Ma Dong-seok

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Ma Dong-seok
Don Lee by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Ma at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con
Lee Dong-seok

(1971-03-01) March 1, 1971 (age 51)
Other namesDon Lee
CitizenshipUnited States
EducationColumbus State Community College
Years active2005–present
AgentBig Punch Entertainment
Ye Jung-hwa
(m. 2021)
Korean name
Revised RomanizationMa Dong-seok
McCune–ReischauerMa Tongsŏk
Birth name
Revised RomanizationI Dong-seok
McCune–ReischauerI Tongsŏk

Ma Dong-seok (born Lee Dong-seok on March 1, 1971), also known as Don Lee, is a South Korean–American actor. With his breakout performance in Train to Busan and subsequent leading roles, he has become one of South Korea's most successful actors. He was Gallup Korea's Film Actor of the Year in 2018.[3]

Early life[edit]

Ma was born on March 1, 1971.[4] He has American citizenship.[5] He lived in Ohio and attended Columbus State before returning to South Korea to pursue his acting career.


Ma rose to fame for his supporting roles in the films The Neighbor, Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time, and The Unjust.[6] He then played leading roles in Norigae, Murderer, and One on One.[7][8]

Ma's role in the zombie film Train to Busan propelled him to international popularity.[9] His subsequent leading roles in films Derailed, The Bros, The Outlaws, Unstoppable, Champion, The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil, The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos and The Roundup along with supporting roles in Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days and Ashfall have met with critical and commercial successes led him to Most Bankable Star of Korean Cinema.[10][11][12][13] Although known for his 'tough guy' persona roles, Ma is often celebrated and criticized for playing similar roles in his movies.[14] In 2019, he joined the cast of the MCU film Eternals as Gilgamesh which marked his Hollywood debut.[15]

On television, Ma is known for his roles in the hit OCN series Bad Guys and Squad 38.[16][17]

In 2022, Ma signed a contract with LDH Japan, another large Japanese agency.[18] His 2022 release action crime thriller The Roundup, sequel to his 2017 film The Outlaws not only opened to unanimous positive reviews but also became the highest grossing film of 2022 by surpassing 12 million admissions for the first time since 2019 and all time 3rd highest grosser in South Korea.[19][20][21]

Other activities[edit]

Ma in 2016

Under his Westernized name, Don Lee, and before he turned to acting, Ma was the personal trainer of mixed martial artists Mark Coleman and Kevin Randleman.[22]

With his production company Team Gorilla,[23] Ma is currently involved in planning and writing screenplays. He worked on the screenplay for the film Deep Trap, in which he starred.[24] He is also the co-creator of the OCN Dramatic Cinema series Team Bulldog: Off-Duty Investigation.[25]


Ma Dong-seok
Personal information
Birth nameLee Dong-seok
Born (1971-03-01) March 1, 1971 (age 51)
Seoul, South Korea
Height178 cm (5 ft 10 in)
Weight90 kg (199 lb)

Ma has been an amateur armwrestler since 2008, and he became the president of Korea Armwrestling Federation in 2018.[26]

Personal life[edit]

In 2016, Ma was reportedly dating sports reporter and media personality Ye Jung-hwa.[4] On October 20, 2022, Ma's agency stated that he and Ye has registered their marriage last year. The wedding ceremony will be held at a later date, due to Covid-19 situation and busy schedules.[27][28]


Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2012 33rd Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Supporting Actor The Neighbor Nominated
2013 49th Baeksang Arts Awards Won [29]
22nd Buil Film Awards Nominated
17th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival It Award Won
2016 5th APAN Star Awards Best Supporting Actor Squad 38 Nominated
25th Buil Film Awards Familyhood Nominated
37th Blue Dragon Film Awards Train to Busan Nominated
2017 8th KOFRA Film Awards Won [30]
11th Asian Film Awards Nominated
53rd Baeksang Arts Awards Nominated
22nd Chunsa Film Art Awards Nominated
2018 Golden Egg Awards Best Actor The Outlaws Won [31]
54th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) Nominated [32]
23rd Chunsa Film Art Awards Best Actor Nominated [33]
2nd Korea China International Film Festival Best Actor Won [34]
2022 Beautiful Artist Awards
(Shin Young-kyun Arts and Culture Foundation)
Film Artist Award The Roundup Won [35]


