Uhm Tae-woong

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Uhm Tae-woong
Uhm Tae-woong at BIFF 2013 02.jpg
Born (1974-04-05) April 5, 1974 (age 45)
Years active1998–present
AgentHuayi Brothers
Yoon Hye-jin (m. 2013)
FamilyUhm Jung-hwa (sister)
Korean name
Revised RomanizationEom Tae-ung
McCune–ReischauerŎm T'ae-ung

Uhm Tae-woong (born April 5, 1974) is a South Korean actor. He made his acting debut in 1998, but initially struggled to emerge from under the shadow of his older sister, popular singer-actress Uhm Jung-hwa. After several years of small roles and work in one-act dramas, Uhm began to gain recognition after his villainous turn in the romantic comedy Delightful Girl Choon-Hyang. In 2005, he made his breakthrough in the critically acclaimed Resurrection, followed by another revenge-themed series The Devil in 2007. Since then, he has starred in diverse leading roles on film and television, notably in Forever the Moment (2008), Chaw (2009), Cyrano Agency (2010), Architecture 101 (2012), and Man from the Equator (2012).


1998-2004: Struggling actor[edit]

Uhm Tae-woong was unsure which college course to take, so he initially joined Kyungmin College's theater department because his crush was there. But even after the girl shifted majors, Uhm stayed after having befriended a fellow student who would become his current manager, and began acting in earnest.[1]

Uhm made his acting debut in 1998 at the age of 24, and began playing bit parts and supporting roles in films, television dramas and music videos. Among these was the 2003 blockbuster Silmido, in which he played a member of a suicide commando unit trained to kill Kim Il-sung in the 1960s. Starring veteran actors Sol Kyung-gu and Ahn Sung-ki, Silmido drew over 10 million admissions, and Ahn encouraged Uhm, saying he "would turn into a true actor."[citation needed] Uhm continued to go on auditions with little success, partly from the long shadow cast by his older sister, popular singer-actress Uhm Jung-hwa.[2]

Then in 2004, Uhm played a dying man in the acclaimed Drama City episode Blue Skies of Jeju Island, a well-received performance for which he won his first acting trophy at the 2004 KBS Drama Awards.

2005: Breakthrough[edit]

Uhm began his rise to popularity with the 2005 romantic comedy series Delightful Girl Choon-Hyang, a modern retelling of the classic Korean folktale Chunhyangjeon. But instead of the villainous magistrate of the folktale, Uhm played a talent agency executive who becomes obsessed with the heroine.[3]

But it was Resurrection later that year that cemented his stardom. He had originally been cast as the antagonist, but after lead actor Park Yong-woo dropped out three weeks before filming due to scheduling conflicts, director Park Chan-hong took a risk and cast Uhm as the protagonist.[4] Playing dual roles as two very different identical twins, one of whom embarks on a quest for revenge, it was Uhm's first leading role in a TV series.[5] Despite low ratings, Resurrection was a critical hit and gained a cult following, and one review praised Uhm for "the kind of acting expected from Song Kang-ho and Choi Min-sik," not from a young little-known actor who'd previously appeared in a few projects in supporting roles.[6][7] His growing fanbase nicknamed him "the UhmForce" (derived from Star Wars), and he received an Excellence Award from the 2005 KBS Drama Awards and a Best TV Actor nomination from the 2006 Baeksang Arts Awards.[8]

2006-2008: Leading roles continue[edit]

In 2006, he and Resurrection leading lady Han Ji-min were cast in Wolf, but an on-set accident that injured Han and co-star Eric Mun led to production being halted and the series was cancelled after airing only three episodes.[2][9] Uhm moved on to Stranger Than Paradise, in which he played the manager of a singer, the same woman his long-lost brother also falls in love with. He also joined the ensemble cast of Kim Tae-yong's critically acclaimed film Family Ties, playing a reckless but charming man who suddenly shows up at his sister's door with a live-in partner 20 years his senior. For this role, Uhm won Best New Actor at the Chunsa Film Art Awards.

In 2007, Uhm, reunited with Resurrection's director Park Chan-hong and writer Kim Ji-woo in The Devil, the second in Park and Kim's noir vengeance trilogy that explore the conflict between good and evil, and sin and punishment. He gave another memorable lead performance as a detective hunting down a serial killer while attempting to atone for his past. Uhm also starred in December romance My Love, in which his character is a Free Hugs activist who returns to Korea after six years overseas in the hopes of finding his ex-girlfriend.

Finally no longer known as simply "Uhm Jung-hwa's kid brother,"[2] he continued building a diverse filmography in 2008. In Yim Soon-rye's sleeper hit Forever the Moment, Uhm played the tough coach of the National Women's Handball Team (and received a Best Supporting Actor nomination from the Blue Dragon Film Awards). In Lee Joon-ik's Sunny, he played a newly married Korean soldier conscripted during the Vietnam War. And in Iri, he played a cab driver taking care of his mentally impaired sister in the aftermath of the Iri Station Explosion.

