Ji Sung (born Kwak Tae-geun on 27 February 1977) is a South Korean actor. He is best known for his roles in the television dramas All In (2003), Save the Last Dance for Me (2004), New Heart (2007), Protect the Boss (2011), Secret Love (2013), Kill Me, Heal Me (2015), Innocent Defendant (2017), Familiar Wife (2018), Doctor John (2019), The Devil Judge (2021) and the film My PS Partner (2012).
27 February 1977
Seoul, South Korea
|Education||Hanyang University - Theater and Film|
|Revised Romanization||Ji Seong|
|Revised Romanization||Gwak Tae-geun|
Kwak Tae-geun's parents were both educators, and they expected him to also enter the teaching profession. But in his sophomore year in high school, his father bought him a VCR and the first movie he rented was Rain Man. Dustin Hoffman's acting left such an impression on him that he decided to become an actor, despite his father's objections. He later studied Theater and Film at Hanyang University.
Ji Sung first auditioned for the 1999 campus drama KAIST, where he met screenwriter Song Ji-na. Song took an interest in the young upstart and wrote a new character for him, leading to his acting debut. Upon the suggestion of his then-manager, he began using the stage name Chae Ji-sung, then decided to drop the surname "Chae," and became known simply as "Ji Sung" After several minor roles, he began playing bigger parts, notably in the television dramas Wonderful Days (2001) and Sunshine Hunting 2002), as well as the North-South romantic comedy film Whistling Princess (2002).
Ji was then cast in the 2003 gambling drama All In. Producers were having difficulty casting the second male lead because most actors were afraid to be compared to lead actor Lee Byung-hun. Ji Sung approached director Yoo Chul-yong, saying he wanted the role. All In was a big hit, and Ji Sung's popularity rose and became known as a Hallyu star. Wanting to challenge himself, he next appeared in his first period drama The King's Woman, playing Gwanghaegun of Joseon.
In Save the Last Dance for Me (2004), he played a rich amnesiac businessman who falls in love with a girl running a bed and breakfast who nurses him back to health (played by Eugene). He then made a guest appearance playing Bae Jong-ok's college boyfriend in "Outing", a two-episode arc written by Lee Kyung-hee for the omnibus drama Beating Heart (2005), followed by a supporting role in Kim Dae-seung's period thriller Blood Rain (2005).
Ji Sung enlisted on 7 June 2005, for his mandatory military service. Though he initially enlisted as an ordinary soldier, the Military Manpower Administration transferred him to the military promotion ("entertainers") unit in February 2006, for which he served as "public ambassador of military affairs". He was discharged on 6 June 2007.
2008–2014: Comeback and lead rolesEdit
He made his comeback in the medical drama New Heart (2007–08), playing a cardiothoracic surgery resident. During a scene where his character cries after failing to save the life of a former comfort woman, Ji Sung said he thought of his maternal grandmother who'd recently died, remembering that she'd told him her only pleasure was watching him in reruns of All In. Contrary to his cheeky, playful character, Ji Sung said that he's taciturn and shy in real life, but that the drama made him find a different side of himself.
In 2009, Ji Sung collaborated again with writer Choi Wan-kyu and director Yoo Chul-yong of All In in the revenge drama Swallow the Sun, adapted from the novel by Kang Chul-hwa, and shot on location in Jeju Island, Las Vegas and South Africa. Ji Sung trained hard to play the tough, strong-willed protagonist who goes to prison for his boss and later becomes involved in the city development of Jeju.
In February 2010, he signed with a new management agency, Namoo Actors. Several months later, he played another historical character in Kim Su-ro, The Iron King, as the titular founder of Geumgwan Gaya.
In 2011, Ji Sung starred alongside Yum Jung-ah in Royal Family, about the power plays within a chaebol family. Later that year, he was cast in the workplace romantic comedy Protect the Boss. In a departure from his usual serious roles, Ji Sung played a dorky man-child with a panic disorder, who matures and learns to run his father's business after meeting a feisty secretary (played by Choi Kang-hee).
From 2012 to 2013, Ji Sung played a gifted seer/geomancer in The Great Seer. His fictional character becomes a "kingmaker" to Yi Seong-gye (played by Ji Jin-hee), the general who leads the overthrow of Goryeo and establishes the Joseon Dynasty, becoming its first king Taejo.