  1. ^ 马东锡确定主演漫威电影《永恒族》
  2. ^ 馬東錫徐賢新片《神聖之夜:惡魔獵人》正式開拍
  3. ^ Nam, Yoo-jung (December 12, 2018). 마동석, 하정우·이병헌 누르고 '올해 빛낸 영화배우' 1위 [Ma Dong-seok beats Ha Jung-woo and Lee Byung-hun to win 1st place in 'Film actor of the Year']. Busan Ilbo (in Korean). Retrieved June 13, 2021 – via Naver.
  4. ^ a b "마동석-예정화, 3개월째 교제중이다". 허프포스트코리아 (in Korean). Huffington Post. 18 November 2016.
  5. ^ "Actor Ma Dong-seok Cast in New Marvel Film". Chosun Ilbo. Retrieved 2019-07-23.
  6. ^ Hwang, Hee-yeon; Kim, Hyung-seok (October 17, 2014). "10 Scene Stealers⑤ - MA Dong-seok: Wild but Tender". Korean Cinema Today.
  7. ^ Park, Si-soo (April 1, 2014). "Watch out! They 'steal' scenes, your heart". The Korea Times.
  8. ^ "An interview with Ma Dong-seok: "One On One"". Hancinema. MBN Star. June 2, 2014.
  9. ^ "'Train to Busan' takes Don Lee to Hollywood". The Korea Times. September 28, 2016.
  10. ^ "Tough guy film star finds success being sweet : Known for aggressive roles, Ma Dong-seok is not afraid to be cute". Korea JoongAng Daily. November 18, 2016.
  11. ^ "[INTERVIEW] Ma Dong-seok to rise as new hero in crime action genre". The Korea Times. October 1, 2017.
  12. ^ "The many personalities of Ma Dong-seok: Actor's ability to play a wide range of characters has led to his success". Korea JoongAng Daily. 10 November 2017.
  13. ^ "'The Roundup' tops 10 mln admissions in S. Korea". Korea Herald. June 11, 2022. Retrieved June 11, 2022.
  14. ^ "Ma Dong-seok's heroism grows stale: Some are calling out the star's most recent films for their depiction of women". Korea JoongAng Daily. December 1, 2018.
  15. ^ Gonzalez, Umberto (April 17, 2019). "Marvel Studios Taps Ma Dong-seok for 'The Eternals' (Exclusive)". TheWrap. Archived from the original on April 17, 2019. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  16. ^ "Park Hae-jin, Ma Dong-suk go 'manly adorable'". The Korea Herald. October 5, 2014.
  17. ^ "Sooyoung, others to star in new OCN drama". Korea JoongAng Daily. March 4, 2016.
  18. ^ Jo Ji-young (January 11, 2022). "[SC이슈] "韓→美 이어 日진출"…마동석, EXILE·m-flo 소속사 LDH 재팬과 전속계약..글로벌 행보ing" [[SC Issue] "Korea → America, followed by Japan"... Dong-seok Ma, exclusive contract with LDH Japan, the agency of EXILE·m-flo.. Global movement] (in Korean). Sports Chosun. Retrieved January 11, 2022 – via Naver.
  19. ^ James Marsh (May 23, 2022). "The Roundup movie review: Ma Dong-seok, Son Suk-ku face off in riotously entertaining sequel to 2017 action thriller The Outlaws". South China Morning Post (in Korean). Retrieved June 27, 2022.
  20. ^ Jo Yeon-kyung (June 11, 2022). "기적을 현실로 '범죄도시2' 팬데믹 후 '첫 1000만'…'기생충' 이후 3년만" [Turning miracles into reality 'Crime City 2' After the pandemic, the 'first 10 million'... 3 years after 'Parasite'] (in Korean). JTBC. Retrieved June 27, 2022 – via Naver.
  21. ^ Jeong Hyung-hwa (June 27, 2022). "마동석 '범죄도시2' 40일만에 1200만 돌파" [Ma Dong-seok's 'Crime City 2' surpasses 12 million in 40 days] (in Korean). Star News. Retrieved June 27, 2022 – via Naver.
  22. ^ '마동석, 30kg 감량 전후 비교해보니..'헉' 소리 날 정도. Osen (in Korean). November 6, 2012.
  23. ^ 마동석의 ‘팀고릴라’도 영화계 뜨거운 시선 [Ma Dong-seok's "Team Gorilla" is (Korean) cinema's hot topic]. The Dong-a Ilbo. November 18, 2017.
  24. ^ "(News Focus) 4 movie stars whose talents go beyond acting". Yonhap News Agency. August 18, 2016.
  25. ^ Park, Ah-reum (January 31, 2020). '번외수사' 측 "차태현X이선빈X정상훈X윤경호, 첫 만남부터 범상치않아". Newsen (in Korean). Retrieved November 10, 2021 – via Naver.
  26. ^ "[K스타] 잘 나가는 마동석, 팔씨름연맹 이사 된 사연은?".
  27. ^ Park, Pan-seok (October 20, 2022). "[단독] 마동석 "작년에 이미 예정화와 혼인신고..코로나19로 결혼식 미뤄"(인터뷰)" [[Exclusive] Ma Dong-seok “Last year, I already registered my marriage with an upcoming wedding… postponed the wedding due to Corona 19” (interview)]. OSEN (in Korean). Retrieved October 20, 2022 – via Naver.
  28. ^ Kim, Hyun-rok (October 20, 2022). "마동석♥예정화, 이미 부부…지난해 혼인신고 마쳤다 "결혼식은 내년"" [Ma Dong-seok ♥ Jeon Jeong-hwa, already married... I finished registering my marriage last year, "The wedding will be next year"]. SpoTV News (in Korean). Retrieved October 20, 2022 – via Naver.
  29. ^ Ji, Yong-jin (May 13, 2013). "RYU Seung-ryong Wins Grand Prize at Baeksang Arts Awards". Korean Film Biz Zone.
  30. ^ "THE WAILING Triumphs at Korean Film Reporters Association Awards". Korean Film Biz Zone. January 24, 2017.
  31. ^ "Don LEE Takes Best Actor Performance at Golden Egg Awards". Korean Film Biz Zone. February 9, 2018.
  32. ^ "제54회 백상예술대상, TV·영화 각 부문별 수상 후보자 공개". JTBC (in Korean). April 6, 2018.
  33. ^ "제23회 춘사영화제 5월18일 개최..홍상수·김민희 참석하나". Newsen (in Korean). May 3, 2018.
  34. ^ "Kim Hee-ae, Ma Dong-seok honored". Korea JoongAng Daily. 14 November 2018.
  35. ^ Yang Jeong-woo (October 11, 2022). "아름다운예술인상'에 마동석·신구·이우석·하춘화·조은지" [Ma Dong-seok, Shin Goo, Lee Woo-seok, Ha Chun-hwa, Jo Eun-ji for 'Beautiful Artist Award] (in Korean). Yonhap News. Retrieved October 11, 2022 – via Naver.

External links[edit]