2009-2010: Ratings and box-office success[edit]

In 2009, Uhm played a celebrity manager who is threatened by an unknown man and driven to the extremes in Handphone.[10] This was followed by the black comedy Chaw, in which his character is a policeman battling with a mutant boar. Uhm then starred as 7th-century Silla general Kim Yushin in the popular period drama Queen Seondeok, for which he received a Top Excellence Award at the 2009 MBC Drama Awards.[11][12][13]

Romantic comedy Cyrano Agency was the 8th most commercially successful Korean film of 2010, and in it, Uhm played a theater actor-turned-dating coach whose ex-girlfriend is being pursued by his client.[14][1] While in Dr. Champ, after his character's ice hockey career was ended by injury, he became a cranky sports medicine doctor reminiscent of Gregory House.[15]

2011-2013: Reality show[edit]

In 2011, Uhm joined the cast of 2 Days & 1 Night, a popular variety-reality show which travels throughout Korea, featuring small towns and their inhabitants.[16] Through it, viewers discovered the real-life shy, dorky personality behind Uhm's intense screen persona.[17]

Meanwhile, he continued with his acting projects. He acted opposite 2 Days & 1 Night co-star Joo Won in S.I.U., as two detectives who team up against corruption in their ranks.[18]

In 2012, Uhm played one half of a quirky terminally ill couple in Never Ending Story,[19][20][21] and an architect building his first love's house in Architecture 101 (the latter was a box-office hit, breaking records at the time as the top-grossing Korean melodrama of all time).[22]

He returned to television in another revenge-themed drama, Man from the Equator. Uhm drew praise for his performance as a blind man, and received an Excellence Award from the 2012 KBS Drama Awards, as well as a Best TV Actor nomination from the 2013 Baeksang Arts Awards.[23][24][25][26]

In 2013, he made a guest appearance in Joo Won's spy comedy series 7th Grade Civil Servant. Uhm then reunited with Man from the Equator director Kim Yong-soo in The Blade and Petal, a period drama set in Goguryeo. He played Yeon Gaesomun's fictional illegitimate son who has a forbidden romance with the princess whose father, the king, was killed by Yeon in a coup.[27][28]

Veteran actor Park Joong-hoon then cast Uhm in the lead role in Park's directorial debut Top Star. He played a manager who dreams of becoming an actor.[29][30]

Later that year, Uhm left 2 Days & 1 Night along with other regulars Lee Soo-geun, Sung Si-kyung, and Yoo Hae-jin.[31]

2014: Cable dramas[edit]

In early 2014, Uhm played an arrogant film director who falls in love with a divorcee in Can We Fall in Love, Again?, which aired on cable channel jTBC.

This was followed later in the year by Righteous Love from tvN, in which his character's marriage is put to the test after his wife has an affair, so as a marine researcher he sets out to prove that her new romance is "invalid."[32]

2015: Back to variety[edit]

In January 2015, Uhm and his daughter Ji-on began appearing in The Return of Superman, a reality show in which male celebrities take care of their young children for 48 hours.[33] He left the program in October 2015.

Personal life[edit]

Uhm's father, Uhm Jin-ok, was a public school music teacher who died from a motorcycle accident before Uhm had turned 100 days old. After his father's death, his family (consisting of his mother, Yoo Gyeong-sook, three older sisters, and him as the youngest) faced serious financial problems. His older sister Uhm Jung-hwa entered show business as a pop singer and released her first album in 1993 (earning the label "Madonna of Korea"); she later turned to acting.

On the November 4, 2012 episode of 2 Days & 1 Night, Uhm made the surprise announcement that he was engaged to ballerina Yoon Hye-jin, and that they were expecting their first child. The daughter of veteran actor Yoon Il-bong and niece of veteran actor Yoo Dong-geun, Yoon was a principal dancer with the Korea National Ballet before she moved to the Les Ballets de Monte Carlo. They were introduced by Uhm's older sister Uhm Jung-hwa.[34][35][36][37][38] The couple wed on January 9, 2013 at Conrad Hotel Seoul.[39][40][41] Their daughter Uhm Ji-on was born on June 18, 2013.[42]



Year Title Role
1998 The Happenings Employee
2003 Spring Bears Love Lee Young-seok
Silmido Won-sang
2004 A Family Dong-su
2005 Another Public Enemy Song Jung-hoon
2006 Family Ties Lee Hyung-chul
2007 My Love Jin-man
2008 Forever the Moment Ahn Seung-pil
Sunny Sang-gil
Iri Tae-woong
2009 Handphone Oh Seung-min
Chaw Police officer Kim
2010 Cyrano Agency Lee Byeong-hoon
2011 S.I.U. Kim Seong-beom
2012 Never Ending Story Kang Dong-joo
Architecture 101 Lee Seung-min (present)
2013 Top Star Tae-sik
2017 Fork Lane Kim Gang-il

Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Network
2000 Look Back in Anger KBS2
2001 High School SBS
MBC Best Theater "An Incomplete Love" MBC
2004 Span Drama "10 Years Later" MBC
MBC Best Theater "Train for Gomsk" Husband MBC
Forbidden Love Sa-joon KBS2
Drama City "Blue Skies of Jeju Island" Kim Ki-tae KBS2
2005 Delightful Girl Choon-Hyang Byun Hak-do KBS2
Resurrection Seo Ha-eun/Yoo Shin-hyuk KBS2
2006 Wolf Yoon Sung-mo MBC
Stranger Than Paradise Kang San-ho SBS
2007 The Devil Kang Oh-soo KBS2
2008 Fight Kang Gun's father (cameo) tvN
2009 Queen Seondeok Kim Yushin MBC
2010 Dr. Champ Lee Do-wook SBS
2012 Man from the Equator Kim Sun-woo KBS2
2013 7th Grade Civil Servant Choi Woo-hyuk (guest, episodes 1-4) MBC
The Blade and Petal Yeon Choong KBS2
2014 Can We Fall in Love, Again? Oh Kyung-soo jTBC
Righteous Love Jang Hee-tae tvN
2016 Wanted PD Shin Dong-wook SBS

Variety show[edit]

Year Title Network Notes
2002 New Year's Special: Pokso Song Festival KBS
Family Sings on Saturday KBS1
2011-2013 2 Days & 1 Night KBS2 Cast member
2015 The Return of Superman Cast member

Music video[edit]

Year Song Title Artist
1998 "Miracle" Kim Dong-ryool
2001 "Tears" Hwayobi
2003 "I Am Always Alone" Page
2004 "Timeless" SG Wannabe
"I Loved You to Death"
2005 "Ordinary Woman" Lyn


Year Title Role
The Caucasian Chalk Circle
Jesus Christ Superstar


Year Song Title From Album Notes
2007 "Please Don't Love Me" Track from The Devil OST
2009 "The Only One" Track from Queen Seondeok Special OST
2010 "I Went to Cheonggyesan Mt." Track from Cyrano Agency OST Duet with Choi Daniel
2011 "Confession Day" Track from Never Ending Story OST
"Wedding Song" Duet with Jung Ryeo-won
2012 "One Fine Day in October"
Track from Man from the Equator OST Duet with Lee Bo-young
"해당화 외 (한용운 작)"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2004 KBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actor in a One-Act Drama/Special Blue Skies of Jeju Island Won
2005 KBS Drama Awards[43] Excellence Award, Actor Resurrection,
Delightful Girl Choon-Hyang
Best Couple Award with Han Ji-min Resurrection Won
2006 42nd Baeksang Arts Awards[44] Best Actor (TV) Nominated
14th Chunsa Film Art Awards Best New Actor Family Ties Won
2007 KBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries The Devil Nominated
2008 29th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Supporting Actor Forever the Moment Nominated
2009 MBC Drama Awards[45] Top Excellence Award, Actor Queen Seondeok Won
2010 SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Special Planning Drama Dr. Champ Nominated
2011 KBS Entertainment Awards[46] Top Entertainer Award 2 Days & 1 Night Won
Grand Prize (Daesang) shared with entire cast Won
2012 6th Mnet 20's Choice Awards[47] 20's Male Drama Star Man from the Equator Nominated
5th Korea Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Nominated
1st K-Drama Star Awards Excellence Award, Actor Nominated
KBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actor in a Mid-length Drama Won
PD Award Won
2013 49th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (TV) Nominated
KBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor The Blade and Petal Nominated
Excellence Award, Actor in a Mid-length Drama Nominated
47th Taxpayer's Day Presidential Commendation[48] N/A Won


  1. ^ a b "Uhm Tae-woong: Healing through Cyrano". Dramabeans. 13 September 2010. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
  2. ^ a b c Han, Eun-jung (18 January 2006). "Actor Uhm Tae-woong Steps Out of Pop Singer Sister's Shadow". The Korea Times via Hancinema. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
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  15. ^ Kim, Sun-young (28 September 2010). "SBS TV series Doctor Champ - 1st Episode". 10Asia. Retrieved 2014-09-17.
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  20. ^ ‘순둥이’ 엄태웅 담배 물고 마초 매력 물씬 ‘이게 바로 엄포스’ [Uhm Tae Woong shares his thoughts on acting in Harper's Bazaar]. Newsen (in Korean). 20 December 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
  21. ^ "Uhm Tae Woong shares his thoughts on acting in Harper's Bazaar". Allkpop. 20 December 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
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  31. ^ "Uhm Tae Woong, Sung Si Kyung, and Yoo Hae Jin to also leave 1 Night 2 Days". Allkpop. 10 November 2013. Retrieved 2014-09-17.
  32. ^ Jin, Eun-soo (25 November 2014). "Sam-soon writer pens new drama". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-11-29.
  33. ^ Son, Angela (5 January 2015). "Actor Uhm Tae Woong and daughter join Superman Returns". KDramaStars. Retrieved 2015-09-01.
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  42. ^ Lee, Hye-ji (19 June 2013). "Actor Uhm Tae-woong Becomes Father". 10Asia. Archived from the original on 23 October 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-19.
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  48. ^ "Architecture 101 Stars Get Presidential Honor". The Chosun Ilbo. 5 March 2013. Retrieved 2014-09-17.

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