In late 2012, he starred in adult romantic comedy My PS Partner, playing an aspiring singer-songwriter trying to get over a breakup, who becomes the wrong recipient of a phone sex call from a woman (played by Kim Ah-joong) trying to seduce her boyfriend into proposing. Ji Sung said he found the script intriguing, despite the discomfort of appearing in bed scenes. And after he saw Love & Other Drugs, he wanted to be in a movie that portrayed a romantic relationship in a realistic manner.
In 2013, Ji Sung starred in melodrama Secret Love. He said he chose the drama because he found the script "fresh, honest, and sophisticated." He played a chaebol "bad boy" whose girlfriend is killed, then falls for the woman who went to prison for the crime. Ji Sung next appeared in Confession, a 2014 neo-noir film that brutally explores the aftermath of three men's friendship after the death of one's mother.
2015–present: Career resurgenceEdit
In 2015, he reunited with Secret Love co-star Hwang Jung-eum in Kill Me, Heal Me, in which he played a chaebol millionaire with dissociative identity disorder formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder from DSMIV-TR who has seven different identities. The series was a hit and developed a cult following, winning Ji Sung the "Daesang (Grand Prize)" at the MBC Drama Awards.
However, Ji's next work Entertainer, where he played a cunning and self-centered manager of an entertainment company, failed to be successful. Ji bounced back in 2017 with legal thriller Innocent Defendant, which was a hit and topped viewership ratings. Ji earned acclaim for playing the diverse emotions of the character, an amnesic prosecutor who finds himself on a death row. He received the Grand Prize award at the SBS Drama Awards.
In 2021, Ji Sung starred in the mystery legal drama The Devil Judge with his previous co-star Kim Min-jung who he worked together 13 years ago in the drama New Heart. In August 2021, Namoo Actors' contract expired and Ji Sung decided not to renew it.
In January 2022, Ji-sung signed an exclusive contract with Surpass Entertainment.
He met actress Lee Bo-young on the set of 2004 TV series Save Last Dance for Me, and they confirmed their relationship in 2007. On 2 August 2013, the couple announced their engagement by uploading handwritten letters on their respective official fan sites. They married at Aston House, W Seoul Walkerhill Hotel on 27 September 2013. Their first child, a daughter named Kwak Ji-yoo, was born on 13 June 2015. Their second child, a son named Kwak Woo-sung, was born on 5 February 2019.
|2004||Phantom Master: Dark Hero from the Ruined Empire||Ending narration||Animation|||
|2012||My PS Partner||Lee Hyun-seung|
|2015||The Vampire Lives Next Door||Short film|||
|2018||Feng Shui||Heungseon Daewongun|
|I Want to Keep Seeing You||Lee Ji-soo|
|2001||Delicious Proposal||Oh Joon-soo|||
|Open Drama Man & Woman||Lee Soo-hyun||episode: "A Couple of Hours
Before Breaking Up with Her"
|The Rules of Marriage||Hwang Won-soo|
|Wonderful Days||Jang Seok-jin|
|2002||Let's Go||Guest, episode: "Monkey"|
|Sunshine Hunting||Lee Seung-joon|
|2003||All In||Choi Jung-won|
|The King's Woman||Prince Gwanghae|
|2004||Terms of Endearment||Noh Yoon-taek|
|Save the Last Dance for Me||Kang Hyun-woo|
|2005||Beating Heart||Kim Woo-jin / Kim Seok-jin||Guest, episodes 9-10: "Outing"|
|2007||New Heart||Lee Eun-sung|
|2009||Swallow the Sun||Kim Jung-woo|
|2010||Kim Su-ro, The Iron King||Kim Su-ro|
|2011||Royal Family||Han Ji-hoon|
|Protect the Boss||Cha Ji-heon|
|2012||The Great Seer||Mok Ji-sang|
|2013||Secret Love||Jo Min-hyuk|
|2015||Kill Me, Heal Me||Cha Do-hyun / Shin Se-gi / Perry Park
/ Ahn Yo-na / Ahn Yo-seob / Nana / Mr. X
|2017||Innocent Defendant||Park Jung-woo|
|2018||Familiar Wife||Cha Joo-hyuk|
|2019||Doctor John||Cha Yo-han / John Cha|
|2021||The Devil Judge||Kang Yo-han|
