Lee Dong-wook

Lee Dong-wook
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Name:
Lee Dong-wook (Lee Dong-Wook)
Who is:
,
Birth date:
(42 y.o.)
Place of birth:
Seoul, South Korea
Height:
6'0 ft ()
Weight:
159 lb (72 kg)
Relationship:
single
Birth Sign:
Chinese zodiac:
Links:

Biography of Lee Dong-wook

Lee Dong-wook is a popular South Korean actor and television host who began his career in the modeling industry. He gained fame not only in his home country but also worldwide after starring in K-dramas such as "My Girl", "Hotel King", "Goblin", "Hell Is Other People", "Ban and Crazy", and "Tale of the Nine Tailed". In Korea, he is incredibly adored as the host of the show "Strong Heart" and his own project "Because Lee Dong-wook Wants to Talk".
Lee Dong-wook
Lee Dong-wook

Childhood, Youth, Family

Dong-wook Lee was born in the fall of 1981 into an ordinary family from Seoul. He has a younger sister, Sun-Hee Lee, whom he was used to taking care of from an early age. The future celebrity's mother said that a few hours before her son was born, she dozed off and dreamed of a big boar. In Asia, the pig is considered a symbol of wealth and prosperity, so the boy was predicted to be successful even before he was born.

Like many of his peers, Lee grew up loving swimming and basketball, ice skating, and playing hockey. His parents tried to provide everything for their children, but they couldn't afford a good education for both, so Dong-wook attended a private school while his sister went to a regular one.
Dong-wook Lee in childhood
Dong-wook Lee in childhood
The boy was in fifth grade when the family's house burned down in a fire. However, his parents didn't lose heart and worked hard to maintain the children's usual lifestyle.

In high school, the young man, blessed with good looks inherited from his beautiful mother, began working part-time as a model and bringing home his first earnings.
Dong-wook Lee in the early years
Dong-wook Lee in the early years
Before that, he had dreamed of becoming a teacher and was always among the top five students in his native language classes, scoring 115 out of a possible 120 on the CSAT language section [College Scholastic Ability Test]. After their house burned down, he considered becoming a firefighter, then dreamed of owning his own hotel. In one interview, Lee confessed:
I could have been an office worker... I don't think I would have been a successful businessman. I don't have that kind of ambition. When I was in middle and high school, I wanted to be a hotelier. Perhaps I would have lived comfortably somewhere. I think if I hadn't become an actor, I would have been chubby. I love to eat. I stay in shape only because I'm an actor. It's my sense of duty.
Upon finishing school, the young man entered Sejong University's film arts department, but soon dropped out due to frequent filming. Later, he enrolled in the television and media arts department at Chung-Ang University but didn't graduate from it either, as he was offered a leading role in a TV series at the time.

Acting Career

At the age of 18, Dong-wook made his debut in the dramas "Coaching" and "There's a World Outside of the Road".
LEE DONG WOOK at age 19, SECRET (2000)
The young, talented and vibrant man was noticed by directors in the films "School", "The Unstoppables", "Honest Living", and after some time, he was already playing the lead role in the prime-time series "My Girl". The character Seoul Gong Chan brought the budding actor his first fame, and he was invited to the feature-length thriller "Arang" where Lee played Detective Hen Gi. His co-star on the set was the enchanting Son Yun-A.
Lee Dong-wook in the series 'My Girl'
Lee Dong-wook in the series 'My Girl'
Another leading character was given to Dong-wook in the drama "A Bittersweet Life" (2005), then he played the main character in the melodrama "The Perfect Couple" (2007). The next notable work in the actor's filmography was the drama "Heartbreak Library", where the main character in his performance is looking for his missing girlfriend, having at his disposal only the page number - 198.
Lee Dong-wook in the movie 'The Perfect Couple'
Lee Dong-wook in the movie 'The Perfect Couple'
After this film, Lee went to the army - in South Korea, service is mandatory even for stars. He spent two years in the Public Relations Service of the National Defense, occasionally getting leave for the next shootings.
Lee Dong-wook in the army
Lee Dong-wook in the army
A new turn in his career came to the Korean actor together with the touching drama "Scent of a Woman" (2011), where he starred alongside Kim Sun A. He got another leading role in the melodrama "Hotel King", and then proved that he could play not only romantic lovers, portraying three different characters in the drama "Goblin" (in another translation "Demon").
The character I played in 'Goblin' consisted of three types of characters - a king in the past, a Grim Reaper and a reincarnated character. In the end, this is related to my ability to quickly adapt. Dramas are not always filmed in the sequence of events that occur in them, otherwise I would have to play a grim reaper, and then suddenly dress up in historical clothes. The need to cope with such changes in character has been very useful for me.
After that, his career declined, so he accepted the offer of director Lee Chan-hee, who offered him one of the leading roles in the mystical thriller "Hell Is Other People" (2019). Thus, Dong-wook took on the image of serial killer Seo Moon-jo, and this was his first really villainous role, so it was not easy.
Lee Dong-wook in the series 'Strangers from Hell'
Lee Dong-wook in the series 'Strangers from Hell'
I played, constantly reminding myself that this is wrong and that it's just a staging... I asked the director to make sure that my character's behavior was not justified. I tried not to give in to the emotions of my character, Dong-wook said.

