South Korea
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Lee Byung-hun

Lee Byung-hun

South Korean actor
The basics
Occupations Actor Singer Film actor Model
Countries South Korea
A.K.A. Lee Byeong-heon, 이병헌
Gender male
Birth July 12, 1970 (Seoul, South Korea)
Spouse: Lee Min-jung
Authority IMDB id Library of congress id Musicbrainz id VIAF id
The details

Lee Byung-hun (Korean: 이병헌; born July 12, 1970 ) is a South Korean actor, singer and model. He has received critical acclaim for his work in a wide range of genres, most notably Joint Security Area (2000); A Bittersweet Life (2005); The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008); the television series Iris (2009); I Saw the Devil (2010); and Masquerade (2012). His critically acclaimed film Inside Men (2015) won him the Best Actor prize in three prestigious award ceremonies: 52nd Baeksang Art Awards, 37th Blue Dragon Awards and 53rd Grand Bell Awards—a feat that was unbroken since 2004. Lee has five films—Joint Security Area, The Good, the Bad, the Weird, Masquerade, Inside Men and Master—on the list of highest-grossing films in South Korea.

In the United States, he is known for portraying Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) and its sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), and starring alongside Bruce Willis in Red 2 (2013). He portrayed T-1000 in Terminator Genisys (2015) and Billy Rocks, a knife-wielding gunslinger, in The Magnificent Seven (2016). Lee was the first South Korean actor to present an Oscar at the annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Lee and Ahn Sung-ki were the first South Korean actors to imprint their hand and foot prints on the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles.


Lee's career began in 1991 after a KBS talent audition and making his debut in the television drama Asphalt My Hometown. Lee drew attention with the action drama Asphalt Man and romantic film The Harmonium in My Memory, but it was only in 2000 that he made his big breakthrough with Park Chan-wook's Joint Security Area. The film broke the box office record and became the highest grossing Korean film at the time. Lee's role as a border-guard soldier won him the Best Actor award at the Busan Film Critics Awards.

In 2001, his popularity continued to climb when he starred in melodramas Beautiful Days and Bungee Jumping of Their Own. In 2003, he received the Grand Prize at the SBS Drama Awards and Best Actor at the Baeksang Arts Awards for his role in the poker drama All In.

At the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival

From 2005, he focused on film, earning critical acclaim for his performance in A Bittersweet Life directed by Kim Jee-woon, which was screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Lee was nominated for Best Actor at the Blue Dragon Film Awards and Grand Bell Awards, and won at the Chunsa Film Art Awards, Baeksang Arts Awards and the Korean Association of Film Critics Awards.

He reunited with director Kim Jee-woon in the "kimchi western" The Good, the Bad, the Weird, taking on his first villain role. The film was screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival. The following year, he appeared in I Come with the Rain opposite American actor Josh Hartnett and Japanese actor Takuya Kimura. He then made his Hollywood debut as Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, also starring Channing Tatum and Sienna Miller.

Lee returned to television in late 2009 in the espionage action thriller Iris as a secret agent who finds himself at the center of an international conspiracy. It was one of the most expensive shows ever produced with filming locations in Hungary, Japan as well as South Korea. It became one of the highest rated dramas of 2009 and his performance earned him the Grand Prize at the KBS Drama Awards and Best Actor at the Baeksang Arts Awards.

In 2010, Lee starred in I Saw the Devil with Choi Min-sik, his third collaboration with Kim Jee-woon, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. His portrayal of the intelligence agent won him the Grand Prize at the Baeksang Arts Awards.

In 2012, Lee played dual roles in the lavish period drama Masquerade. The film was a box office hit, becoming the 7th film in Korean history to surpass 10 million admissions. Lee won Best Actor at the Grand Bell Awards for his performance. On June 23, 2012, Lee, along with Ahn Sung-ki, became the first Korean actors to leave their hand and foot prints on the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles. He was recognized as an emerging star in Hollywood for his role of Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and its sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

In 2013, he reprised his role as Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Lee then co-starred in the American film RED 2 (2013), the sequel to the 2010 action-comedy hit RED, alongside Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Helen Mirren, and John Malkovich.

In 2015, Lee played a T-1000 in Terminator Genisys opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger. He then starred in Woo Min-ho's political crime thriller Inside Men, which became the top grossing R-rated movie of all-time at the Korean Box Office. Touted as the "star" of the film, Lee received critical acclaim and swept Best Actor awards at various film awards ceremonies.

Lee co-starred as knife-wielding gunslinger Billy Rocks in The Magnificent Seven (2016) with Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, and Ethan Hawke. On 28 February 2016, Lee attended the 88th Academy Awards and presented the "Best Foreign Language Film" award with actress Sofia Vergara. He was the first Korean actor to present an award at the Oscars.

Lee will make his television comeback in Mr. Sunshine (2018), written by Kim Eun-sook.

Other work

Lee formed a management company, BH Entertainment, which manages many actors including Han Hyo-joo, Go Soo, and Han Ji-min. He owns a shop, BHNC, which sells hats, scarfs and wallets.

Lee Byung-hun is noted in the video game industry for providing his likeness for the main character, Wayne Holden, in the 2006 game Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, for the Xbox 360, PS3 & PC.

