Lee Mi-sook (born April 2, 1960) is a South Korean actress. One of the best-known actresses of 1980s Korean cinema, Lee's most famous films from this era include Bae Chang-ho's Whale Hunting and The Winter That Year Was Warm, Lee Doo-yong's Mulberry and Eunuch, and Kwak Ji-kyoon's Wanderer in Winter. She retired from film after getting married in 1987, though she still appeared on television in dramas such as How's Your Husband? (1993). Then a decade later, Lee made her comeback with an award-winning leading role in E J-yong's feature debut An Affair (1998). She has since remained active in film and television, notably in the May–December romance Solitude (2002), the Dangerous Liaisons adaptation Untold Scandal (2003), the mockumentary Actresses (2009), and the family dramas Smile, Mom (2010)

Lee Mi-sook
190214 이미숙.jpg
Lee Mi-sook in February 2019.
Born (1960-04-02) April 2, 1960 (age 63)
EducationKorea University - Graduate School of Journalism and Mass Communication[1]
Years active1979–present
AgentHunus Entertainment
Hong Sung-ho
(m. 1987; div. 2007)
Korean name
Revised RomanizationI Mi-suk
McCune–ReischauerYi Misuk


Lee Mi-sook debuted in film at the age of twenty in Thoughtless Momo in 1979. By the mid-1980s she had become one of the best-known actresses of her era. Together with Lee Bo-hee and Won Mi-kyung, they dominated the screen and were referred to as the "Troika of the 1980s." Her most famous films from this era include Bae Chang-ho's Whale Hunting and The Winter That Year Was Warm, Lee Doo-yong's Mulberry and Eunuch, and Kwak Ji-kyoon's Wanderer in Winter. Her early career lasted until the film Love Triangle in 1987, and then she retired from the cinema after getting married.[2][3]

Over ten years later, in 1998, Lee returned with a widely praised role in E J-yong's award-winning film An Affair, about a woman who falls in love with her sister's fiancé. Using this film as a springboard, she re-launched her career.[2]

In 2000, Lee was cast in the high-profile project The Legend of Gingko, which was considered to be production company Kang Je-gyu Film's followup to the successful Shiri (even though Kang himself was not directing). However the film proved to be a critical and commercial disappointment. Lee's next two films, Kiss Me Much and Oh! Lala Sisters, were also more or less ignored by audiences. In contrast, her appearances in TV dramas such as Solitude (2002) were more successful.[2]

However, 2003 was one of Lee's best years,[citation needed] with her highly praised role in E J-yong's Untold Scandal, a retelling of the novel Dangerous Liaisons set in the Joseon Dynasty, and her role as a single mother in Lee Eon-hee's well-received melodrama ...ing.[2]

Lee next starred in Hellcats, a 2008 romantic comedy that traces the lives and loves of three characters at different stages of womanhood.[4][5] Then in 2009 Lee reunited with E J-yong in Actresses, a semi-improvisational mockumentary featuring six actresses each playing themselves.[6][7][8][9]

In 2011, Lee launched her own lingerie line Starit, which was sold on home shopping channels.[10][11] This would've been virtually unheard of in previous years with the fashion industry's historically narrow focus on young women. But since 2008 the sophisticated and stylish image of actresses such as Lee, Choi Myung-gil and Kim Hee-ae became aspirational for middle-aged women in Korea, and brands specifically targeting women in their 40s and 50s have increased.[12] Lee remains a favorite in editorial spreads in fashion magazines, notably a 2010 Elle Korea feature opposite pop star TOP.[13]

Lee continued to act on television, giving a vulgar, selfish, but human spin to her role as the stepmother in Cinderella's Sister, a ratings hit in 2010.[14][15] 2012's Love Rain, a Yoon Seok-ho melodrama that jumps between the 1970s and the present,[16] inked overseas distribution deals,[17] but was unsuccessful domestically.[18]

After a judging stint on reality acting talent program Miracle Audition, Lee hosted the cable talk show Bad Scene, which featured celebrities who reveal bad or embarrassing scenes from their past.[19]

In August 2022, she left SidusHQ and signed with new agency Hunus Entertainment.[20]


In 2012, Lee was embroiled in a controversy when she was sued by her former agency, The Contents Media, after she moved to a new agency, Hoya Spotainment.[21] The Seoul High Court ruled that Lee was guilty of breach of contract and ordered her to pay ₩120 million (US$110,604) in damages. However, The Contents Media filed an appeal, stating that the agency was owed at least double the amount. They alleged that Lee had been involved in a romantic relationship with a man 17 years her junior in 2006, whom they claimed to have paid off in millions of won to keep him from talking to the press and tarnishing Lee's image.[22][23] Lee counter-sued The Contents Media and the two reporters who broke the story for defamation.[24] Lee lost her appeal in February 2013, and the Seoul High Court ruled for her to pay the amount in the original ruling.[25]

