Lee Sun-kyun

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Lee Sun-kyun
161026 이선균.jpg
Lee in 2016.
Born (1975-03-02) March 2, 1975 (age 43)
South Korea
Education Korea National University of Arts - BFA in Acting[1]
Occupation Actor
Years active 2001–present
Agent Hodoo Entertainment
Jeon Hye-jin (m. 2009)
Children 2
Korean name
Hangul 이선균
Revised Romanization Lee Seon-gyun
McCune–Reischauer I Sŏnkyun

Lee Sun-kyun (Hangul이선균; born March 2, 1975)[2] is a South Korean actor. After beginning his career in musical theatre, for many years Lee was relegated to minor and supporting roles onscreen, only getting to play lead characters in one-act dramas on KBS Drama City and MBC Best Theater. In one such Best Theater project, he worked with TV director Lee Yoon-jung on Taereung National Village (2005), which led to him being cast in her later series The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince in 2007. Coffee Prince, along with medical drama White Tower brought Lee mainstream popularity, which he followed with Pasta (2010) and Golden Time (2012).

Meanwhile, on the big screen, he received a Best Actor award from the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival for his role in Paju (2009), followed by critical acclaim for mystery thriller Helpless (2012), romantic comedy All About My Wife (2012), and crime/black comedy A Hard Day (2014). Lee also continues to collaborate with auteur Hong Sang-soo, and his arthouse films with Hong include Night and Day (2008), Oki's Movie (2010), and Nobody's Daughter Haewon (2013).


Lee Sun-kyun entered the Korea National University of Arts in 1994, and graduated in the first ever batch of its School of Drama. In 2001, he made his acting debut as Brad Majors in the stage musical The Rocky Horror Show.[3]

Playing small supporting roles for many years, he eventually achieved his breakthrough in 2007 with the critically lauded medical drama White Tower and the highly popular romantic series The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince.[4] Besides Coffee Prince, he has worked with director Lee Yoon-jung two other times—in the sports-themed Taereung National Village in 2005, and in slice-of-life drama Triple in 2009.[5]

Lee was appointed as ambassador for the Health Insurance Review Agency in 2007, and won an award from the Korea Advertisers Association in 2008.

Despite his burgeoning fame, Lee then turned to low-budget arthouse films to polish his acting caliber. Night and Day, Lost in the Mountains, Oki's Movie, Nobody's Daughter Haewon and Our Sunhi were all directed by Hong Sang-soo, an auteur renowned for his realistic portrayal of ordinary lives.[3] Lee also headlined Paju,[6] for which he won the Best Actor award at the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival held in Spain. Film distributor Myung Film quoted the judging committee as handing Lee high points for portraying the anguish his character felt for loving his wife's younger sister.[7]

With Pasta, in which he played a brilliant-but-abrasive chef, Lee successfully shook off his "gentle" TV drama image,[8] and the series' popularity made him a bankable romantic leading man.[9][10][11] Petty Romance reunited him with his My Sweet Seoul co-star Choi Kang-hee,[12][13][14] and one-upmanship action comedy Officer of the Year (also known as Arrest King) soon followed.[15][16]

Lee showed his support for the revival of Drama Special (formerly Drama City) by starring in Our Slightly Risque Relationship (his acting was later recognized at the KBS Drama Awards). He has continually defended the importance of the short drama format as a training ground for young talent, acknowledging its contribution to his own career.[17]

In 2012, he starred in two consecutive well-reviewed big-screen hits—mystery thriller Helpless[18] and romantic comedy All About My Wife.[19][20] Reuniting with Pasta director Kwon Seok-jang, Lee played a trauma doctor in Golden Time.[21][22][23][24] His third collaboration with Kwon was Miss Korea, a drama set amidst the IMF crisis in the 1990s.[25][26]

Lee returned to the theater opposite wife Jeon Hye-jin in Mike Bartlett's stage play Love, Love, Love in 2013.[27] The following year, he headlined the film A Hard Day, which screened at the Directors' Fortnight section of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, and became a critically acclaimed sleeper hit at the box office.[28][29][30] In 2015, Lee starred in courtroom drama film The Advocate: A Missing Body.[31][32]

Personal life[edit]

Lee married his girlfriend of seven years, actress Jeon Hye-jin on May 23, 2009.[33][34][35]

Their sons were born on November 25, 2009, and August 9, 2011.



