Sam Hammington is a New Zealand-born Australian comedian, reality television star, MC and radio host based in South Korea who became the most recognizable foreign face in the country due to his appearance in one of the country's highest-rated reality TV show, 'Real Men', for which he won the 'MBC Entertainment Awards' twice in 2013-14. Since 2016, he has been appearing on the reality-variety show 'The Return of Superman', featuring celebrity dads and their children, which also features his two sons, William and Bentley. Thanks to his performance in the series, he became the first foreigner to win a 'KBS Entertainment Award' in 2018, when he got the 'Top Excellence Award' in the 'Male Variety Category'. The next year, he shared the 'Grand Prize' at the '17th KBS Entertainment Awards' with other celebrities on the show, and was also nominated in the 'Top Excellence Award in Entertainment' category. He has appeared in the film 'How to Steal a Dog,' television series such as 'Witch Hunt', 'Let's Eat' and 'Who Are You: School 2015', and shows like 'True Justice', 'Happy Together' and 'Infinite Challenge'. From 2008 to 2012, he hosted the radio show 'Drivetime' with Annabelle Ambrose.
Sam Hammington began his television career in Australia when he was still a child. Born to a casting director, he had appeared in TV series such as 'Holiday Island', 'All the Rivers Run', 'The Flying Doctors' and 'Neighbours' even before he was ten years old. However, his career as an adult started in the early 2000s in South Korea. He first came to the country in 2001 as part of an exchange trip while pursuing his business, marketing and Korean language degree at Swinburne University of Technology. He was discovered after he attended a live comedy show in Seoul and was selected from the audience to participate in a skit. He instantly gained attention as a Korean-speaking foreigner, and was contacted by one of the directors and scriptwriters from the audience who wanted someone like him for a show.
He began working in the Korean television industry during the 2002 FIFA World Cup, and got his first big break on the popular comedy program 'Gag Concert' in 2005. He also had a couple of small roles in films, but it was only after being selected as an original cast member on the first season of the reality-military show 'Real Men' in 2013 that he became a national star. A foreigner, he appeared on the show which depicted a group of celebrities going through the mandatory military training that every able-bodied Korean man is required to take. Now he is so popular in the country that his mother cannot go out with him in fear of getting mobbed!
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Family & Early Life
Sam Hammington was born as Samuel Mayer Russ Hammington on July 31, 1977, in Wellington, New Zealand, to a New Zealander father, Bruce William Hammington, and an Australian mother, Jan Russ. He spent much of his early life in Melbourne, Australia, with his mother, who is a casting director and an actor primarily known for working in the long running soap opera 'Neighbours'. He has an older sister from his mother’s previous relationship, whom she was forced to give up for adoption during the 1960s because she was young and unwed.
He began working on television in Australia when he was very young, but he later shifted his focus to his studies in secondary school. He attended Swinburne University of Technology, where he decided to take up an Asian language course to strengthen his resume, and selected Korean because Japanese and Chinese language courses were high in demand. He graduated with double majors in marketing and Korean studies, and subsequently became a transfer student at Korea University in 2002. A tearful Hammington revealed on television in 2013 that his parents had divorced because his father was gay.
Sam Hammington first met his future wife, Jung Yu-mi, in 1999 at a restaurant in Itaewon.He initially lied to her about his age and had claimed to be six years older, while in fact, she is two years older than him. Even though she was not fluent in English, she asked him where he was from, to which he asked her in Korean to "guess". While her guess that he was from UK turned out to be wrong, they became close and dated for years before their marriage in October 2013. There were two wedding ceremonies, a traditional Korean one which was aired nationally on Korean television, and another one at the Melbourne Zoo in Australia. They later welcomed two sons, William Bruce Hammington (born in July 2016) and Bentley Hammington (born in November 2017). His first-born child was named after his father, who had passed away in the early 2000s.