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Lee Sun-kyun (이선균)

Updated: Dec 27, 2023

GwenchaNoona mourns the untimely passing of a wonderful actor, husband, and father.

Lee Sun-kyun could mount a performance where he reads the phone book, and crowds would gather to listen to his uncommonly deep and buttery voice. So distinct is it that many Korean actors try to mimic it - much like how Christopher Walken’s signature cadence is oft impersonated in Hollywood.

March 2, 1975 - December 27, 2023

Although his voice undoubtedly brings an extra measure of gravitas to his performances, it is just one aspect of what makes Lee Sun-kyun such an enigmatic, powerful on-screen presence.

Lee Sun-kyun became a household name in 2007 thanks to the classic gender-bending rom-com Coffee Prince and medical drama White Tower, for which he received his first Baeksang Arts Awards acting nomination.

While he has also appeared as the lead in the popular dramas Pasta (2010), Golden Time (2012), Miss Korea (2016), and Diary of a Prosecutor (2020), his pathos-steeped portrayal of middle-aged melancholy in the Baeksang Best Drama winning slice-of-life series My Mister (2018) is his most acclaimed work on the small screen.

His film work is even more impressive, having cut his teeth early on under the renowned auteur Hong Sang-hoo in several arthouse films. He is best known for Paju (2009), the mystery thriller Helpless (2012), and the thriller A Hard Day (2014), which was remade in Japan, China, the Philippines, and France.

His role as a wealthy technopreneur Park Dong-ik in Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning Parasite (2019) catapulted him to international fame. It made him one of the first Korean actors to win at the US-based Critics Choice Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Since then, he has starred in the medical thriller Dr. Brain, AppleTV+’s first Korean-language series, the political film Kingmaker, and the revenge series Payback.

This tall, handsome, and singularly captivating ahjussi with a talent for creatively whipping up meals (check out his 2019 travel variety show with Kim Nam-gil, Trans-Siberian Pathfinders) is married to award-winning actress Jeon Hye-jin, with whom he has two sons.

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