Year Title Role Notes
2000 Psycho Drama Park Dong-woo short film
2002 Make It Big Woo Jung-chul
Surprise Party the real Kim Jung-woo
A Perfect Match Doctor
Boss X-File Gangster
2003 Goodbye Day short film
Scent of Love Doctor Shin
Show Show Show Sang-chul [36]
Survival Meeting Game short film
2004 Hitchhiking Man short film
My Mother, the Mermaid Do-hyeon
Love, So Divine Man in lovey dovey couple
R-Point Sergeant Park
2005 Curry and Rice Story short film
Erotic Chaos Boy
2006 The Customer Is Always Right Lee Jang-gil
A Cruel Attendance Cheon Man-ho
2007 Our Town Jae-shin [37]
2008 Night and Day Yoon Kyeong-soo
Sa-kwa Min-seok
Romantic Island Kang Jae-hyuk [38]
2009 Lost in the Mountains Myeong-woo short film from
Jeonju Digital Project Visitors
Paju Kim Joong-shik
2010 Oki's Movie Nam Jin-gu
Petty Romance Jeong Bae
2011 Officer of the Year Jung Eui-chan
2012 Helpless Jang Mun-ho
All About My Wife Lee Doo-hyun
2013 Nobody's Daughter Haewon Lee Seong-joon
Our Sunhi Mun-su
2014 A Hard Day Ko Gun-su
2015 The Advocate: A Missing Body Byeon Ho-sung
2017 The King's Case Note Yejong of Joseon [39]
Man of Will Go Jong Special appearance
A Special Lady Im Sang-hoon [40]
2019 Take Point Yoon Ji-eui [41]
Bad Police [42]
Parasite [43]
Kingmaker: The Fox of the Election [44]

Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Network Notes
2002 Lovers Lee Sun-kyun MBC
2003 Thousand Years of Love Pil-ga SBS
MBC Best Theater "Chakhan Dangshin Loveholic" MBC
MBC Best Theater "Dad Romeo, Mom Juliet"
Drama City "18-year-old Bride" KBS2
2004 Drama City "Semi-transparent" Dong-soo
Drama City "Dr. Love"
2005 Drama City "Love of a Spider Woman"
Drama City "Innocent Love"
Loveholic Kim Tae-hyun
MBC Best Theater "Taereung National Village" Lee Dong-kyung MBC
2006 Fugitive Lee Doo-yong Noh Cheol-ki KBS2
MBC Best Theater "Behind" MBC
2007 White Tower Choi Do-young
The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince Choi Han-sung
2008 My Sweet Seoul Kim Young-soo SBS
2009 Triple Jo Hae-yoon MBC
2010 Pasta Choi Hyun-wook
Drama Special "Our Slightly Risque Relationship" Ki Dong-chan KBS2
2012 Golden Time Lee Min-woo MBC
2013 Miss Korea Kim Hyung-joon
2016 Listen to Love Do Hyun-woo JTBC [45]
Don't Dare to Dream Na-ri's blind date
(voice, ep. 15)
2018 My Mister Park Dong-hoon tvN [46]

Variety show[edit]

Year Title Network Notes
2013 March: A Story of Friends SBS Cast member

Music video[edit]

Year Song title Artist
1999 "It's OK" Bijou
2001 "You Remain in My Heart" Lucid Fall
2007 "Arirang" SG Wannabe
2008 "Between Hidden Time" Yoon Gun
2012 "Deep Night Sad Song" E2RE


Year Title Role
2001 The Rocky Horror Show
2003 Grease Danny Zuko
2005 Indangsu Love Song
2013 Love, Love, Love Kenneth


