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.
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.
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 (born January 17, 1967) is a South Korean actor. Song made his film debut in The Day a Pig Fell into the Well (1996), and came to national prominence with a series of critically acclaimed performances, including No. 3 (1997), Joint Security Area (2000), Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), Memories of Murder (2003), The Host (2006), and A Taxi Driver (2017). Song 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. He has been named Gallup Korea's Film Actor of the Year four times (2013, 2017, 2019 and 2020).
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 (Korean: 이병헌; born July 12, 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); Masquerade (2012); and Mr. Sunshine (2018). 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. Lee was Gallup Korea's Actor of the Year in the Film division in 2012 and in the Television division in 2018. In 2021, he appeared in a recurring role as the Front Man in the Netflix survival drama series Squid Game. 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), Billy Rocks, a knife-wielding gunslinger, in The Magnificent Seven (2016), and the Front Man in Squid Game (2021). 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.
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, model, creative director and businessman. He gained widespread fame worldwide 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), The Legend of the Blue Sea (2016). In 2020 he starred in Studio Dragon's The King: Eternal Monarch, which grossed US$135 million. Apart from his television career, Lee featured in the first lead role in the film Gangnam Blues (2015). This was followed by his first China-produced film Bounty Hunters (2016), and the mini-romance-web-series Line Romance (2014), both collectively grossed US$51 million.The success of Lee's television series established him as a top Hallyu star; he is the most followed South Korean actor on social media. 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. He earns US$2.5 million from product endorsements alone.
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.
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). For her performance in the film, she received Best Actress awards at the 38th Sitges Film Festival, 26th Blue Dragon Film Awards and 42nd Baeksang Arts Awards.
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. He 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 zombie horror Rampant (2018). He was Gallup Korea's Television Actor of the Year in 2011. The success of Hyun Bin's works internationally established him as a top Hallyu star. He is one of the highest paid and most influential actors in South Korea. 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.
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 (Korean: 박찬열; 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).
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 the television dramas Coffee Prince (2007), Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (2016–2017), The Silent Sea (2021), and Squid Game (2021), 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 family name "Gong" and of his mother's family name "Yoo".
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 2003 for The Classic and Summer Scent, which followed with the commercially successful A Moment to Remember (2004), and April Snow (2005). Her early roles in films garnered her the title, "Nation's First Love" in Korea. She since has won various acting recognitions and acted in high-profile films including Alone in Love (2006), My Wife Got Married (2008), The Pirates (2014), the 2016 films The Truth Beneath and The Last Princess, and The Negotiation (2018). She has also acted in the successful television dramas Personal Taste (2010), Something in the Rain (2018), Crash Landing on You (2019–2020), and Thirty-Nine (2022). She is included in Forbes Korea Power Celebrity 40 for four consecutive years 2019–2022.
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.
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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.