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Lee Sang-yi (이상이)

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

Gongjin folks from Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha cannot help but fall in love with Lee Sang-yi's Ji PD, making the town favorite Chief Hong (played by Kim Seon-ho) jealous. Lee Sang-yi delicately flexed his theater training and expressed his love, bromance, and inner turmoil, masterfully subverting the love triangle trope in the process.

GwenchaNoona | Actor's Profile: Lee Sang-yi

Photo from HanCinema

Birthday: November 27, 1991

Instagram: @leesangyi_

Having studied acting from the Korea National University of Arts, he debuted on the musical How to Make a Star (2013). This was followed by several more such as Grease (2014), Bare: The Musical (2015), Thrill Me (2016), In the Heights (2016), and Il Tenore (2018). He and Lee Kyu-hyung (Prison Playbook) became known as a "legendary pair" in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (2020, 2021-2022). He also took part in dramatic theater in 2016, with The Legend of Georgia McBride (2019) as his most recent project.

His television debut, however, was much earlier: in 2010, he was a guest in the popular variety show Running Man. He also appeared in Hangout with Yoo in 2019, even becoming a member of the sub-unit JSDK of the vocal group MSG Wannabe and releasing an album in 2021. Last year, he was a regular member of the vacation reality show Besties in Wonderland along with Lee Kyu-hyung and his college friends.

After Lee performed on stage and in variety shows, it seemed natural to take on k-dramas next—he landed the role of the male lead’s friend in the KBS2 rom-com Manhole (2017). Later, he was cast together with his real-life BFF Kim Sung-cheol in the KBS2 special To.Jenny (2018). Though he only had a small part in the tvN slice-of-life series Prison Playbook (2019)—a soldier of Jung Hae-in's character—he became a supporting character in the Baeksang Daesang (Grand Prize) winner When the Camellia Blooms (2019) as a restaurant owner’s brother.

Previously taking on villain roles, he got his well-deserved break and accolades in the family drama Once Again (2020) for his literal bromance with the male lead, Lee Sang-yeob (On the Verge of Insanity) and romantic chemistry with the male lead's sister-in-law Lee Cho-hee (First Seven Kisses). He earned not only the nickname “The National In-Law'' but also acting awards from APAN and KBS. Continuing his romance genre streak in 2021, he worked on the series Youth of May and Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha and made a cameo in season 1 of Yumi's Cells.

He recently starred as a boxer in the Netflix action series Bloodhounds with Woo Do-hwan and as a chaebol (conglomerate) owner's nephew in the police mystery k-drama Han River Police opposite Kwon Sang-woo.

If you think his year is done, he actually has a lot more birthday gifts in store for his fans. He stars alongside Kim Yoo-jung and Song Kang in the Netlix rom-com My Demon released just three days before his birthday. His movie Single in Seoul starring Lee Dong-wook and Lim Soo-jung will be showing in South Korea two days after.

Lee Sang-yi is a thespian so talented and versatile that he can easily charm viewers as a romantic partner or incite anger as a villain.


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