Year Song title Notes
2007 "Ocean Voyage (Choi Han-sung version)" Track from The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince OST
2008 "My Sweet City" Track from My Sweet Seoul OST
"Romantic Christmas" Duet with Eugene;
track from Romantic Island Christmas Story single
"Boy" Track from Yoon Sang's Song Book: Play With Him album
2010 "Kangaroo" Duet with Choi Kang-hee; track from Petty Romance OST

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2007 43rd Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actor (TV) White Tower Nominated
MBC Drama Awards Golden Acting Award, Actor in a Miniseries[47] Won
Excellence Award, Actor The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince Nominated
2008 Korea Advertisers Association Good Model Award N/A Won
2010 11th Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival Best Actor Paju Won
CETV Awards Top 10 Asian Stars Pasta Won
MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor Nominated
Best Couple Award with Gong Hyo-jin[48] Won
KBS Drama Awards Best Actor in a One-Act/Drama Special[49] Our Slightly Risque Relationship Won
2012 5th Herald DongA TV Lifestyle Awards Best Dressed[50] N/A Won
MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Golden Time Nominated
2014 23rd Buil Film Awards Best Actor A Hard Day Nominated
35th Blue Dragon Film Awards Nominated
MBC Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Miss Korea Nominated
2015 20th Chunsa Film Art Awards Best Actor A Hard Day Nominated
51st Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film)[51] Won


