Lee Young-aeJuli 1, 2008
Lee Young-ae (b. January 31, 1971) first appeared on television in 1993, but it wasn’t until 1995 that she began acting in many TV dramas and gathering a large fan following. She won various television awards in the mid-1990s, and in 1996 she made her film debut in the poorly-received Inch’Allah. The negative reputation this film garnered may have pushed back her film career several years, but when she did return it was with a bang, in the record-breaking Joint Security Area by Park Chan-wook. At the time it became the best-selling Korean film ever, and it launched Lee Young-ae into undisputed stardom.
In 2001 Lee continued to build on her film career, starring in the popular melodrama Last Present opposite Lee Jung-jae, and also in the second feature by Hur Jin-ho, director of the acclaimed Christmas in August. This film was released in late September to great critical acclaim, and it landed Lee a Best Actress award from the local Blue Dragon awards.
For the next few years, Lee did not appear in any films, but from 2003 she took the lead role in a hugely popular TV drama called Dae Jang-geum, which revived her popularity among ordinary viewers. In 2005 the drama was also screened in Hong Kong, where it became the most successful Korean drama ever to screen in the territory, topping 40% in viewer ratings.
Lee’s return to the screen came in summer 2005 in Sympathy For Lady Vengeance, the last film in Park Chan-wook’s acclaimed trilogy of revenge films.