In August 2013, she signed with another agency, SidusHQ.[26][27]

Personal lifeEdit

In 2007, Lee and her husband Hong Sung-ho, a plastic surgeon, divorced after 20 years of marriage. They have a son and a daughter.[28]


*Note; the whole list is referenced.[29]

Year English title Korean title Romanization Role Director
2018 Ode to the Goose 군산: 거위를 노래하다 Gunsan: Geowileul Nolaehada Zhang Lü
2015 The Exclusive: Beat the Devil's Tattoo 특종: 량첸살인기 Teukjong: Ryangchensalingi News bureau head Baek Roh Deok
2013 Horny Family 배꼽 Bae Kkop Hye-kyung Park Bo-sang
2009 Actresses 여배우들 Yeobaeudeul Lee Mi-sook E J-yong
2008 Hellcats 뜨거운 것이 좋아 Ddeu-geo-woon Geot-e Jo-a Kim Young-mi Kwon Chil-in
2003 ...ing 아이앤지 Ai-en-ji Mi-sook Lee Eon-hee
Untold Scandal 스캔들 - 조선남녀상열지사 Seukaendeul: Joseon-namnyeo-sangnyul-jisa Lady Cho E J-yong
2002 Oh! LaLa Sisters 울랄라 씨스터즈 Ulralra Siseuteojeu Jo Eun-ja Park Jae-hyun
2001 Kiss Me Much 베사메무쵸 Besame Mucho Young-hee Jeon Yoon-soo
2000 The Legend of Gingko 단적비연수 Danjeokbiyeonsu Soo Park Jae-hyun
1998 An Affair 정사 정사 Jeongsa Seo-hyun E J-yong
1987 The Home of Two Women 두 여자의 집 Du yeoja-ui jib Yoo-kyung Kwak Ji-kyoon
Affection 유정 Yujeong Kim Ki
A Street Musician 거리의 악사 Geori-ui aksa Seo-ha Chung Ji-young
1986 Eunuch 내시 Naesi Ja-ok Lee Doo-yong
Autumn After Love 가을을 남기고 간 사랑 Ga-eul-eul namgigo gan salang Jung Jin-woo
Wanderer in Winter Gyeo-ul nageune Da-hye Kwak Ji-kyoon
Mulberry Bbong An-hyeop Lee Doo-yong
1985 Graduation Journey 졸업 여행 Jol-eob-yeohaeng Mi-seon Yoo Ji-hoeng
When Tears Run Dry 그대 눈물이 마를 때 Geudae nunmul-i maleul ttae Choi Dong-joon
City of Fast 바람난 도시 Balamnan dosi Kim Yang-duk
1984 The Winter That Year Was Warm 그 해 겨울은 따뜻했네 Geu hae gyeo-ul-eun ttatteushaessne Oh-mok / Soo-in Bae Chang-ho
The Broken Night 밤이 무너질 때 Bam-i muneojil ttae Go Yeong-nam
Whale Hunting 고래사냥 Goraesanyang Chun-ja Bae Chang-ho
Women Wet Men Like Rain Yeojaneun bicheoreom namjareul jeoksinda Lee Hyeok-su
Sleeping Out 외박 Woebak Go Yeong-nam
1983 Strange Relationship 이상한 관계 I-sanghan gwangye Lee Doo-yong
X Ekseu Hah Myung-joong
1982 I Loved 내가 사랑했다 Naega salanghaessda Go Yeong-nam
Wild Horse 야생마 Yasaengma Lucia Yoo Dong-hun
1981 Is There a Girl Like Her? 이런 여자 없나요 Ileon yeoja eobsna-yo Yun Su-jin Park Chul-soo
With Passion and Heat 가슴깊게 화끈하게 Gaseumgipge hwakkeunhage Doh Do-hae Kim Su-hyeong
An Embrace in the Dark Night 이 깊은 밤의 포옹 I gip-eun bam-ui po-ong Song Yeong-su
1980 Flame Bird 불새 Bulsae Eun-young Lee Gyeong-tae
Thoughtless Momo
(aka An Innocent College Student)
모모는 철부지 Momoneun cheolbuji Mal-ja Kim Eung-chun

