Who is Ji Sung?
Ji Sung is a popular South Korean actor, famous for his roles in ‘All In’, ‘Protect the Boss’, ‘Save the Last Dance for Me’, and many others. He has a successful career in the South Korean film and television industry, and has enacted roles spanning numerous genres. Sung has starred in a series of successful television dramas such as ‘Delicious Proposal’, ‘All In’, ‘Beating Heart’, ‘Kill Me, Heal Me’, and more. He also essayed the lead role in popular movies including ‘Blood Rain’, ‘My P.S. Partner’, and ‘The Vampire Lives Next Door’. He has also appeared in several music videos such as ‘Leave Me Alone’, ‘The Practical Usage of Sadness’, for famous artists like Lee Ki-chan and KCM. His charming nature and good looks make him a favourite of the audience. Ji Sung is married to Lee Bo Young and they have a daughter together. A complete family man, he is often seen posting photos of his daughter and wife on social media.
Childhood & Early Life
Ji Sung was born on February 27, 1977. His birth name is Kwak Tae Geun. Both his parents were in the field of education and hence, they expected Ji to follow in their footsteps as well.
However, Ji chanced to see the movie ‘Rain Man’ starring Dustin Hoffman in his sophomore year of high school. Hoffman’s performance had a tremendous impact on the young man and he decided to be an actor.
He graduated from the Hanyang University with Theatre and Film as his major.
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Ji Sung started his career with the drama ‘KAIST’ in 1999. He was noticed by Song Ji-na, the famous songwriter at his audition, who then wrote a character for him in the show. Around this time, he adopted the stage name ‘Ji Sung’ upon the suggestion of his manager.
He then played a few minor characters in the dramas ‘March, ‘Popcorn’, and ‘I Want to Keep Seeing You’. In 2001, he played the character of Oh Joon Soo in ‘Delicious Proposal’ and starred in a guest episode of ‘Open Drama Man and Woman’.
Sung got the role of Jang Seok-jin in the television drama ‘Wonderful Days’ in 2001, a considerably bigger part than his previous work. He further played the role of Lee Seung-joon in the KBS2 drama ‘Sunshine Hunting’ in 2002.
A major breakthrough came when Sung was cast as the second lead in the 2003 gambling drama, ‘All In’. Sung himself approached the casting directors for the role and got the part. The series was a smashing hit and Sung became wildly popular. His performance as ‘Choi Jung-Won’ was praised by the audience and critics alike.
In a departure from his regular roles, Ji Sung starred in a period drama based on the Joseon dynasty, ‘The King’s Woman’. He essayed the titular role of Prince Gwanghae.
In 2004, Sung appeared in ‘Terms of Endearment’ and ‘Save the Last Dance for Me’. In the latter, he played the role of a rich businessman who falls in love with a simple girl through happenstance. Sung also met his future wife, Lee Bo-Young on the sets of ‘Save the Last Dance for Me’.
In 2005 Sung made a couple of guest appearances including ‘Beating heart’ and ‘Blood Rain’. He then enlisted for his mandatory military service on June 7, 2005. In February 2006, he was transferred to the military promotion unit. He completed his period of service on June 6, 2007.
He made his comeback through the medical drama ‘New Heart’ in 2007-2008, where he played a cheerful cardiothoracic surgeon. His next big hit was ‘Swallow the Sun’, a revenge drama based on the novel of the same name.
In 2011, Sung starred in ‘Royal Family’, a highly intriguing series about the dark side of wealth in a chaebol family. His role was that of a rags-to-riches lawyer who helps his friend become the head of the corporate conglomerate. In the same year, he also played an immature yet lovable young businessman in the rom-com ‘Protect the Boss’.
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His next role was that of a seer in the series ‘The Great Seer’ in 2012. He then starred in the realistic romantic comedy ‘My PS Partner’, where he played a heartsick songwriter. In 2013, he was a part of the sophisticated melodrama ‘Secret Love’. The year 2014 saw him return to serious roles with ‘Confession’, a dark film that explored the impact of death on the psyche of three childhood friends.
Sung then played the role of a millionaire who has dissociative identity disorder, with seven multiple personalities in ‘Kill Me, Heal Me’ in 2015. The series boosted his popularity tremendously and developed a cult following in South Korea.
After a string of successes, he hit a rough patch with ‘Entertainer’ in 2016, which was a commercial failure. He regained his winning streak with ‘Defendant’ in 2017, a prosecutor suffering from temporary amnesia. The series received rave reviews.
Ji Sung rose to prominence with the gambling drama ‘All In’ in 2003, where he played the second main lead. The finale of the series had a record viewership rating of 47.7%, placing it among the top 50 most-watched episodes of all time in Korean television.
His work in the medical drama ‘New Heart’ in 2007, as a compassionate but academically poor cardiothoracic resident surgeon, won him acclaim.
Sung’s revenge drama ‘Swallow the Sun’ in 2009 was well-received commercially and critically. Sung had to undergo rigorous training to portray thelead character who is sent to prison on a faraway island.
He has starred in several period dramas such as ‘The King’s Woman’, ‘Kim Su-ro’ of ‘The Iron King’, ‘The Great Seer’, and many more.He is known for his intense roles in dramas such as ‘Royal Family’, ‘Defendant’, and others.
Sung earned a cult fan following with his work in ‘Kill Me, Heal Me’, where he essayed the role of a millionaire with dissociative identity disorderon account of being a victim of child abuse. His portrayal of seven multiple personalities garnered rave reviews from audiences.
Awards & Achievements
From 2001-2004, Ji Sung received six nominations and won five awards. He won the MBC Dramas award for Best New Actor for his role in The Rules of Marriage, the SBS Drama Award for New Star for Wonderful Days, Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special for All In, and Top 10 Stars for Save the Last Dance for Me.
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In 2008, he won the MBC Drama Award in the category Golden Acting Awards, Actor in a Mini-series for New Heart. He was also nominated for the Excellence Award. He was nominated for the Excellence Award in 2009 at the SBS Drama Awards for ‘Swallow the Sun’.
In 2011-2012 he won the Best Couple Award with his co-star Choi Kang-hee for Protect the Boss at the SBS Awards. He was the recipient of 3 awards for Secret Love at the KBS Drama Awards in 2013, including the Top Excellence Award, Popularity Award, and Best Couple Award.
Sung was nominated for two consecutive years at the APAN Star Awards in the Excellence Award, Actor in a Mini-Series category. He was also nominated in the Best Actor Category for Kill Me, heal ME at the 51stBaeksang Arts Awards and 10th Seoul International DramaAwards.
In 2015-2016, Sung won no less than seven awards for Kill Me, Heal Me, including the Daesang at the MBC Drama Awards, Best Couple, and Top Excellence Award for Actor in a mini-series, Best Actor at the 4th Annual Drama Fever Awards, Best Performer at the 28th Korea PD Awards.
He was nominated for the Best Popular Actor (Television) at the 53rdBaeksang Awards in 2017.
Ji Sung dated park Sol-mi, his co-star from ‘All In’ from 2003 to 2006.
He met his future wife, Lee Bo-Young, on the sets of ‘Save the Last Dance for Me’ in 2004. They officially announced their relationship in 2007.
In 2013, Ji Sung got engaged to Lee Bo-young on August 2, announcing their engagement via social media sites. The couple got married on September 27, 2013, at Aston House in Seoul.
Their first daughter, Kwak Ji-yo, was born on June 12, 2015. Sung is a doting father and often posts adorable pictures of the mother-daughter duo wearing matching outfits on social media.