Shim Eun-ha

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This is a Korean name; the family name is Shim.
Shim Eun-ha
Born Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea
Years active 1993–2000
Korean name
Hangul 심은하
Revised Romanization Sim Eun-ha
McCune–Reischauer Sim Ŭnha

Shim Eun-ha is a retired South Korean actress. Shim rose to popularity in the 1990s, starring in some of the highest-rated Korean dramas of all time, such as The Last Match, M and Trap of Youth. But she is best known for her acclaimed performance in Hur Jin-ho's melodrama Christmas in August, for which she swept the Best Actress awards in 1998. This was followed by another well-received turn in romantic comedy Art Museum by the Zoo. Shim suddenly retired from show business at the height of her fame in 2001, and her mystique solidified her status as the most beloved South Korean actress of that decade.


Shim Eun-ha made her acting debut in 1993 after being recruited by MBC. In 1994, she starred in the basketball-themed TV drama The Last Match, and quickly became the nation's most popular and talked-about star. After more forays in television (including the horror drama M) and two lesser-known films (including Born to Kill with Jung Woo-sung), she made a permanent mark in the film industry with her performance in Hur Jin-ho's modern-day classic Christmas in August (1998). Later that year Art Museum by the Zoo, which presented a more down-to-earth side of the actress, saw her win over more critical praise for her acting abilities. Throughout this period, Shim consistently topped magazine polls as the most popular actress in the film industry.[1]

In Trap of Youth (1999), Shim originated the anti-heroine in modern Korean dramas, when her innocent-looking character avenged herself upon her beloved who had betrayed her. The revenge drama was enormously popular, with viewer ratings soaring to 35.7 percent.[2]

She then reunited with Han Suk-kyu in Tell Me Something (1999), and their star power combined to create one of the most highly anticipated works in Korean film history (though most viewers ultimately expressed disappointment at the film's convoluted narrative).[3] The following year she appeared in Korea's first Dogme film Interview (2000) opposite Lee Jung-jae, which would end up being her last appearance.[1]

In 2001, after rumors surfaced of an engagement which was later called off, Shim was chased and hounded for months by reporters from local tabloids and entertainment programs.[4] Because of this, she decided to quit acting, simply stating a desire for an ordinary life. In the ensuing years, despite periodic rumors that she would resume her film career, Shim has tried her best to remain out of the public eye, studying in France and taking up painting.[5] However despite (or perhaps because of) her long absence, she remains the undisputedly most beloved South Korean actress of her generation.[1]

In September 2005, Shim appeared in the news again when she announced in a press release that she was marrying Ji Sang-wook.[6][7] The couple wed at a private ceremony attended by about 150 people at Aston House, Sheraton Grande Walkerhill Hotel in Seoul on October 18, 2005.[8][9] At the time she reaffirmed that she will not return to acting.[1] The couple have two daughters, the first born on March 2, 2006 and the second on November 28, 2007.[10][11]

Having expressed regret that she hadn't pursued further education while she'd been acting, Shim entered the Korea National Open University in 2009 to study for a liberal arts degree.[12] She then displayed her artwork at the 2009 Seoul Open Art Fair, where the Oriental ink-and-wash landscape paintings, done in classical Korean style, attracted attention for their exquisite detail.[13][14][15] She sold her first painting at a fundraiser exhibit later that year.

After being appointed as spokesperson for the Liberty Forward Party,[16] Shim's husband Ji unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Seoul in 2010.[17][18][19][20] Ji subsequently joined the Saenuri Party and was elected a member of the National Assembly for Seoul in April 2016.[21] Ji now joined Bareun Party.



Year English title Korean title Romanization Role Director
1995 My Old Sweetheart 아찌 아빠 Ajji appa Nam Yoo-ri Shin Seung-soo
1996 Born to Kill 본 투 킬 Bon tu kil Jung Soo-ha Jang Hyun-soo
1998 Christmas in August 8월의 크리스마스 Palweolui Keuriseumaseu Kim Da-rim Hur Jin-ho
Art Museum by the Zoo 미술관 옆 동물원 Misulgwan yup dongmulwon Lee Choon-hee Lee Jeong-hyang
1999 The Uprising 이재수의 난 Lee Jae-su-eui nan Il Sook-hwa Park Kwang-su
Tell Me Something 텔 미 썸딩 Telmisseomding Chae Soo-yeon Chang Yoon-hyun
2000 Interview 인터뷰 In-teo-byoo Lee Young-hee Byun Hyuk (Daniel H. Byun)

Television series[edit]

