Kim Woo-bin is a South Korean actor and model known for his roles in films like ‘The Con Artists’ and ‘Twenty’. Growing up in Seoul, Kim always wanted to become a model. He was tall and handsome, which enabled him to grab some modelling assignments early in his career, and when he started taking acting classes, he fell in love with it and made his acting debut with a mystery drama ‘White Christmas’ in 2011. After that, there was no looking back for Kim and he started getting frequent offers, which turned him into one of the mot bankable stars of this generation. He appeared in ‘A Gentleman’s Dignity’ and ‘To the Beautiful You’ early in his career and then went on to star in ‘School 2013’, a teen drama for which he won an APAN Star Award for his performance. He continued the gigantic success with ‘The Heirs’, a television drama which made him a household name in Korea and the neighbouring countries. Recently, he was seen in the film ‘Master’, which became a big success. In 2017, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.
Childhood & Early Life
Kim Woo-bin was born in Seoul, South Korea on July 16, 1989 to upper middle class parents. He was a normal kid, playing around in his house with his siblings, interested in extracurricular activities and pretty average in studies. His tall height and handsome face was one of the reasons he got interested in modelling, and partly due to insistence of his parents and friends.
While in high school, he worked on his body and started modelling in high school itself. He didn’t have much interest in acting then, but he was almost sure of the fact that acting follows a modelling career.
At the age of 20, he started appearing on the ramp as a runway model and when he had already walked the ramp for some of the most famous designers, he started getting offers for TV commercials which he lapped up. He received moderate success there, but his directors and producers weren’t genuinely satisfied with his acting chops. Disheartened by this, Kim became determined to learn acting and he found his acting guru in Moon Won-joo.
Amazed by the wide range of acting prowess that Moon possessed, Kim found his role model in him. About the experience, Kim said that during the time he started learning acting, he was extremely mesmerized and thrilled by the art form and seeing Moon perform were some of the most satisfying moments of his life.
Around 2011, he became all ready to embark on a career in acting and started auditioning. Laced with sharp looks and immense acting talent, it didn’t take him much time to get acting assignments.
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Kim’s acting career started in 2011 with his first TV series ‘White Christmas’, where he had a very small part. The mystery drama series was a low budget affair and it wasn’t big enough to give Kim a wide exposure. Same was the case with his second TV project, which too was a low budget sitcom, named ‘Vampire Idol’. It was about a vampire who comes down to earth from his world.
In 2011, he appeared as a guest judge on ‘Korea’s Next Top Model’ and in the next year came a romantic comedy drama titled ‘A Gentleman’s Dignity’, about careers and love lives of some Korean professionals. The series became hugely popular among the audience and the critics, and dominated the 2012 SBS award by winning more than a dozen awards.
In 2012, Kim appeared in ‘The Beautiful you’ the Korean adaptation of a successful Japanese Manga. Although his role was short, he was proud to be a part of it and he was right, the show went on to become a great success.
He had done many roles by then, but the success that he desired wasn’t quite in sight. The year 2013, however, came with surprises, and this was about to be the year which would turn Kim into one of the biggest young acting stars in Korea. The first big project of the year came in the form of ‘School 2013’, where Kim played a school going teenager. The series became a rage among Korean youngsters, and Kim’s performance in it was so good that he went on to receive the first ever acting award of his career, in the form of APAN Star Awards.
The 2013 the teen drama ‘The Heirs’, which other than becoming one of the most successful Korean TV series nationally and internationally, made the stars of the show highly popular. This resulted in a massive popularity in the neighbouring country China and a massive increase in the number of acting roles and endorsement opportunities for Kim.
After making his film debut with a moderately successful 2012 film titled ‘Runaway Cop’, where Kim played a guest role, he appeared in the 2013 film ‘Friend: The Great Legacy’, where he played the character of Han Sung-hoon, a young and dreamy eyed gangster. The film was a major commercial and critical success and earned Kim a long lasting credibility among the film producers as well.
The year 2013 ended with a hosting stint for the music show ‘M! Countdown’ and in 2014, excited from the new found success in films, Kim focused his career in films and appeared in ‘The Con Artists’, a heist thriller. The film was a success and Kim signed a few more films carefully to continue his film career.
The major accessory brand Calvin Klein chose Kim as their brand ambassador for East Asia, which made him a popular face in the western countries as well.
He furthered his film career with the 2015 film ‘Twenty’, a coming of age film, which received a general critical and commercial appreciation. It was followed by the 2016 crime drama film ‘Master’, which eventually became one of the highest grossing films of the year. ‘Uncontrollably Fond’ was the TV series in which Kim appeared in 2016, which also happens to his last TV appearance till date.
As for awards, Kim has won almost a dozen of them. Starting from his modelling days, to his TV acting stints, then to the film awards, Kim has dominated one or the other award function every year. He has won Grand Bell and Blue Dragon award for ‘Friend: The Great Legacy’, Korean Film Actors Guild award for ‘The Con Artists’ and SBS Drama and an Annhui TV Drama award for ‘The Heirs’.
Kim Woo-bin’s friendship with fellow ‘School 2013’ actor Lee Jong-suk is quite well-known as they both have known each other since their modelling days.
After months of speculations and rumours, Kim made his relationship status public in July 2015 and said that he was dating actress ‘Shin Min-a’.
In 2017, Kim’s career seemed to be on a perfect track when a tragedy struck him in the form of cancer. In May 2017, Kim was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer, a rare form of the disease and his agency said that Kim has been receiving treatment for the same. He has taken a break from acting, to take care of his health.