|Nickname||JJ Irish Examiner|
|Profession(s)||Actor, Model, Producer, Director & Entrepreneur|
|Physical Stats & More|
|Daum - Lee Jung-jae Height||in centimeters- 180 cm
in meters- 1.80 m
in feet & inches- 5’ 11”
|Agencies||• C-JeS Entertainment (2013-2016)
• Artist Company (since 2016)
TV (South Korean): Dinosaur Teacher (1993) as 'Lee Jung-jae'
Feature Film (South Korean): The Young Man (1994) as 'Lee Han'
Short Film (South Korean): MOB 2025 (2001) as 'Dust'
Feature Film (Chinese): Tik Tok (2016) as 'Jiang Cheng-jun'
Feature Film (as a producer): Namsan (South Korean)
Feature Film (as a director): Hunt (2021; South Korean) (he also produced the film)
|Awards, Honours, Achievements||Blue Dragon Film Awards
• Best Leading Actor for 'Assassination' in 2015
• Best Supporting Actor for 'The Face Reader' in 2013
• Best Leading Actor for 'City of the Rising Sun' in 1999
• Best New Actor for 'The Young Man' in 1995
Baeksang Arts Awards
• InStyle Fashionista Award in 2015
• Best Supporting Actor (Film) for 'The Face Reader' in 2014
• Most Popular Actor (Film) for 'City of the Rising Sun' in 1999
• Most Popular Actor for the film 'Firebird' in 1997
• Best New Actor (TV) for 'Sandglass' in 1995
Grand Bell Awards
• Popularity Award for the film 'The Face Reader' in 2013
• Best Actor for the film 'Typhoon' in 2006
• Best New Actor for the film 'The Young Man' in 1995
Style Icon Awards
• Bonsang in 2016
• Style Icon Actor in 2008
Korean Association of Film Critics Awards
• CJ CGV Star Award for 'New World' and 'The Face Reader' in 2013
• Best Actor for 'City of the Rising Sun' in 1999
• Best New Actor for 'The Young Man' in 1995
Other Awards, Honors & Achievements
• Asia Artist Award — Grand Prize (Daesang) - Film for 'Deliver Us from Evil' in 2020
• Elle Style Award for Super Icon (Male) in 2018
• Ranked 24 on Forbes' Korea Power Celebrity list in 2016
• Busan International Film Festival - Actor of the Year in 2015
• Buil Film Award for Best Actor for 'Assassination' in 2015
• Marie Claire Asia Star Award for Actor of the Year for 'Assassination' in 2015
• KOFRA Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for 'The Face Reader' in 2014
• Fantasporto Director's Week - Award for the Best Actor for 'The Housemaid' in 2011
• Mnet 20's Choice Award for Most Influential Star in 2010
• Golden Cinematography Award for Best Actor for 'Typhoon' in 2006
• Verona Love Screens Film Festival - Award for the Best Actor 'Asako in Ruby Shoes' in 2002
• 38th Savings Day - Prime Minister's Commendation in 2001
• SBS Drama Award for Best New Actor for 'Sandglass' in 1995
|Date of Birth||December 15, 1972 (Friday)|
|Age (as of 2021)||49 Years|
|Birthplace||Seoul, South Korea|
|Hometown||Seoul, South Korea|
|School||• Sungui Elementary School, Gwangju
• Cheongdam Middle School, Seoul
• Hyundai Senior High School, Seoul
|College/University||Dongguk University in Seoul, South Korea|
|Educational Qualification(s)||• Bachelor's degree in Theater and Film Art Daum - Lee Jung-jae
• Master's degree in Theater and Film Art Star News Korea
|Religion/Religious Views||Protestant Christian Hankyung|
|Blood Group||B Rakuten Viki|
|Controversies||• DUI Charges
Lee Jung-jae was arrested in 1999 on the charges of driving under the influence (DUI) after he slammed his BMW into a car in the adjacent lane. He was arrested on DUI charges again in 2002 by the Seoul Gangnam Police after he drunk drove in front of the Cheongdam Elementary School in Seoul. His driving licence was suspended due to his actions.Naver
• Accusations of Outing of his Friend
In 2013, he was accused of outing his friend after an interview he gave to the Vogue Korea was published. In the interview, referring to his friend as 'Y,' he stated,
"A while ago, Y left for heaven. [Before he died,] I said to Y, ‘You should stop being gay. Haven’t you been that way enough?’ But it was not easy."
