Childhood & Early Life
Kwon Sang-woo was born on August 5, 1976, in Daejeon, South Korea. He lost his father when he was just eight months of age. His mother is a Roman Catholic; he later followed her footsteps to convert himself after playing a seminarian in the 2004 South Korean romantic comedy film ‘Love, So Divine’. The confirmation name of Kwon is Francisco.
He attended ‘Hannam University’ and obtained a B.A. degree in Education. Meanwhile in 1998, after attending six months of first year of university, he was inducted into South Korean Army for military training. He finished his compulsory training in 2001.
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Considered a fine example of mom-zzang (combo of the Korean words for 'best' and 'body’) movement, Kwon landed up in the world of glitz, glamour and entertainment in the late 1990s as a fashion model.
His acting debut happened in 2001 with the South Korean romance comedy drama TV series ‘Delicious Proposal’ where he played the role of a motorcycle delivery guy Choon-shik. That year he also landed up with his first film ‘Volcano High’, a South Korean martial arts action comedy.
He received the New Star Award at the 2002 SBS Drama Awards for portraying Yoon Ho-jae in the romantic comedy TV series ‘We Are Dating Now’ (2002).
His first lead role came in the 2002South Korean comedy film ‘Make It Big’ where he starred along with Song Seung-heon, and Kim Young-jun.
He landed up with his big break the following year with the February 7, 2003, released South Korean romantic comedy film ‘My Tutor Friend’ starring opposite Kim Ha-neul. The film topped box office for five weeks in a row and emerged as the third best selling Korean film of that year. It shot Kwon to stardom.
His brilliant performance as Kim Ji-hoon in ‘My Tutor Friend’ fetched him Best New Actor (Film) award at the 39th Baeksang Arts Awards and the Best New Actor award at the 40th Grand Bell Awards in 2003.
He then cemented his position in the world of acting with his remarkable tear-jerking performance in the lead role of Cha Song-joo in the extremely popular South Korean romance melodrama TV series ‘Stairway to Heaven’. The series garnered high ratings during its run.
‘Stairway to Heaven’ not only gave him acclaim and recognition as a regional star earning him nickname "Mr. Tears" by fans for his tear-jerking acting but also fetched him two SBS Drama Awards in 2003 furthering his rising popularity.
His next film was the 2004 drama film ‘Once Upon a Time in High School’ where he starred along with Han Ga-in and Lee Jung-jin. This film also became a commercial success thus bolstering his acting career. It earned him Most Popular Actor (Film) award at the 40th Baeksang Arts Awards in 2004 among others.
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In the ensuing years he performed in several other films and TV series which however failed to match the success of his previous work. These failures brought a downturn in his otherwise flourishing career.
His works included films ‘Love, So Divine’ (2004), ‘Running Wild’ (2006), ‘Almost Love’ (2006), ‘Fate’ (2008) and ‘More Than Blue’ (2009) and TV series ‘Sad Love Story’ (2005), ‘Bad Love’ (2007), and ‘Cinderella Man’ (2009).
While continuing with his acting pursuits, Kwon set up the cosmetics firm ‘Natural Tears’ in 2009. He is the owner and CEO of the firm.
He came back to the limelight again with the starring role of Ku Kap-Jo in the June 16, 2010 released commercially hit South Korean war drama film ‘71: Into the Fire’. It drew 3,358,960 admissions and became the fifth highest-grossing film of that year garnering $20,967,660 at the box office.
His popularity furthered with the hit South Korean romance politics television drama ‘Daemul’ where he essayed the role of Ha Do-ya opposite Go Hyun-jung who played Korea's first female president in the series.
‘Daemul’ garnered good viewership ratings during its run in the SBS from October 6, 2010 to December 23, 2010, and remained number one in its timeslot for 11 weeks in a row. It fetched Kwon Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special and Top 10 Stars award at the SBS Drama Awards in 2010.
In 2012, he expanded his acting endeavours beyond homeland productions and landed up playing Kwon Jung-hoon in the Chinese romantic comedy film ‘Shadows of Love’ with famous Hong Kong actress and cantopop singer Cecilia Cheung. That year he also had the opportunity to work with world renowned Hong Kong martial artist, actor and filmmaker Jackie Chan in the Chinese action film ‘CZ12’.
Other foreign endeavours of Kwon include his singing debut with a DVD in Japan in 2010; playing lead role in Chinese TV series ‘Wind Flower Snow Moon’ (2015), and performing in the Chinese romance film ‘Honey Enemy’ (2015) opposite Zhang Yuqi.
His other notable South Korean projects include TV series ‘Queen of Ambition’ (2013), ‘Medical Top Team’ (2013), ‘Temptation’ (2014) and ‘Queen of Mystery’ (2017); and the September 24, 2015 released action comedy film ‘The Accidental Detective’. He will reprise the role of Kang Dae-man from ‘The Accidental Detective’ in its upcoming sequel titled ‘The Accidental Detective 2.
He has maximum shareholding of in the Ocean Blue Hotel Bali and has also opened the cafe Tea'Us in Myeong-dong.