O Yeong-su (actor)

O Yeong-su (Korean오영수; born October 19, 1944),[3] born as O Se-kang[4] is a South Korean actor. He began acting in theatre in 1967, and has, according to himself, appeared in over 200 productions. He later began acting in film and television, often portraying monks due to his experience with Buddhist plays. In 2021, he portrayed the elderly participant Oh Il-nam in the Netflix survival drama Squid Game, which gave rise to his worldwide popularity.

O Yeong-su
Born (1944-10-19) October 19, 1944 (age 77)
Years active1967–present
Korean name
Revised RomanizationO Yeong-su
McCune–ReischauerO Yŏngsu

Early lifeEdit

O (born O se kang) was born in Kaepung County, Gyeonggi(modern day Kaesong) in 1944.[4] O's grandfather was a local educator and landlord. After the 38th parallel line drawn across Korea, he and his family moved to Paju in the southern Korean side controlled by the American army. During the Korean War that followed shortly, his father was killed and his brother was kidnapped by North Korea.[4]



O began acting in 1963 as part of a theatre crew called "The square".[5] He was a member of the National Theater Company of Korea from 1987 to 2010, where he worked with actors such as Jang Min-ho,[6] whom he considers his mentor.[7] Throughout his career, he has done productions of 'A confession for a black prostitute(흑인 창녀를 위한 고백, Albert Camus's play adaptation of the novel called Requiem for a Nun by William Faulkner[8].The change of the original title to a more explicit version brought controversy.[9])', King Lear, A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Merchant of Venice. According to O, he has appeared in over 200 productions by 2013.[10]

In his thirties, he played Faust in Goethe's Faust. In retrospect, he said was probably too young for the role at the time.[10] In his fifties, he played the titular Richard III. He said he was never satisfied with his performance because he felt like he was too old for the role.[10] In his sixties, he expressed an interest to play Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman.[10]

In 2014, O played Prospero in a National Theater of Korea production of William Shakespeare's The Tempest celebrating the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth.[11]

O played a Yeonguijeong in the play Prince Yeonsangun, the Problematic Figure in July 2015 and Vasíly in the play Fathers and Sons, based on the novel of the same name, in August 2015.[6]

In 2017, he played the titular King Lear in a production with the Daegu Metropolitan Theater Company. He's previously done a production of King Lear at the Daejeon Museum of Art in 2010.[7] In 2021,it was revealed that he would play the role of Sigmund Freud in the play "Freud's Last Session" that is expected to start its first performance in Daehangno in January 7th,2022.[12]

Film and televisionEdit

O often portrays monks on-screen.[6] He credits his experience with Buddhist plays for getting him similar roles on film and television.[13]

In 2021, he played the elderly participant Oh Il-nam in the Netflix original series Squid Game. The series, which become the most-watched show on Netflix worldwide in its first month of airing, drew newfound attention to O, which he was surprised and elated to have.[14]

In November 2021, he narrated an episode of the documentary program "Documentary three days."[15]

Other notable activitiesEdit

In November 14th,2021, O threw the first pitch at the 2021 Korean Series.[16]

Select acting creditsEdit



Year Play Role Notes Ref.
1994 '피고지고 피고지고' 국전 [19]
2010 I Love You / '그대를 사랑합니다' [20]
King Lear / '리어왕' King Lear [7]
2013 '배웅' [10]
2014 The Tempest / '템페스트' Prospero [11]
2015 Prince Yeonseon, the Problematic Figure / '문제적 인간 연산' Yeonguijeong [6][21]
Fathers and Sons / '아버지와 아들' Vasily [6]
2016 '갈매기' [22]
2017 '천덕구씨가 사는 법' [7][23]
King Lear / '리어왕' King Lear [7]


Year Film Role Notes Ref.
1998 The Soul Guardians [20][24]
2003 A Little Monk Temple Master
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring Old Monk [6]


Year Film Role Notes Ref.
1981 The First Republic Military prosecutor [25]
1988 The Fairy Of Shampoo A commercial director who was formerly a military cadet [26]
2009 Queen Seondeok Monk Wol-Cheon
The Return of Iljimae Monk Yeol-gong
2012 God of War Monk Su-gi
2021 Squid Game Oh Il-nam

Television showsEdit

Year Title Network Role Notes Ref.
2021 Documentary 3 Days KBS2 Narrator Documentary [27]