Television seriesEdit

Year English title Korean title Role Notes
2023 Queen of Tears 눈물의 여왕 [30]
Family: The Unbreakable Bond 패밀리 Butterfly [31]
2022 The Law Cafe 법대로 사랑하라 Lee Yeon-joo Cameo[32]
The Empire 디 엠파이어: 법의 제국 Ham Kwang-jeon [33]
2018 Let Me Introduce Her 그녀로 말할 것 같으면 Min Ja-young [34]
Wok of Love 기름진 멜로 Jin Jung-hye / Kim Su-nyeo [35]
2017 Money Flower 돈꽃 Jung Mal-ran
Temperature of Love 사랑의 온도 Yoo Yeong-mi
2016 Don't Dare to Dream 질투의 화신 Kye Sung-sook
2014 Rosy Lovers 장미빛 연인들 Jung Shi-nae
Blade Man 아이언맨 Madam Yoon
2013 Shining Romance 빛나는 로맨스 Jung Soon-ok
Miss Korea 미스코리아 Ma Ae-ri
You Are the Best! 최고다 이순신 Song Mi-ryung/Kim Kyung-sook
2012 Can We Get Married? 우리가 결혼할 수 있을까 Deul-ja
Love Rain 사랑비 Kim Yoon-hee (2012)
2011 A Thousand Days' Promise 천일의 약속 Oh Hyun-ah
2010 Smile, Mom 웃어요, 엄마 Jo Bok-hee
Cinderella's Sister 신데렐라 언니 Song Kang-sook
2009 Ja Myung Go 자명고 Wang Ja-shil
East of Eden 에덴의 동쪽 Yang Choon-hee
2006 Great Inheritance 위대한 유산 Go Ah-ra
2005 Love and Sympathy 사랑공감 Kang Hee-soo
2002 Solitude 고독 Jo Kyung-min
1999 You Don't Know My Mind 남의 속도 모르고 Jeon Nam-ja
Queen Hwang Choon-bok
Springtime 청춘 (青春)
1998 Crush 짝사랑 Young-ja
1997 Snail 달팽이 Yoon-joo
1995 Elegy 엘레지 Min Ji-sook
1994 도깨비가 간다 Min Kang-ji
1993 How's Your Husband? 댁의 남편은 어떠십니까? Ahn Jung-sook
1992 Women's Room 여자의 방 Na Kyung-sun
1991 Humble Men 고개숙인 남자 Baek Jung-ran
1990 에미 Mother
1989 상처 Ha-young
1988 은혜의 땅 Eun-hye
1987 Firebird 불새 Hyun-joo
1985 That's Right, You Bet 아무렴 그렇지, 그렇고 말고 Ok-som
1984 그리워
500 Years of Joseon -
The Ume Tree in the Midst of the Snow
조선왕조 오백년 -
설중매 (雪中梅)
Jang Nok-su
물보라 Jang-hee
1983 Sunflower in Winter 겨울 해바라기
저 별은 나의 별
1982 Annals of Renunciation - Yi Yong-ik 거부실록 - 이용익
미련 Kang Yeon-hee
Women's History - Hwang Jin-yi 여인열전 - 황진이 Hwang Jini
1981 Women's History - Jang Hui-bin 여인열전 - 장희빈 Jang Hui-bin
Embrace 포옹
안녕하세요 second daughter-in-law Eun-hee
1980 달동네
1979 고독한 관계
Mapo Harbor 마포나루

Variety showEdit

Year English title Korean title Romanization Role Network
2013 Miracle Korea 미라클 코리아 Host jTBC
2011-2012 Lee Mi-sook's Bad Scene 이미숙의 배드신 Host Story On
2011 Miracle Audition 기적의 오디션 Judge SBS
2017 Guesthouse Daughters Permanent Cast (Mom) KBS


Year English title Korean title Romanization Notes
2003 Lee Mi-sook's DIARY: Dreaming of Deviation 이미숙의 DIARY 일탈을 꿈꾸며 with CD


Year Award Category Nominated work
2017 MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Weekend Drama Money Flower
2014 MBC Drama Awards Golden Acting Award, Actress Miss Korea, Shining Romance, Rosy Lovers
2013 KBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Serial Drama You're the Best, Lee Soon-shin
2011 SBS Drama Awards Special Award, Actress in a Special Planning Drama A Thousand Days' Promise
2008 MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress East of Eden
2003 23rd Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Best Actress Untold Scandal
2001 37th Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actress, Film category The Legend of Gingko
1999 7th Chunsa Film Art Awards Best Actress An Affair
19th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards
1998 34th Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actress, TV category Snail
1993 SBS Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) How's Your Husband?
1987 32nd Asia Pacific Film Festival Best Actress Love Triangle
26h Grand Bell Awards Special Jury Award
1986 31st Asia Pacific Film Festival Best Actress Mulberry
6th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards
1984 4th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards The Winter That Year Was Warm
23rd Grand Bell Awards
21st Baeksang Arts Awards
1982 MBC Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Jang Hui-bin
1980 17th Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actress Flame Bird
1979 TBC Drama Awards Best Newcomer Mapo Harbor
1978 3rd Miss Lotte Pageant Popularity Award


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  4. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (17 January 2008). "Hellcats Is Charmingly Off-Tune". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
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  34. ^ [공식]이미숙 '그녀로 말할 것 같으면' 확정…남상미 잡는 재벌가 시어머니. Sports Chosun (in Korean). June 14, 2018.
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External linksEdit