The Most Famous

ACTORS from South Korea

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This page contains a list of the greatest South Korean Actors. The pantheon dataset contains 10,030 Actors, 237 of which were born in South Korea. This makes South Korea the birth place of the 6th most number of Actors behind Canada and France.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary South Korean Actors of all time. This list of famous South Korean Actors is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of South Korean Actors.

Photo of Song Hye-rim

1. Song Hye-rim (1937 - 2002)

With an HPI of 69.05, Song Hye-rim is the most famous South Korean Actor.  Her biography has been translated into 16 different languages on wikipedia.

Song Hye-rim (Korean: 성혜림; 24 January 1937 – 18 May 2002) was a North Korean actress, best known for being the one-time favored mistress of Kim Jong-il.

Photo of Song Kang-ho

2. Song Kang-ho (1967 - )

With an HPI of 65.36, Song Kang-ho is the 2nd most famous South Korean Actor.  His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.

Song Kang-ho (Korean: 송강호; born 17 January 1967) is a South Korean actor who rose to international prominence for his performances in Snowpiercer (2013) and Parasite (2019), the latter of which won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Picture. In 2020, The New York Times ranked him #6 on its list of the 25 Greatest Actors of the 21st Century.Song made his debut as a movie actor in The Day a Pig Fell into the Well in 1996, and came to national prominence with a series of critically acclaimed performances, including No. 3, Joint Security Area, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Memories of Murder, The Host, and A Taxi Driver.

Photo of Lee Byung-hun

3. Lee Byung-hun (1970 - )

With an HPI of 64.67, Lee Byung-hun is the 3rd most famous South Korean Actor.  His biography has been translated into 34 different languages.

Lee Byung-hun (born August 13, 1970) is a South Korean actor and singer. He has received critical acclaim for his work in a wide range of genres, most notably Joint Security Area (2000); A Bittersweet Life (2005); The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008); the television series Iris (2009); I Saw the Devil (2010); and Masquerade (2012). His critically acclaimed film Inside Men (2015) won him the Best Actor prize in three prestigious award ceremonies: 52nd Baeksang Art Awards, 37th Blue Dragon Awards and 53rd Grand Bell Awards. Lee has five films—Joint Security Area, The Good, the Bad, the Weird, Masquerade, Inside Men and Master—on the list of highest-grossing films in South Korea. In the United States, he is known for portraying Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) and its sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), and starring alongside Bruce Willis in Red 2 (2013). He portrayed T-1000 in Terminator Genisys (2015) and Billy Rocks, a knife-wielding gunslinger, in The Magnificent Seven (2016). Lee was the first South Korean actor to present an Oscar at the annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Lee and Ahn Sung-ki were the first South Korean actors to imprint their hand and foot prints on the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles.

Photo of Lee Min-ho

4. Lee Min-ho (1987 - )

With an HPI of 64.06, Lee Min-ho is the 4th most famous South Korean Actor.  His biography has been translated into 50 different languages.

Lee Min-ho (Korean: 이민호; Hanja: 李敏鎬, born June 22, 1987) is a South Korean actor, singer, and model. He gained widespread fame in Korea and parts of Asia with his role as Gu Jun-pyo in Boys Over Flowers (2009) which also earned him the Best New Actor award at the 45th Baeksang Arts Awards. His notable lead roles in television series include Personal Taste (2010), City Hunter (2011), The Heirs (2013), Legend of the Blue Sea (2016) and The King: Eternal Monarch (2020). Apart from his television career, Lee featured in the first lead role in the film Gangnam Blues (2015), followed by his first China-produced film Bounty Hunters (2016), grossed US$31 million and the mini-romance-web-series Line Romance (2014), grossed US$20 million.The success of Lee's television series globally established him as a top Hallyu star with significant following worldwide, including Asia and western countries, most notably the U.S, France, Australia, Canada, Spain and Italy. Lee became the first Korean celebrity to have a wax figure made in his image at Madame Tussauds, with figures being unveiled in Shanghai in 2013, and Hong Kong in 2014.

Photo of Choi Eun-hee

5. Choi Eun-hee (1926 - 2018)

With an HPI of 63.83, Choi Eun-hee is the 5th most famous South Korean Actor.  Her biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Choi Eun-hee (Korean: 최은희; November 20, 1926 – April 16, 2018) was a South Korean actress, who was one of the country's most popular stars of the 1960s and 1970s. In 1978, Choi and her then ex-husband, movie director Shin Sang-ok, were abducted to North Korea, where they were forced to make films until they sought asylum at the U.S. embassy in Vienna in 1986. They returned to South Korea in 1999 after spending a decade in the United States.