In the interview, Vogue hinted 'Y' as South Korean creative director in fashion and show business Woo Jong-wan as Lee Jung-jae had said that Y committed suicide. Woo Jong-wan, a good friend of Jung-jae, committed suicide at his home in Seoul on September 15, 2012. Even though there were rumours of Lee Jung-jae being a gay, he never confessed to being a gay publicly. As a result of the interview, Lee faced huge criticism from bloggers for outing his dead friend. Korea JoongAng Daily However, Vogue soon removed the excerpts from the interview posted online and called it a misunderstanding on their official Twitter account. Yahoo! News
• Under Probe in a Fraudulent Bond Issuance Case
In 2015, Jung-jae and Tongyang Group's Vice Chairwoman Lee Hye-kyung were under investigation in an alleged fraudulent bond issuance case. The victims (investors) of the fraud case and members of the civic group Spec Watch Korea filed a complaint against the two with the prosecution, claiming Lee Hye-kyung to have provided 16 billion Won to Jung-jae's company Seorim C&D in 2009 for developing a luxury apartment project (called La Terrace) in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul, where Tongyang Inc. (a subsidiary of Tongyang Group) was a contractor. The victims made an argument that the funds they provided for La Terrace was one of the reasons for Tongyang's downfall, as the project was unable to recover the investments. All of the allegations on Jung-jae were denied by Lee Jung-jae's agency. The Korea Times
|Relationships & More|
Note: In a past interview, he confessed that because of various dating rumours, he didn't wish to get married. He said,
"I don’t want to get married because of things like that, though. Many actors my age aren’t married yet. That’s what the people around me are like, and so I don’t think much [of marriage] either. I’m also used to living freely."
|Affairs/Girlfriends||• Kim Min-hee (South Korean actress) (2003-2006)
• Lim Se-ryeong (South Korean Entrepreneur)
|Parents||Father- Lee Chul-seong
Mother- Name not known
|Siblings||He has an elder brother.|
|Artist(s)||On Kawara (Conceptual), Jenny Holzer (Neo-Conceptual), Park Jina, Lee Wan, Chosil Kil|
|Car Collection||He owns a BMW. Naver|
|Salary (approx.)||300 million Won (about $257.098K) per episode in The Kdrama 'Squid Game' (2021), amounting to $23.02 million for the show Today|
|Assets/Properties||• La Terrace: He owns an eighteen-floor (sixteen floors above the ground and three floors below the ground) luxury residential complex in Samseong-dong called La Terrace. He designed the interior of the villa. The price of an apartment in the building ranges between 1.6 billion and 5 billion won. Jung-jae, with his neighbour as Jung Woo-sung (South Korean actor and his best friend), lives on the combined fifteenth and sixteenth floors in the building. Woman Sense
• An Apartment in Cheongdam-dong: Since 1999, he owns an apartment in Cheongdam-dong, Seoul, which was priced between 1.1 billion won and 1.2 billion won (as of 2015). Woman Sense
• A building in Sinsa-Dong: In 2011, he purchased a three-floored building in Sinsa-dong, Gangnam, Seoul, which included the 271.1 square meters, at 4.75 billion won. In 2020, Jung-jae sold the building, priced at 8.2 billion, earning a profit of 3.45 billion won. E Daily
luxury villa in Samseong
Some Lesser Known Facts About Lee Jung-jae
- Lee Jung-jae is a South Korean actor, model, producer, director, and entrepreneur. He is well known for his acting performances in the South Korean films An Affair (1998), The Last Witness (2001), Typhoon (2005), The Thieves (2012), and The Face Reader (2013). In 2021, he earned huge popularity for playing ‘Seong Gi-Hun’ in Netflix’s survival drama ‘Squid Game.’
- As he did not grow up in a well-off family, and his brother is autistic, which increased his pressure of earning for the family. In an interview, he talked about his brother and said,
I have a big brother, and he′s not well. My parents had a hard time when our family wasn′t so well off because he was born with autism. My parents had to work and because of that, I also felt responsible for taking care of him. I think that′s why my father wanted me to get a better job. Since he′s my brother, since I′m his brother, I didn′t think of him as a burden. As he couldn′t get anything to eat himself, I had to eat with him, and I always had to go looking for him whenever he got lost outdoors. That was sort of inconvenient.”
- While Lee Jung-jae was working at a cafe in Apgujeong, the South Korean fashion designer Ha Yong-soo approached him and offered him to work as a model. Since then, he started working as a model.
- In 1993, after he made his debut in the SBS series ‘Dinosaur Teacher’ (1993), he became well known, which helped him gain the lead and main roles in other Kdramas.