And still, the actor's friends noticed that he had changed, even his gaze had become different! And when he pondered the scene in which he pulls out the victim's teeth, and thought about how to make it as painful as possible, he realized that he should be more careful.
The Heartbreaking Story Of Lee Dong-wook
However, the efforts were justified: the drama "Hell Is Other People" immediately became a hit, and Lee Dong-wook got a role in the fantasy melodrama based on Asian mythology "Tale of the Nine Tailed" (2020). Here his character is a thousand-year-old spirit, punishing demons and in search of the reincarnation of his ancient love.
Lee Dong-wook in the series 'Tale of the Nine Tailed'
Lee Dong-wook in the series 'Tale of the Nine Tailed'
And in 2021, Lee Dong-wook played the lead role in the comedy thriller "Bad and Crazy", which also received very high ratings from viewers around the world. He transformed into a corrupt policeman who is pursued by a mysterious man in a motorcycle helmet, and the encounter with the stranger turns his carefree life upside down.
Lee Dong-wook in the series 'Bad and Crazy'
Lee Dong-wook in the series 'Bad and Crazy'

Personal Life of Lee Dong-wook

The famous Korean actor has never been married, although he has no shortage of admirers. Dong-wook has been rumored to have relationships with colleagues, but only one has been officially confirmed - with actress and singer Bae Suzy (real name Bae Soo-ji). Their relationship began in 2018, but likely, their age difference and demanding work schedules influenced their separation.
Singer Bae Suzy
Singer Bae Suzy
In addition, many of his co-stars have been named as his potential partners. For example, actress and DJ Yoo In-na has worked with him on two projects - "Goblin" and "Touch Your Heart". They played their roles as lovers so convincingly that rumors started to circulate about a possible off-screen romance. Especially since the actress revealed in an interview that she had never met an actor and a person like Dong-wook.
Lee Dong-wook and Yoo In-na in the series 'Touch Your Heart'
Lee Dong-wook and Yoo In-na in the series 'Touch Your Heart'
Lee Da-hae also talked about her relationship with a "certain colleague" for a year, explaining that "the romance ended, but friendship remained". Everyone who watched the drama "Hotel King" immediately thought it was about Dong-wook - they looked so harmonious together.
Lee Dong-wook and Lee Da-hae in the series 'Hotel King'
Lee Dong-wook and Lee Da-hae in the series 'Hotel King'
Lee continuously devotes his love and time only to his parents, sister, and nephew. He remembers how hard his parents worked for him to study in the best school and do what he loves. His parents live in an apartment that Dong-wook bought for them as soon as he could afford it. He also took care of his sister, Son Hee, by paying for her education and then her wedding. The actor helped his brother-in-law open his veterinary clinic.

Once, when speaking about family and his potential beloved wife, Lee Dong-wook confessed:
I would like to talk a lot. Even if we both are busy with work, a family is a family when we can rely on each other and say: 'I am having a hard time'. I live with my parents now and try to talk to them more often. My mom is like: 'Even if you don't tell me anything, I still know everything about you'. She always worries about me and sympathizes with me. When I start filming, I may not be home for a month or two.
Now, Lee lives separately and says he is increasingly enjoying solitude. The actor likes to retreat with a fishing rod on Jeju Island, became a philanthropist, and spends a lot on charity. One of his latest major donations - 50 million won - was to help victims of a severe forest fire that started in Uljin and spread across the country.

Lee Dong-wook Now

Lee's role as an uncle in the thriller "A Shop for Killers" (2024) proved to be an interesting experience. His character, Jin Man, single-handedly raises his niece, played by Kim Hye Jun. The sudden death of the uncle reveals a terrifying truth: he was managing a very strange shopping center.

Speaking about his character, Lee explained:
...when I played Jin Man, I hardly styled my hair or used cosmetics. However, the past image that was hidden appears in a completely different form. Jin Man's goal is simply to protect his niece and ensure that she can live a safe life. Due to the plot development, there will inevitably be a division between good and evil, meaning he isn't just a “good” person. I wanted to express the human pain that arises from this. Because, even though he couldn't live a decent life, the necessity to protect his family is like his destiny.
In addition to that, in 2024, the actor landed a role in the action film "Harbin" – a movie about Korean freedom fighters against Japanese occupation in the 1900s. It is in Harbin where they plan a daring attack.
Lee Dong Wook in the TV series 'Shop for Killers'
Lee Dong Wook in the TV series 'Shop for Killers'

Interesting Facts

  • In one of his interviews, Lee Dong-wook confessed that if he had actually managed a shopping center, as he dreamed in childhood, he would have sold children's goods in the form of WookDong, his own toy:
    I will sell merchandise with WookDong, which is my official character, as well as my nickname. I want to release more different goods with his name. I need to send him to kindergarten and primary school, and soon he will also have to wear a school uniform.
  • Dong-wook dreams of mastering scuba diving in his spare time, as he had participated in many underwater scenes while filming the drama "Guardian: The Lonely and Great God", which were very challenging for him. That's when he thought diving could be useful. The actor also hopes to learn skydiving, because he heard from a colleague, Jo Dal Hwan, that it is the most fun extreme sport. And one more thing Lee is interested in is getting a motorcycle license (though his whole family is against it).

  • With his actor friends and many interesting personalities from all over Korea, Dong-wook communicated in his own talk show "Because I Want to Talk", which started in 2019 on the SBS channel. Conversations take place both in the studio and outside its limits. Some of the first guests to come for a talk were show business stars like Gong Yoo, Park Bo Young, Kim Soo Hyun.
    A Blind Date with Lee Dong Wok and Gong Yoo [Because I Want to Talk Ep 2]

  • Lee admits that he feels comfortable in solitude, but does not rule out that he may get married someday. His statement that he would do the housework himself caused even more admiration among fans: Even if I get married, I will take care of the house. I have my own cleaning method, and I feel uncomfortable when someone does it differently. This is my personal opinion. I think men should do household chores. They require strength, and it’s better for stronger men to handle them.