Year English title Korean title Romanization Role Network
1993 Three Families Under One Roof 한지붕 세가족 Yoo Ji-hee MBC
1994 The Last Match 마지막 승부 Majimak Seungbu Jung Da-seul MBC
MBC Best Theater "Little Thief" MBC 베스트극장 - 작은 도둑 Lee Jung-eun MBC
M M Park Ma-ri/Kim Joo-ri MBC
Shoal 여울목 Na Seung-ri MBC
1995 Hotel 호텔 Ho-tel movie actress (cameo) MBC
Sook-hee 숙희 Suk-hui Kim Sook-hee MBC
1996 1.5 Generation 1.5 Cha Hye-kyung MBC
TV Literature "Between Heaven and Earth" TV문학관 - 천지간 Cheonjigan woman KBS1
Power of Love 사랑한다면 Saranghanda Myeon Kim Young-hee MBC
1997 Beautiful Lady 아름다운 그녀 Areumdawoon Geunyeo Yoo Seon-young SBS
SBS 70-Minute Drama "I Want" SBS 70분드라마 - 나는 원한다 Naneun Wonhanda Hong Young-ki SBS
1998 White Nights 3.98 백야 3.98 Baekya 3.98 Anastasia Jang SBS
1999 Trap of Youth 청춘의 덫 Cheongchunui Deot Seo Yoon-hee SBS

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1994 30th Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actress, TV category The Last Match Won
Korea Best Dresser Swan Awards Best Dressed, TV Actress category N/A Won
MBC Drama Awards Best New Actress The Last Match, M Won
1997 31st Tax Payer's Day Prime Minister's Commendation N/A Won
1998 34th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actress Christmas in August Won
18th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Best Actress Won
19th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actress Won
Popular Star Award Won
1st Director's Cut Awards Best Actress Won
1999 35th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actress, TV category Trap of Youth Won
36th Grand Bell Awards Best Actress Art Museum by the Zoo Won
Popularity Award Won
20th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actress Tell Me Something Nominated
Popular Star Award Won
SBS Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Trap of Youth Won
Top 10 Stars Won
Highest Popularity Award Won
2000 1st Korea Visual Arts Festival
(Korea Broadcasting Camera Directors Association)
Photogenic Award, Film Actress category Tell Me Something Won
23rd Golden Cinematography Awards
(Korean Society of Cinematographers)
Most Popular Actress Won
37th Grand Bell Awards Popularity Award Won
1st Korean Film Festival Best Actress Won
21st Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actress Interview Nominated
SBS Drama Awards Big Star Award Won
2001 38th Grand Bell Awards Popularity Award Interview Won

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Actors and Actresses of Korean Cinema: Shim Eun-ha". Retrieved 2012-11-04.
  2. ^ "Villains Rule the TV Scene". KBS Global via Hancinema. March 11, 2009. 
  3. ^ Russell, Mark (July 30, 2002). "Slasher tale cuts path as a confusing thriller". Korea JoongAng Daily. 
  4. ^ Park, Soo-mee (December 9, 2001). "The dark side of Midnight TV". Korea JoongAng Daily. 
  5. ^ Choi, Jie-ho (April 29, 2003). "Fat mags give women skinny on life". Korea JoongAng Daily. 
  6. ^ "Actress Shim Eun-ha to Marry Next Month". The Korea Times via Hancinema. September 21, 2005.
  7. ^ "Shim Eun-ha to get married in October". KBS Global. September 21, 2005.
  8. ^ "Shim Eun-ha Marries". The Korea Times via Hancinema. October 18, 2005.
  9. ^ 심은하, 결혼으로 은퇴 아닌 더 큰 뉴스메이커로 부각 (in Korean). Newsen via Nate. October 19, 2005. 
  10. ^ "Shim Eun-ha Gives Birth to Second Daughter". KBS Global. November 29, 2007.
  11. ^ Lee Hyo-jeong. "Stork, not stardom, pays visit to Shim". Korea JoongAng Daily. December 5, 2007.
  12. ^ "Former Actress Shim Eun-ha to Study for Open University Degree". The Chosun Ilbo. February 3, 2009.
  13. ^ Cathy Rose A. Garcia. "Actress Kim Hye-soo Unveils Painting". The Korea Times. April 15, 2009.
  14. ^ "Seoul Open Art Fair to Feature Celebrity Artworks". The Chosun Ilbo. April 15, 2009. 
  15. ^ Sung, So-young (April 22, 2010). "Stars play new roles in other media". Korea JoongAng Daily. 
  16. ^ "Liberty Forward Party Appoints New Spokesman". The Chosun Ilbo. February 12, 2010.
  17. ^ "Shim Eun-ha has 1.7 billion won in cash". The Korea Times. May 17, 2010.
  18. ^ "Ex-Actress Shows Up at Husband's Seoul Campaign Office". The Chosun Ilbo. May 18, 2010.
  19. ^ Kwon Mee-yoo. "Will 'star marketing' help win votes?". The Korea Times. May 31, 2010.
  20. ^ "Seoul Mayoral Hopeful Casts Ballot". The Chosun Ilbo. June 2, 2010.
  21. ^ "Stars on the Stump Don't Guarantee Election Win". The Chosun Ilbo. 15 April 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2016. 

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