|2022||Adamas||Ha Woo-shin / Song Soo-hyun|||
|2002||Live Music Camp||Host|||
|2008||STAR N the CITY: Ji Sung in Dubai|||
Music video appearancesEdit
|2000||"Leave Me Alone"||Lee Kang-shin|
|2004||"Black and White Photos"||KCM|||
|2008||"The Practical Usage of Sadness"||Kim Bum-soo|||
|"Confession" (고백)||2004||Terms of Endearment OST|
|"Sexy Jingle Bells" (섹시 징글벨)||2012||My PS Partner OST|||
|"Show Me Your Panty"|||
|"Wuthering Heights" (폭풍의 언덕)||2013||Secret Love OST|||
|"Violet" (제비꽃)||2015||Kill Me, Heal Me OST|||
Awards and nominationsEdit
|Award ceremony||Year||Category||Nominee / Work||Result||Ref.|
|APAN Star Awards||2014||Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries||Secret Love||Nominated|
|2015||Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries||Kill Me, Heal Me||Nominated|
|Asia Model Festival Awards||2010||BBF Popular Star Award||Ji Sung||Won|||
|Asian TV Drama Conference||2015||Special Award, Actor||Kill Me, Heal Me||Won|||
|Baeksang Arts Awards||2015||Best Actor – Television||Nominated|
|DramaFever Awards||2016||Best Actor||Won|||
|Grimae Awards||2017||Best Actor||Innocent Defendant||Won|||
|Han Il Culture Awards||2008||민간외교부분 수상||Ji Sung||Won|||
|KBS Drama Awards||2013||Top Excellence Award, Actor||Secret Love||Won|||
|Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries||Nominated|
|Netizen Award, Actor||Nominated|
|Popularity Award, Actor||Won|
|Best Couple Award with Hwang Jung-eum||Won|
|Korea Best Dresser Swan Awards||2010||Best Dressed, Movie Actor category||Ji Sung||Won|||
|Korea Drama Awards||2015||Grand Prize (Daesang)||Kill Me, Heal Me||Nominated|
|Korea PD Awards||2016||Best Performer, TV Actor category||Won|||
|MBC Drama Awards||2001||Best New Actor||The Rules of Marriage||Won|||
|2008||Excellence Award, Actor||New Heart||Nominated|
|Golden Acting Award, Actor in a Miniseries||Won|||
|Popularity Award, Actor||Nominated|
|Best Couple Award with Kim Min-jung||Nominated|
|2011||Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries||Royal Family||Nominated|
|Popularity Award, Actor||Nominated|
|Best Couple Award with Yum Jung-ah||Nominated|
|2015||Grand Prize (Daesang) (Determined through viewer's votes)||Kill Me, Heal Me||Won|||
|Top Excellence Actor, Actor in a Miniseries||Won|
|Netizen Popularity Award||Nominated|
|Best Couple Award with Hwang Jung-eum||Nominated|
|Best Couple Award with Park Seo-joon||Won|
|Top 10 Stars||Won|
|SBS Drama Awards||2001||New Star Award||Wonderful Days||Won|||
|2003||Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special||All In||Won|||
|2004||Top Excellence Award, Actor||Save the Last Dance for Me||Nominated|
|Top 10 Stars||Won|||
|2009||Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special||Swallow the Sun||Nominated|
|Best Couple Award with Sung Yu-ri||Nominated|
|2011||Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special||Protect the Boss||Won|||
|Top 10 Stars||Won|
|Best Couple Award with Choi Kang-hee||Won|
|2012||Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special||The Great Seer||Nominated|
|2016||Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Romantic Comedy Drama||Entertainer||Nominated|
|2017||Grand Prize (Daesang)||Innocent Defendant||Won|||
|Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Monday–Tuesday Drama||Nominated|
|2019||Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries||Doctor John||Nominated|||
|Best Couple Award with Lee Se-young||Nominated|
|Seoul International Drama Awards||2015||Best Actor||Kill Me, Heal Me||Nominated|
|Style Icon Awards||2011||Style Icon Actor / Bonsang||Ji Sung||Won|||
|The Seoul Awards||2017||Best Actor (Drama)||Innocent Defendant||Won|||
|Country Or Organization||Year||Honor Or Award||Ref.|
|South Korea[note 1]||2017||Prime Minister Recommendation|||
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