  1. ^ "Outstanding Alumni". Korea National University of Arts. Archived from the original on 2014-05-08. Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  2. ^ "이선균" [Lee Sun-kyun]. Daum 100 (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-05-07. 
  3. ^ a b "LEE Sun-kyun". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2012-09-01.
  4. ^ "Political drama isn't TV". Korea JoongAng Daily. 17 February 2007. 
  5. ^ Oh, Jean (10 June 2009). "MBC's new series a Triple threat". The Korea Herald. 
  6. ^ "Lee Seon-kyun Comments on His Role in Paju". KBS Global. 27 October 2009. 
  7. ^ Hong, Lucia (30 March 2010). "Lee Sun-kyun wins best male actor at Las Palmas film fest". 10Asia.
  8. ^ Choi, Ji-eun (29 December 2009). "Lee Sun-kyun says not pressured by new image in Pasta". 10Asia.
  9. ^ Beck, Una (7 April 2010). "Interview: Actor Lee Sun-kyun - Part 1". 10Asia.
  10. ^ Beck, Una (7 April 2010). "Interview: Actor Lee Sun-kyun - Part 2". 10Asia.
  11. ^ Beck, Una (7 April 2010). "Interview: Actor Lee Sun-kyun - Part 3". 10Asia.
  12. ^ Beck, Una (14 October 2010). "PIFF Interview - Actor Lee Sun-kyun". 10Asia. 
  13. ^ Wee, Geun-woo (9 December 2010). "Interview: Actor Lee Sun-kyun - Part 1". 10Asia.
  14. ^ Wee, Geun-woo (9 December 2010). "Interview: Actor Lee Sun-kyun - Part 2". 10Asia.
  15. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (28 April 2011). "Arrest gives '90s comedy zesty spin". The Korea Times.
  16. ^ Park Joong Hoon: "Playing Detective Is Both Easy and Difficult". KBS Global. 8 April 2011.
  17. ^ Chae, Ki-won (1 June 2010). "Lee Sun-gyun says single-episode dramas "got me where I am"". 10Asia.
  18. ^ Oh, Mi-jung (13 March 2012). "Lee Sun Gyun Didn't Really Want to be in Helpless at First". enewsWorld. 
  19. ^ Suk, Monica (15 March 2012). "Lee Sun-kyun, Lim Soo-jung film to be released May 17". 10Asia.
  20. ^ "'Helpless': director's oversight drags film down". The Korea Times. 8 March 2012. 
  21. ^ Suk, Monica (20 June 2012). "Lee Sun-kyun to play doctor in new TV series to mark Golden Time of his life". 10Asia.
  22. ^ Suk, Monica (25 June 2012). "Photos of Lee Sun-kyun, Hwang Jung-eum in surgical gowns for Golden Time unveiled". 10Asia. 
  23. ^ Oh, Jean (2 July 2012). "New medical drama 'cheery' and 'goofy'?". The Korea Herald. 
  24. ^ "Lee Sun-kyun in Golden Time". MBC Global Media. 12 August 2012. 
  25. ^ "Lee Sun-kyun picks project". Korea JoongAng Daily. 1 November 2013. 
  26. ^ "Lee Yeon-hee, Lee Sun-kyun to Pair Up for New MBC Series". 10Asia. 31 October 2013. 
  27. ^ "Actress Jeon Hye-Jin and actor Lee Seon-Kyun's sparkling youth, Love, Love, Love". K-PopCulture. 24 May 2013. 
  28. ^ Kim, Hee-eun (18 April 2014). "Two hot actors to star in new thriller". Korea JoongAng Daily. 
  29. ^ Conran, Pierce (23 April 2014). "Director's Fortnight to Have A HARD DAY". Korean Film Biz Zone. 
  30. ^ "'The irritated guy' returns to the screen". Korea JoongAng Daily. 22 October 2015. 
  31. ^ Baek, Byung-yeul (5 October 2015). "Hard Day star Lee shows egoist-turned hero lawyer in Advocate". The Korea Times. 
  32. ^ Kim, Yeon-ji (22 October 2015). "'The irritated guy' returns to the screen". Korea JoongAng Daily. 
  33. ^ 타 웨딩스토리: 이선균&전혜진 커플 (in Korean). iWedding. 23 May 2009. 
  34. ^ "2009 결혼한 스타들" (in Korean). Naver. 23 May 2009. 
  35. ^ Oh, Seol-hye (3 May 2012). "Lee Sun-gyun "My wife speaks honest and direct"". StarN News.
  36. ^ "Getting Back to Good Old Times, But in Awkward Way". The Donga Ilbo. 24 February 2013. 
  37. ^ "Our Town Deconstructs Murder". The Korea Times. 22 November 2007. 
  38. ^ "Romantic Island Loses Spark". The Korea Times. 25 December 2008. 
  39. ^ "LEE Sun-kyun and AHN Jae-hong Join Forces in THE KING'S CASEBOOK". Korean Film Biz Zone. 8 March 2016. 
  40. ^ "KIM Hye-soo, LEE Sun-kyun Team up for PRECIOUS WOMAN". Korean Film Biz Zone. 21 September 2015. 
  41. ^ "LEE Sun-kyun Joins THE TERROR, LIVE Team for PMC". Korean Film Biz Zone. 21 July 2017. 
  42. ^ "LEE Sun-kyun Joins Warner Bros.' BAD POLICE". Korean Film Biz Zone. 24 February 2017. 
  43. ^ "BONG Joon-ho's upcoming movie PARASITE Confirms Cast". Korean Film Biz Zone. 9 February 2018. 
  44. ^ "SUL Kyung-gu & BYUN Sung-hyun Reunite for KINGMAKER: THE FOX OF THE ELECTION". Korean Film Biz Zone. 30 July 2018. 
  45. ^ "Song Ji-hyo and Lee Sun-kyun to co-star in JTBC drama". The Korea Herald. 10 August 2016. 
  46. ^ "Comforting life through meeting 'My Mister'". The Korea Herald. 12 April 2018. 
  47. ^ "2007 Year-end Korean drama awards round-up". Hancinema. 7 January 2008. 
  48. ^ "Kim Nam-joo, Han Hyo-joo win grand prize at MBC Acting Awards". 10Asia. 3 January 2011. 
  49. ^ "Jang Hyuk scores top prize at KBS Drama Awards". 10Asia. 3 January 2011. 
  50. ^ "Herald Donga TV Lifestyle Awards presented". The Korea Herald. 6 December 2012. 
  51. ^ "CHOI Min-shik and REVIVRE Triumph at 51st Paeksang Arts Awards". Korean Film Biz Zone. 27 May 2015. 

External links[edit]