Jeon Ok

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Jeon Ok
Born Jeon Deok-rye
(1911-04-02)April 2, 1911
Hamhung, South Hamgyong, Korea
Died October 22, 1969(1969-10-22) (aged 58)
Seoul, South Korea
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 1927–1969
Korean name
Hangul 전옥
Hanja 全玉
Revised Romanization Jeon Ok
McCune–Reischauer Chŏn Ok
Birth name
Hangul 전덕례
Hanja 全德禮
Revised Romanization Jeon Deok-rye
McCune–Reischauer Chŏn Tŏk-rye

Jeon Ok (April 2, 1911 – October 22, 1969)[1] was a Korean actress and singer. Jeon was referred to as "Queen of Tears" for her excellence at acting for tragic dramas.[2]


Jeon Ok was born Jeon Deok-rye in Hamhung, South Hamgyong province, now part of North Korea, in 1911, during the Japanese colonial period. When Jeon was 15 years old, she was introduced to the film industry by her brother. Jeon aspired to be an actress in Towolhoe (토월회), her debut role was as a supporting actress in the 1927 film Jal itgeora (잘 있거라), directed by Na Woon-gyu. Jeon gained popularity after taking a lead role in Arirang Gogae (아리랑고개), based on Park Seung-hui (박승희) and produced by Towolhoe. However, when the theatre closed, she moved to Joseon Yeongeuksa in 1930. Jeon was noted for her monologues as well as her tragic performances which often brought audiences to tears, so she was dubbed the "Queen of Tragedy" or "Queen of Tears". After the liberation of Korea, Jeon was mainly active in film.[3][4][5][6][7][8]

Personal life[edit]

Jeon Ok married Kang Hong-shik, an actor, film director and singer. Kang Hong-shik and Jeon Ok were the first married couple in Korean entertainment history. Their daughters, Kang Hyo-shil and Kang Hyo-son, became their parents' step. Later, Jeon and Kang divorced. Kang went over to North Korea along with Hyo-son who later became a famous actress in North Korea. Kang Hong-shik was honored as "Merited artist" as well. Meanwhile, Hyo-sil married Choi Moo-ryong, a popular actor of the 1960s and 1970s. Choi then had an affair with Kim Ji-mee, the most popular Korean actress of that time, so that Choi and Kang divorced in 1962. Jeon's grandson is Choi Min-soo between Choi Moo-ryong and Hyo-shil, who is also a famous active actor.[9]

Jeon met her second husband Choe Il, who was a former football coach of Pyongyang Football Team and also engaged in her entertainment business when she reestablished Namhae yeneungdae (남해예능대) into (백조가극단) in 1946.[6][10]

Jeon ran an orchid in Deoksong-ri, Byeollae-myeon, Yangju, Gyeonggi province. Jeon died of her chronic diseases, high blood pressure, kidney failure on October 22, 1969.[11][12][13]


*Note; the whole list is referenced.[14]

