Korea Drama Awards.[29] He also became the youngest actor to win the Best Actor award at the 27th Grimae Awards, chosen by television cinematographers.[30]

Lee then embarked on an Asia fan-meeting tour, and released a photobook titled 2014-2015 Asia Tour Story ~With~, comprising photos taken of Lee's meetings with fans in seven Asian cities during the nine-month tour.[31] Lee was also cast in his first Chinese drama entitled Jade Lovers alongside actress Zheng Shuang. The drama, filmed in Shanghai, is described as a fantasy romance series set in the 1930s.[32] Due to Lee's success in China, a wax figure of him went on display in Hong Kong's Madame Tussauds, which the actor unveiled himself in a ceremony.[33] In December 2015, Lee left his previous agency Wellmade Yedang and signed an exclusive contract with YG Entertainment on 10 May 2016.[34]

In July 2016, Lee returned to the Korean small screen with MBC's fantasy thriller W alongside Han Hyo-joo.[35][36] The drama topped popularity charts in Korea[37] and Lee won the Daesang (Grand Prize) at the year-end MBC Drama Awards.[38] The same year, he co-starred in the promotional web drama First Seven Kisses for Lotte Duty Free.[39]

In 2017, Lee starred in the crime film VIP, marking his first lead role as a villain.[40][41] Lee then starred in the supernatural-procedural drama While You Were Sleeping alongside Bae Suzy in September.[42][43] In July of the same year, Lee was appointed Goodwill Ambassador for Korean tourism by the Korea Tourism Organization. The organization also released promotional videos featuring the actor, titled "8 Episodes of Korea", which focused on tourist spots in 10 different regions including Seoul, Gyeonggi, Gangwon, Jeju and Gyeongju.[44]

In 2018, Lee was cast in the two-episode drama The Hymn of Death, a remake of the 1991 film Death Song.[45][46] Lee signed with new management agency YNK Entertainment once his contract with YG Entertainment ended on 31 March 2018,[47] but terminated his contract five months later.[48] and established his own agency "A-man Project".[47]

In 2019, he starred in his first romantic comedy drama Romance Is a Bonus Book alongside Lee Na-young.[49][50]

Personal life[edit]

Lee is best friends with fellow model-actor and School 2013 co-star Kim Woo-bin, whom he has known since their modeling days. [51][52]

He is the owner of the dining cafe, 89Mansion.[53]

Military enlistment[edit]

Lee began his mandatory military service on 8 March 2019. Lee was deemed unfit to enlist as an active duty soldier as a result of going through a car accident when he was 16 and tore his anterior cruciate ligament. Therefore, he was confirmed to work as a public service officer, and was expected to be discharged on 31 December 2020. [54][55][56] He was finally discharged on 2 January 2021.[57]



Soundtrack appearances[edit]

Title Year Peak chart
Sales Album

"Come To Me" (내게 와) 2017 N/A While You Were Sleeping OST
"Would You Know" (그대는 알까요)
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2005 South Korean Superstar Selection Competition Star of New Advertising Models N/A Won
2006 SMART Model Contest Most Photogenic Award N/A Won
2011 4th Style Icon Awards SIA's Choice Award N/A Won [59]
2012 48th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Male Variety Performer High Kick: Revenge of the Short Legged Nominated
Most Popular Actor – Television Nominated
KBS Drama Awards Best New Actor School 2013 Won [14]
Netizen Award, Actor Nominated
2013 7th Mnet 20's Choice Awards 20's Drama Star – Male N/A Nominated
6th Korea Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actor I Can Hear Your Voice Won [18][60]
Best Couple Award with Lee Bo-young Won
6th Style Icon Awards The 21st Century Gentleman Won [61]
21st Korean Culture and Entertainment Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor Won [62]
Hallyu Grand Award Won
2nd APAN Star Awards Excellence Award, Actor Won [63]
Best Couple Award with Lee Bo-young Won
SBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Won [64]
Netizen Popularity Award Nominated
Best Couple Award with Lee Bo-young Nominated
Top 10 Stars Won
2014 9th Asia Model Festival Awards Model Star Award N/A Won [65]
50th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor – Television I Can Hear Your Voice Nominated
51st Grand Bell Awards Most Popular Actor Hot Young Bloods Nominated
9th Seoul International Drama Awards People's Choice Actor I Can Hear Your Voice Nominated
7th Korea Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor Doctor Stranger Nominated
7th Style Icon Awards Top 10 Style Icons N/A Nominated
27th Grimae Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor Pinocchio Won [66]
SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special Nominated [67]
SBS Special Award Pinocchio, Doctor Stranger Won
Netizen Popularity Award Nominated [67]
Best Couple Award with Park Shin-hye Pinocchio Won [67]
Top 10 Stars Pinocchio, Doctor Stranger Won [67]
2015 51st Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actor – Television Pinocchio Won [68]
2015 Korea Brand Stars Grand Prize (Daesang) N/A Won [69]
8th Korea Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor Pinocchio Won [29]
6th Korean Popular Culture & Arts Award Prime Minister Award N/A Won [70]
2016 5th APAN Star Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries W Nominated [71]
Best Couple Award with Han Hyo-joo Nominated
MBC Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) [72] Won [38]
Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Won
Best Couple Award with Han Hyo-joo Won
2017 SBS Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) While You Were Sleeping Nominated [73]
Top Excellence Award, Actor in Wednesday-Thursday Drama Won [74]
Best Couple Award with Bae Suzy Won [75]
2018 6th APAN Star Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Nominated [76]
K-Star Award Nominated


Name of publisher, year listed, name of listicle, and placement
Publisher Year Listicle Placement Ref.
Forbes 2015 Korea Power Celebrity 12th [77]


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