Johnny Yune

Johnny Yune (October 22, 1936 – March 8, 2020) was a Korean-American actor, singer, and comedian.[1][2]

Johnny Yune
윤종승 Yoon Jong Seung

(1936-10-22)October 22, 1936
DiedMarch 8, 2020(2020-03-08) (aged 83)
OccupationActor, singer, comedian, writer, host
Years active1974 - 2004
Julia Yune
(m. 1999; div. 2010)

He played the lead in the 1980s films They Call Me Bruce?[3] and They Still Call Me Bruce.[4] Yune's big break came at The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Yune stated that because actor Charlton Heston did not arrive on time, he was given over twenty minutes on the show to make a good impression. He sang "O sole Mio" in the show, surprised everyone on the show including Carson. Carson liked Yune and had him on the show over 30 times.[5] Yune also appeared in his own special on NBC.[citation needed]

Early lifeEdit

Johnny Yune was born 1936 in Eumseong County, Chungcheongbuk-do Province, South Korea[6] (then under Japanese rule). His Korean first name was Jong-seung, and was Anglicized to 'John' from its phonetic similarity[7] when he became a US citizen in 1978. He graduated from Sungdong High School[8] in Sindang-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, and came to Massachusetts, U.S., as well as studying vocal music at Ohio Wesleyan University on an ROK Navy scholarship in 1962.[9]


in 1964, Yune practiced his stand-up routine in places such as the Cafe Tel Aviv at 250 West 72nd Street, New York City. In 1977, Yune was discovered at a Santa Monica comedy club by comedian Johnny Carson and was invited onto his talk show, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.[9] Yune was the first guest of Asian descent[citation needed] and made 34 appearances between the 1970s and 1980s, one of the most appearances by a stand-up comedian.[10]

He played a Mongolian under the name of "Jon Yune" in the 1979 movie Meteor, also did work as a stand-up comedian in the 1980s.

Yune performed at the 1988 Summer Olympics at Seoul, along with Bob Hope and Brooke Shields.

From 1989 to 1990, he hosted The Johnny Yune Show (자니윤쇼), the first Americanized talk show in Korea.[10] Singer Jo Young-nam was a co-MC.[11] The show was a great hit, but only after a year, Yune decided to leave KBS due to limited freedom of the media.


Yune was an alternate delegate at the 1988 Republican National Convention, where he sang the US National Anthem on August 16, 1988.[12]

He was appointed the auditor for the Korea Tourism Organization in 2014 by the Park Geun-hye administration.[5] His appointment was met with controversy, as his critics have called into question his lack of business experience and close ties to the then president.[2] He served the role for two years.[9]

Personal lifeEdit

He married a Korean-American named Julia Yune in 1999 and later divorced in 2010.

Yune regained his Korean citizenship, becoming a dual citizen, in 2013.[10]

Yune was diagnosed with dementia in 2017.[9] He died in Southern California on March 8, 2020 at the age of 83.[5]


Year Title Role Notes
1979 Meteor Siberian man (as Jon Yune)
1980 The Love Boat Korean Stand-up Comedian Episode: "Not So Fast, Gopher/Haven't We Met Before?/Foreign Exchange"
1981 The Cannonball Run TV Talk Show Host
1982 They Call Me Bruce? Bruce / Grandfather
1985 Gidget's Summer Reunion Johnny Soon TV movie
1986 Nothing in Common Mr. Yung
1987 They Still Call Me Bruce Bruce
1988 Hamburger Johnny
1989 The Johnny Yune Show TV Talk Show Host KBS
1993 Western Avenue


  1. ^ "Johnny Yune Profile". New York Times. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved March 8, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Ailing Korea Tourism Organization Plagued with Ongoing Parachute Appointments". 비즈니스코리아 - BusinessKorea (in Korean). September 15, 2014. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  3. ^ Shepard, Richard F. (January 16, 1983). "Korean Comic in 'They Call Me Bruce'" – via
  4. ^ "MOVIE REVIEWS : 'BRUCE'--YOU CAN'T CALL IT FUNNY". Los Angeles Times. June 2, 1987.
  5. ^ a b c "미국인 웃겼던 코미디언 자니윤 별세…이제 무대는 천국으로". 미주중앙일보. March 9, 2020. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ ko:분류:성동고등학교 동문
  9. ^ a b c d Jung, Ha Soo (March 10, 2020). ""Talk show legend" Johnny Yune dies at 84". Vlive. Osen. Retrieved March 14, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c Kwak, Yeon-soo (March 10, 2020). "Comedian Johnny Yune dies at 84". koreatimes. Retrieved March 14, 2020.
  11. ^ Yoon, So-Yeon (March 12, 2020). "Pioneering comedian Johnny Yune dies at 84: After finding success in the U.S., he brought a new form to Korea". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved March 14, 2020.
  12. ^ C-Span (August 16, 1988). Call to Order, Natl. Anthem & Opening Remarks (video). New Orleans, Louisiana.

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