- Lee Jung-jae was then seen in the Kdramas Feelings (1993) and Love Is Blue (1995) before he was cast in ‘Sandglass’ (1995) as ‘Baek Jae-hee,’ the silent and devoted bodyguard of the lead character. His role was meant to be a supporting role with lesser screen time, but due to the growing popularity of his character, he became a national heartthrob. As a result, his screen time in the series was increased.
- For three consecutive years, ie, 1993, 1994, and 1995, Jung Jae was the brand ambassador of the South Korean confectionery company Lotte Confectionery.
- After playing a supporting character or second lead in the South Korean dramas Snail (1997) and White Nights 3.98 (1998), he only acted in South Korean films for a while.
- Jung-jae starred in the South Korean films Albatross (1996), Fire Bird (1997), and Father vs. Son (1997). In 1998, he was seen as ‘Woo-in’ in the South Korean film ‘An Affair’ directed by South Korean filmmaker E J-yong, which became his acting breakthrough. The film circles around the love affair of Seo-hyun (played South Korean actress Lee Mi-sook), a housewife and mother of a ten-year-old living a life of luxury, and Woo In, Seo-hyun’s younger sister’s fiance. The film earned several accolades and became the seventh-highest-grossing Korean film of 1998.
- Jung-jae then starred in lead roles in other successful South Korean films City of the Rising Sun (1999), Il Mare (2000), Last Present (2001), The Last Witness (2001), Over the Rainbow (2002), and Oh! Brothers (2003).
- In 2005, he played the lead role of ‘Sejong’ in the South Korean film ‘Typhoon,’ which was directed by Kwak Kyung-taek. The film chronicles the rivalry between Sejong (a South Korean intelligence officer) and Sin (a North Korean pirate and terrorist). In the film, Sejong’s mission is to stop Sin from committing a terrorist attack against North Korea and South Korea. With a budget of over $ 15 million, the film was the highest budget action blockbuster of that time.
- Lee Jung-jae was the ambassador for PeaceHealth Foundations, Korea Meteorological Administration, and Korean Bodybuilding & Fitness Federation in South Korea.
- In 2006, he was an honorary jury member at the Mise-en-scène Short Film Festival for the Horror Fantasy category.
- In 2007, he returned to TV and played his first lead role as ‘Kim Ji-sung’ in the South Korean drama ‘Air City.’ The series that aired on MBC Network was based on the love and professional life of four airport personnel. However, it flopped.
- Lee Jung-jae was the honorary ambassador for the Incheon International Airport and National Intelligence Service in 2007 and ambassador for Audi Volkswagen Korea in 2008.
- In 2008, he was awarded a Master’s degree in Theater and Film Art at Dongguk University, with his thesis titled ‘A Study on the Acting Approach to the Role of Kang Se-jong in the Movie Typhoon.’
- In December of the same year, Lee Jung-jae made his stage debut with ‘Hamlet in Water’ in which he played the title role of ‘Hamlet.’ The play was performed at the Dongguk University’s Lee Hae-rang Arts Theatre for four days.
- In 2008, he established a real estate development company called Seorim C&D. He is working as the director of the company.
- Between 2005 and 2010, Jung-jae went through a career slump as the works he appeared on did not do commercially well.
- In 2009, he appeared in another flop Kdrama ‘Triple’ and took a break from the South Korean television industry.
- In 2010, he played the role of ‘Hoon’ in the South Korean erotic thriller film ‘The Housemaid,’ which was directed by the South Korean filmmaker Im Sang-soo. The film was screened at the Cannes Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival and was a huge success.
- In 2010, while he was leaving for a trip to Phillippines with Daesung Group’s vice-chairman, Lim Se-ryeong, who is the ex-wife of the South Korean business magnate and the chairman of Samsung Lee Jae-yong, some reporters spotted them, leading to the rumor of the two dating each other. By then, the mother of two, Lim Se-ryeong, had already divorced Lee Jae-yong. While they denied the rumors, media outlets kept on finding the connection between the two. In January 2015, Lee finally made a public statement about the two being in a relationship. As of 2021, the couple is still in a relationship.
- In 2012, he played the main role of ‘Pew Pei’ in ‘The Thieves,’ the sixth-highest-grossing South Korean film of all time (as 0f 2021), which was directed by South Korean filmmaker Choi Dong-hoon.
- In 2012, Jung-jae made an appearance in the South Korean 13-minute split-screen short film titled ‘El Fin del Mundo,’ which was created by South Korean visual artists Moon Kyung-won and Jeon Joon-ho.
- In 2011-12, he was appointed as the honorary ambassador for the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, South Korea. Jung-jae narrated ‘Contemporary Art, Bury the Boundary,’ a 2013 TV documentary highlighting homegrown Korean artists.