English title Korean title Romanization Year Role Director
Woman in the Deluxe Suite Teughosil yeojasonnim
The Second Wife Huchwidaeg
A Swordsman in the Twilight Hwanghonui Geomgaek
A Heavenly Peach Flower Cheondohwa
A Traveling King Nageune Imgeum
Mountain San
A Water Mill Mullebanga
The Dead and the Alive Jugeun Jawa San Ja
Hwang, Man of Wealth at Mapo Mapo Saneun Hwangbuja
The Door of the Body Yukche-ui Mun
The Sino-Japanese War and Queen Min the Heroine Cheong-iljeonjaenggwa yeogeol Minbi
Just Watch What We Do and See Dugoman Bose-yo
My Wife Is Confessing Anaeneun Gobaekhanda
Don't Sing, Water Bird Uljimara Mulsae-ya
For My Husband Mangbuseok
Goryeojang Goryeojang
Rice Ssal
King Cheoljong and Bongnyeo Cheoljonghwa Bongnyeo
My Old Jealous Wife Gangjjasodong
Black Hood Heukdu-geon
Mother's Love Moseong-ae
A Sad Cry Bulleodo Daedab-eomneun Ireumi-yeo
Prince Yeonsan Yeonsan-gun
Over the Hill Jeo eondeog-eul neom-eoseo
A Revival Jaesaeng
Nameless Stars Ireumeomneun Byeoldeul
A Beautiful Woman Areumdaun Yeoin
Terms of Marriage Gyeolhonjogeon
A Blood Bamboo Hanmalpungungwa Minchungjeonggong
The Tears of Mokpo Mokpo-ui nunmul
1958 The Lullaby Jajangga
The Tears Nunmul
An Empty Dream Hwaryuchunmong
The Snow Falling Night Nunnalineun bam
Chunhyang-jeon Chunhyangjeon
A Night at a Harbor Hanggu-ui il-ya
The Lost Youth Ilh-eobeolin cheongchun
The Wave of Love Aejeongpado
Mr. Soldier Byeongjeongnim
Suicide Squad of the Watchtower Manglu-ui gyeolsadae
Miles Away from Happiness Bok-ji-man-li
Ok-nyeo Oknyeo
Looking for Love - Going across River Doomankang Salang-eul chaj-aseo
Farewell Jal issgeola
Seekers of Paradise Nag-won-eul chajneun mulideul


  • 1958, Korean Stage Art Association Awards (한국무대예술원상)[6]


  1. ^ The death date differs from source to source, but newspapers published her obituary in 1969 stated that she died on October 22, 1969.
  2. ^ Darcy Paquet Essays from the Far East Film Festival : A History of the Korean Musical to 1980
  3. ^ 전옥 [Jeon Ok] (in Korean). Korean Movie Database (KMDb). Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  4. ^ "전옥 全玉 a(1911 ~ 1974)" [Jeon Ok] (in Korean). Doosan Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2010-02-12. [permanent dead link]
  5. ^ 여배우 캐릭터로 보는 사회문화사 (in Korean). Korean Film Archive. Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  6. ^ a b c 전옥 (全玉) [Jeon Ok] (in Korean). Nate / Britannica. Archived from the original on 2011-06-10. Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  7. ^ 전옥 (全玉) [Jeon Ok] (in Korean). Nate / Encyclopedia of Korean Culture. Archived from the original on 2011-06-10. Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Lee, Geun-tae (이근태) 무성영화 배우 가수 강홍식 (in Korean) Gayo 114
  10. ^ Lee, Geun-tae (이근태) 눈물의 여왕 – 전옥 (in Korean) Gayo 114
  11. ^ 『눈물의女優(여우)』全玉(전옥)씨死亡(사망) (in Korean). The Dong-a Ilbo. 1969-10-23. p. 7. "눈물의女優(여우)" 全玉(전옥)씨死亡(사망) 「눈물의여왕」으로 많은 팬들의 심금을 울렸던 배우全玉(전옥)여사"사진·五八(오팔)·서울동대문區(구)이문洞一五五(통일오오)의六(육))가二(이십이)일 오후 (일)시경 고혈압으로 성바오로병원에서 발세했다. (전)여사는 이날오전 (팔)시반경 (경기도) 양주(군) 별내 (면) 덕송(이) 자기과수원에 들렸다가 고혈압으로 쓰러져 성바오고병원으로 옮겼으나 숨을 거두고 말았다. 
  12. ^ 全玉여사 別世 (in Korean). Kyunghyang Sinmun. 1969-10-22. p. 7. 
  13. ^ 全玉(전옥)여사 영결식엄수 (in Korean). Maeil Gyeongje. 1969-10-27. p. 4. 
  14. ^ "Cast and Crew DB >Jeon Ok >Filmograpies". Korean Movie Database (KMDb). Retrieved 2010-02-12. 

External links[edit]