Photo of Lee Young-ae

6. Lee Young-ae (1971 - )

With an HPI of 63.72, Lee Young-ae is the 6th most famous South Korean Actor.  Her biography has been translated into 31 different languages.

Lee Young-ae (born January 31, 1971) is a South Korean actress. She is known for her appearances in the Korean historical drama Dae Jang Geum (2003), and as a revenge seeking single mother in Park Chan-wook's crime thriller film Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005).

Photo of Hyun Bin

7. Hyun Bin (1982 - )

With an HPI of 63.52, Hyun Bin is the 7th most famous South Korean Actor.  His biography has been translated into 32 different languages.

Hyun Bin (born Kim Tae-pyung on September 25, 1982) is a South Korean actor. Hyun Bin first gained wide recognition for his role in the 2005 romantic comedy television drama My Name is Kim Sam-soon. Since then, he has appeared in leading roles in other successful television shows including; the romantic fantasy drama Secret Garden (2010–2011), fantasy drama Memories of the Alhambra (2018–2019), and romantic drama Crash Landing on You (2019–2020). Hyun Bin's popularity was further widened by starring in a series of box office hits; the action thriller Confidential Assignment (2017), the crime thrillers The Swindlers (2017) and The Negotiation (2018) as well as the horror movie Rampant (2018). Hyun Bin drew praise from critics for his performance in melodrama film Late Autumn, which was screened at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival. Throughout his career, he has been nominated for many awards, including five at the Baeksang Arts Awards, and won various acting recognition, including the Grand Prize (Daesang) for TV at the 47th Baeksang Arts Awards.

Photo of Park Chanyeol

8. Park Chanyeol (1992 - )

With an HPI of 63.42, Park Chanyeol is the 8th most famous South Korean Actor.  His biography has been translated into 52 different languages.

Park Chan-yeol (born November 27, 1992), better known mononymously as Chanyeol, is a South Korean rapper, singer, songwriter, producer, actor and model. He is a member of the South Korean-Chinese boy group Exo, its sub-group Exo-K and sub-unit Exo-SC. Apart from his group's activities, Chanyeol has also starred in various television dramas and movies such as So I Married an Anti-fan (2016), and Secret Queen Makers (2018).

Photo of Gong Yoo

9. Gong Yoo (1979 - )

With an HPI of 62.81, Gong Yoo is the 9th most famous South Korean Actor.  His biography has been translated into 31 different languages.

Gong Ji-cheol (Korean: 공지철; born July 10, 1979), better known by his stage name Gong Yoo (Korean: 공유), is a South Korean actor. He is best known for his roles in television dramas Coffee Prince (2007) and Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (2016–2017), and the films Silenced (2011), Train to Busan (2016) and The Age of Shadows (2016). His stage name is a combination of his father's last name "Gong" and of his mother's last name "Yoo".

Photo of Son Ye-jin

10. Son Ye-jin (1982 - )

With an HPI of 62.74, Son Ye-jin is the 10th most famous South Korean Actor.  Her biography has been translated into 30 different languages.

Son Ye-jin (born Son Eon-jin on January 11, 1982) is a South Korean actress. She rose to fame in romance-themed films and television series such as The Classic (2003), Summer Scent (2003), A Moment to Remember (2004), and April Snow (2005). She has won acting recognition for her versatility in diverse genres, notably in Alone in Love (2006), My Wife Got Married (2008), The Pirates (2014) and the 2016 films The Truth Beneath and The Last Princess. She is also known for her lead roles in romance dramas such as Something in the Rain (2018) and Crash Landing on You (2019–2020).

Pantheon has 237 people classified as actors born between 1926 and 2000. Of these 237, 228 (96.20%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living actors include Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun, and Lee Min-ho. The most famous deceased actors include Song Hye-rim, Choi Eun-hee, and Choi Jin-sil. As of October 2020, 42 new actors have been added to Pantheon including Cha Seung-won, Jung Woo-sung, and Soo Ae.

Living Actors

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Deceased Actors

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Newly Added Actors (2020)

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Which Actors were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 9 most globally memorable Actors since 1700.