- He was appointed as a special jury member at the Asiana International Short Film Festival in 2013.
- On May 19, 2016, Lee Jung-jae, along with South Korean actor Jung Woo-sung, launched their entertainment label ‘Artist Company.’ The company is signed up with South Korean actors like Go Ara, Kim Ye-won, Park So-dam, Yum Jung-ah, and Lim Ji-yeon.
- Jung-jae then starred in the blockbuster South Korean films New World (2013), The Face Reader (2013), Big Match (2014), Assassination (2015), Warriors of the Dawn (2017), Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds (2017), Svaha: The Sixth Finger (2019), and Deliver Us from Evil (2020).
- After almost ten years of being away from the TV industry, he made a comeback with the 2019 JTBC Kdrama ‘Chief of Staff’ in the main role of ‘Jang Tae-joon,’ a political aide who rises to become the most powerful man in politics.
- In 2021, he made cameo appearances on SBS’s Kdrama ‘Delayed Justice’ and Viki’s Kdrama ‘Dramaworld 2.’
- The same year, he was seen in the lead role of ‘Seong Gi-hun’ in the South Korean survival drama television series ‘Squid Game,’ which was created, written, and directed by South Korean filmmaker Hwang Dong-hyuk. In the series, Gi-gun is a divorced chauffer and gambling addict who struggles to pay off his debts and take care of his daughter, which leads his wife to take a decision to take their daughter to the United States with her second husband. To make things right, he enters the Squid Game, consisting of children’s games with the death penalty for the losers, to win prize money of ₩45.6 billion. Other main roles in the series were played by Park Hae-soo, Wi Ha-joon, Jung Ho-yeon, O Yeong-su, Heo Sung-tae, Anupam Tripathi, and Kim Joo-ryoung. The series was streamed on and distributed by Netflix worldwide, and it became the first Korean drama to peak at number one on Netflix’s top ten weekly most-watched TV show charts globally. Within the first 28 days of its availability, the series garnered 111 million viewers worldwide, becoming Netflix’s most-watched series at its launch.
- In a scene in Squid Game, he was having lunch with other contestants. The scene caught the attention of many and went viral because he was seen eating air. The scene earned him names like ‘Jung-jae Lee, the king of self-management’ and ‘the master of air mukbang.’ In a talk show, he explained the details and said,
When we film the eating scene, we actually eat well in the first take. But when the take goes over three, four, or more than the fifth, I start to cheat because I’m full. I think I did the trick. I thought it wouldn’t be noticed in the scene because I had my back on the camera. I ate hard from the front, but it was added in the edited version (laughs). Maybe the editors didn’t notice because I ate the air so hard.”
- He is the owner of and runs ‘Il Mare,’ an Italian restaurant chain in Seoul, South Korea; the name of the restaurant was kept after his 2000 film ‘Il Mare.’ The interior of the restaurant was designed by Jung-jae as he has also learned interior designing.
- He has been the brand ambassador for the brands like LG Electronics, SK Telecom, Maeil Dairies, Burger King, Hyundai Card, Volvo, and Yakult Korean.
- In an interview, he shared his religious views and said,
If you go through bad things when you’re young, don’t you resent someone? But as I get older, I want to say, ‘That’s what life is all about’. I got religion because I followed my mother. I have a sick brother. When I was young, my mother visited the hospital a lot. Then I got religious, and when I was in kindergarten, I started going to church with my older brother and mother.”
- In his free time, he either watches movies or goes to see concerts and exhibitions. His main leisure pursuit is collecting art pieces, which he started at the age of thirty-three.
- In the South Korean variety show Knowing Bros, Jennie (of the Kpop girl group Blackpink) confessed that her name was kept after Lee Jung-jae. Jennie explained that her mother is a huge fan of Jung-jae, and she wanted to name her child after him. When her mother was pregnant, she decided to go with the name ‘Jae-hee,’ the name of Jung-jae’s character in ‘Sandglass.’ However, when her mother found that she was having a daughter, she named her daughter Jennie, which sounds similar to Jae-hee. When Jung-jae came to know about it, he was utterly delighted. Koreaboo
- Lee Jung-jae and the South Korean actor Jung Woo-sung are best friends and business partners. They operate several businesses together. Jung-Jae and Woo-sung met on the sets of the South Korean film ‘City of the Rising Sun’ (1999) for the first time and have been good friends since then. In an interview, while talking about Woo-sung, Jung-jae said,
Jung is my best friend and (almost) a family”