Birthday: July 10, 1979
Age: 42 Years, 42 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Cancer
Also Known As: Gong Ji-chul
Born in: Busan, South Korea
Famous as: Actor
South Korean Men
Height: 6'0" (183 cm), 6'0" Males
City: Busan, South Korea
awards: 2011 · Silenced - Blue Dragon Film Award for Best Leading Actor
2017 · Train To Busan - Asian Film Award for Best Actor
2014 · The Suspect - Baeksang Arts Award for Most Popular Actor in Film
2017 · Guardian: The Lonely and Great God - Baeksang Arts Award for Most Popular Male in Television
Who is Gong Yoo?
Gong Yoo is the stage name of popular South Korean film and television actor, Gong Ji-chul. Born in an upper-class family from Busan, he was a model before starting his career in the show business as a video jockey on Mnet. His first role was in the 2001 television series ‘School 4,’ which was followed by many guest appearances in various films and TV shows. In ‘Hello My Teacher’, he debuted as a male lead on television. Although the series received a lukewarm response from the audience, it gave him enough opportunity to demonstrate at least some of his acting prowess. Then an acting opportunity in ‘The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince’ came about in 2007—his breakthrough role. Since then, he has secured his position as one of the most internationally recognizable actors working in the South Korean entertainment industry today. He has hosted game shows, made appearances on music videos, and won multiple awards. At the height of his career, he was enlisted for the mandatory military service in 2008. He returned to the industry almost two years later and initially had to struggle to regain his footing. In the last two years, however, his career has seen a massive resurgence.
Childhood & Early Life
Gong Yoo was born on July 10, 1979, in Busan, South Korea. His father is Gong Won. Fellow actor Kang Dong-won is his cousin. Interested in acting since childhood, he graduated with a degree in theatre from the Kyung Hee University.
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After his debut in the KBS2 drama ‘School 4’ as Hwang Tae-young, Gong Yoo spent the next two years appearing in small roles in TV shows such as ‘Whenever the Heart Beats (2002), ‘Hard Love’ (2002), ‘20 Years’ (2003), ‘Best Theater: Flying Saucer’ (2003), ‘Screen’ (2003), and ‘My Room, Your Room’ (2003). He hosted the 2004 MBC show ‘Music Camp’.
Gong Yoo made his debut on the big screen with ‘My Tutor Friend’, a 2003 romantic comedy where he portrayed Lee Jong-soo, a high-school student.
In 2004, he did three films, ‘Spy Girl’, ‘Superstar Mr Gam’, and ‘S Diary’. In ‘Spy Girl’, he played Choi Go-bong, a student who falls in love with a local Burger King employee. But the girl turns out to be a North Korean Spy. He was cast as Park Chul-soo, an ace-baseball pitcher, in the sports drama ‘Superstar Mr Gam’. He portrayed a wandering artist in ‘S Diary’.
He starred alongside Gong Hyo-jin in ‘Hello My Teacher’, a role that effectively set him out on the road to international stardom. The 16-episode series got him an Excellence Award nomination at the 2005 SBS Drama Awards.
‘Like a Dragon’, the live-action adaptation of ‘Yakuja’, a PlayStation 2 video game released in 2005, was a Japanese crime film directed by Takashi Miike. As Park, a mysterious Korean hitman, Gong Yoo shone in the film. Its popularity led to the making of five more episodes, multiple spin-offs, and a direct-to-video film, ‘Like a Dragon: Prologue.’
Gong Yoo became a major Hallyu star after the success of ‘The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince’. In 2007, he received an MBC Drama Award for Excellence (actor) for his role as Choi Han-kyul and was also nominated for an MBC Best Couple Award along with Yoon Eun-hye.
During his conscription in the South Korean military, Gong Yoo spent the first eight months performing frontline active service in Cheorwon before his transfer to the public relations department at the Defense Media Agency, where he was a radio jockey for the army station. In December 2009, he received his discharge orders.
Gong Yoo had wanted to turn Gong Ji-young's novel ‘The Crucible’ into a film for a long while. Upon his return to the industry, he was finally able to initiate the production proceedings. Released on September 22, 2011, the film was a huge critical and commercial success.
Furthermore, it sparked a public debate which ultimately led to the legislative introduction of a bill targeting sex crimes against minors and the disabled. It was dubbed as Dogani Bill, after the Korean title of the film, and was passed in the National Assembly in late October 2011.
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His recent projects include ‘Big’ (2012), ‘The Suspect’ (2013), ‘A Man and a Woman (2016), and ‘The Age of Shadows’ (2016). In 2014, he appeared on the music video of Kim Dong-ryool’s song ‘How I Am’.
Gong Yoo portrayed Seok-woo, a workaholic fund manager, in the 2016 zombie apocalyptic action thriller ‘Train to Busan’. Directed by Yeon Sang-ho, it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and went on set a record of being the first Korean movie of the year to register over 10 million theatregoers. The film marks the reunion of Gong Yoo and Jung Yu-mi, their first movie together since ‘The Crucible’.
He starred as the eponymous character in the tvN fantasy romance drama ‘Guardian: The Lonely and Great God’ (2016-17). Known internationally as simply ‘Goblin’, the show was a major hit and regularly topped cable television viewership ratings in South Korea, with the series finale documenting an 18.680% audience share, the second highest rated episode in the history of Korean television after ‘Reply 1988’ (2015-16). It has since come to be regarded as a cultural phenomenon in South Korea.
Awards & Achievements
In 2003, Gong Yoo received the first award of his career, an SBS Drama New Star Award for playing the role of Kim Joon-pyo in ‘Screen’.
He won the Popular Star Award at the 32nd Blue Dragon Film Awards for ‘Silenced’ (2011).
For the 2013 spy-action thriller ‘The Suspect’, he was honoured with the Top Excellence Award for Actor in a Film at the 22nd Korea Culture and Entertainment Awards.
In November 2013, he was chosen by UNICEF as their special representative in Korea. In this capacity, he has travelled to various parts of the world to raise awareness about the condition of children in developing countries.
Gong Yoo and actress Ha Ji-won were picked as the ambassadors for the National Tax Service on July 7, 2014. They were featured on the government agency’s promotional posters and participated in street campaigns to promote honest tax payment. They also received presidential citations for paying their taxes faithfully at the 48th Taxpayer’s Day ceremony.
At the 53rd Baeksang Arts Awards, he won the Best Actor Award (TV) for ‘Guardian: The Lonely and Great God’ in 2017.
Gong Yoo has been linked with several of his co-stars over the years. After portraying an on-screen couple on ‘The First Shop of Coffee Prince’, there were rumours that he and actress Yoon Eun-hye were dating. However, they both denied having any romantic relationship.
In 2008, a weekly magazine in Korea reported that Gong Yoo had taken actress Im Soo-jung to Jeju Island in southern coast of Korea for a vacation. Some of their friends had apparently accompanied them as well.
In summer 2016, everyone from his fans to the media started speculating that Gong Yoo and Im had gotten married. His manager later released a statement on October 24, 2016, calling the rumours “ungrounded and false”.
In 2017, Gong Yoo revealed in an interview that he is a descendant of the Chinese philosopher Confucius (551- 479 BCE).