Personal life

Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea. He has a younger sister, Lee Eun-hee, who was Miss Korea in 1996. He graduated from Hanyang University with a major in French Literature and the Graduate School of Chung-Ang University with a major in Theater and Cinematography.

Lee dated his All In co-star Song Hye-kyo; they broke up in 2004. In his spare time, Lee Byung-hun practices taekwondo.

Lee married actress Lee Min-jung on August 10, 2013 at the Grand Hyatt Seoul. The couple had briefly dated in 2006, then resumed their relationship in 2012. Lee's wife gave birth to their first child, a son, Lee Joon-hoo, on March 31, 2015.

Blackmail scandal

In September 2014, Lee was embroiled in a legal battle with two women, singer Dahee from K-pop girl group GLAM and model Lee Ji-yeon, who blackmailed him for large sums of money in exchange for not revealing a compromising video of the actor Lee making sexual jokes. The two women were sentenced to a year and two months in jail respectively, both suspended for two years.



Year Korean Title English Title Role Notes
1995 누가 나를 미치게 하는가 Who Drives Me Crazy Lee Jong-du
런 어웨이 Runaway Lee Dong-ho
1996 그들만의 세상 Kill the Love Love
1997 지상만가 Elegy of the Earth Park Jong-man
1999 내마음의 풍금 The Harmonium in My Memory Kang Soo-ha
2000 공동경비구역 JSA Joint Security Area Lee Soo-hyeok
2001 번지점프를 하다 Bungee Jumping of Their Own Seo In-woo
2002 마리이야기 My Beautiful Girl, Mari Adult Nam-woo voice
중독 Addicted Dae-jun
2004 누구나 비밀은 있다 Everybody Has Secrets Choi Su-hyeon
쓰리, 몬스터 Three Extremes - segment "Cut" Ryu Ji-ho short film
2005 달콤한 인생 A Bittersweet Life Kim Sun-woo
2006 그해 여름 Once in a Summer Yun Suk-young
2007 히어로 Hero Kang Min-woo cameo
2008 좋은 놈, 나쁜 놈, 이상한 놈 The Good, the Bad, the Weird Park Chang-yi, the Bad
2009 나는 비와 함께 간다 I Come with the Rain Su Dongpo
지.아이.조 : 전쟁의 서막 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Storm Shadow
2010 인플루언스 The Influence W
아이리스 : 더 무비 Iris: The Movie Kim Hyun-jun
악마를 보았다 I Saw the Devil Kim Soo-hyeon
2012 광해, 왕이 된 남자 Masquerade King Gwanghae / Beggar Ha-sun
2013 지.아이.조 2 G.I. Joe: Retaliation Storm Shadow
레드: 더 레전드 RED 2 Han Cho-bai
2015 터미네이터: 제네시스 Terminator Genisys Cop / T-1000
협녀, 칼의 기억 Memories of the Sword Deok-gi / Song Yoo-baek
내부자들 Inside Men Ahn Sang-goo
2016 미스컨덕트 Misconduct The Accountant
밀정 The Age of Shadows Jeong Chae-san cameo
매그니피센트 7 The Magnificent Seven Billy Rocks
마스터 Master President Jin
2017 싱글라이더 Single Rider Kang Jae-hoon
남한산성 Namhansanseong Fortress Choi Myung-kil
2018 그것만이 내 세상 My World Only Jo-ha filming


Year Korean Title English Title Role
1991 아스팔트 내 고향 Asphalt My Hometown Jinwoo
가족 Family
바람꽃은 시들지 않는다 Flower That Never Wilt
1992 해뜰날 Days of Sunshine Choi Hyung-man
이별 없는 아침 Dawn
내일은 사랑 Tomorrow Love Shin Bum-soo
1993 살아남은 자의 슬픔 The Sorrow of the Survivor Yi Ja-myung
폴리스 Police Oh Hae-sung
1994 사랑의 향기 The Fragrance of Love Kim Jun-ho
1995 아스팔트 사나이 Asphalt Man Kang Dong-joon
바람의 아들 Son of Wind Chang Hong-pyo
1997 아름다운 그녀 Beautiful My Lady Hwang Jun-ho
나는 원한다 I Do
1998 백야 3.98 White Nights 3.98 Min Gyeong-bin
1999 해피투게더 Happy Together Suh Tae-poong
해바라기 Love Story - Story 1: Sunflower Tae-sung
세리가 돌아왔다 Sally is Back
2001 먼길 Road Woo-sik
아름다운 날들 Beautiful Days Lee Min-chul
2003 올인 All In Kim In-ha
2009 아이리스 Iris Kim Hyun-jun
2011 외교관 쿠로다 코사쿠 Diplomat Kosaku Kuroda John (cameo)
2018 미스터 션샤인 Mr. Sunshine


Year Title Role
2006 Lost Planet: Extreme Condition Wayne Holden
2013 CGV 4DX trailer Himself
2017 “I Luv It” music video by Psy Himself



Year Album Name
1999 Lee Byung Hun - To Me


Year Single Name
2008 Itsuka (Someday)


Year Track Album
2010 "Stay" Iris OST
"Endless Road" Iris OST

Awards and nominations

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