Award-giving body Year Category Nominee/work Result Ref.
Baeksang Arts Awards 1994 Best Actor (Theater) Pigojigo Pigojigo (피고지고 피고지고) Won [28]
Dong-A Theatre Awards 1979 Best Actor Crime on Goat Island (백양섬의 욕망) Won [10]
National Theater Association Of Korea 2000 Best Actor Abi (아비) Won [29]
Seoul Theater Festival 2006 Best Actor Jangpan (장판) Won [30]

State honorsEdit

Country or organization Year Honor Ref.
South Korea 2019 Order of Cultural Merit (Hwagwan, 5th Class) [31]

See alsoEdit

  • Late Blossom (2011)—A film adaptation of the play I Love You (2010) that O was in.


  1. ^ a b "오영수". National Theater Company of Korea.
  2. ^ Yoo, Suk-jae (October 17, 2021). "[유석재가 만난 사람] "1등 한 이정재 뒷모습 보라, 어디 승자로 보이던가… 평생 자기 길 성실하면 각자 삶의 1등일 것"". Chosun Ilbo (in Korean). Chosun Media. Archived from the original on October 27, 2021. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  3. ^ 오영수 [O Yeong-su] (in Korean). Naver People Search. Retrieved October 14, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c ""이정재 뒷모습 보라, 승자 모습 보이던가? 진짜 1등은 말이야…"". Chosun Ilbo. October 18, 2021.
  5. ^ Song Jung eun (October 5, 2021). "오징어게임 최고령 배우 오영수 과거 화제". dailiang.co.kr.
  6. ^ a b c d e f 권혜진 (August 24, 2015). "원로배우 오영수 "아직 할 일 많아…연기 변신도 시도"". Yonhap News Agency (in Korean). Retrieved September 30, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c d e 최미애 (September 19, 2017). "70대 왕성한 현역…"리어는 나이 들어야 가능한 역할"". 영남일보 (in Korean). Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  8. ^ "백인 살해한 '흑인 창녀를 위한 고백". cnbjournal.
  9. ^ "연극 '흑인 창녀를 위한 고백' 원작 제목과 다른 이유?". Dailian.
  10. ^ a b c d e f 이다솜 (June 24, 2013). ""노인 문제 대부분 개인 아닌 사회구조적 문제"". 백세시대 (in Korean). Retrieved September 30, 2021.
  11. ^ a b 김태완 (May 17, 2014). "'셰익스피어 탄생 450주년' 기념공연 하는 배우 오영수·오달수". Chosun Ilbo (in Korean). Retrieved September 30, 2021.
  12. ^ "'오징어게임' 오영수, 대학로 연극으로 만난다". Chosun Ilbo. November 17, 2021.
  13. ^ 이호준 (September 14, 2009). "'월천대사' 오영수 "스님이냐고요? 40년 연극배우입니다" (인터뷰) | 연예가화제 : 네이트 연예". 모바일 네이트 뉴스 (in Korean). Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  14. ^ Hardiman, Jess (October 21, 2021). "Squid Game Actor O Yeong-su Says Series Has Changed His Life". LADBible. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  15. ^ "'오징어게임' 오영수, '다큐멘터리3일' 내레이션 참여...희망의 메시지 전달". tenasia. November 5, 2021.
  16. ^ "'오징어게임 1번 참가자' 배우 오영수, 한국시리즈 1차전 시구한다". Chosun Ilbo. November 13, 2021.
  17. ^ 이상하자_SK텔레콤 제18화 머물수록 커지는 인연
  18. ^ "제18화 머물수록 커지는 인연" (in Korean). adic.
  19. ^ "[문화포털 예술지식백과]". www.culture.go.kr (in Korean). Retrieved September 30, 2021.
  20. ^ a b "강풀 원작 연극 '그대를 사랑합니다' 새단장". 네이트 뉴스 (in Korean). Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  21. ^ "「문제적 인간 연산」(問題的人間燕山) - 부산역사문화대전". busan.grandculture.net. Retrieved September 30, 2021.
  22. ^ www.etnews.com (May 26, 2016). "[ET 현장-'갈매기'] 오영수 "외국 연출가에게 느낀 숨고르기, 많은 것 얻었다"". 대한민국 IT포털의 중심! 이티뉴스 (in Korean). Retrieved September 30, 2021.
  23. ^ "[공연 단신]연극 '천덕구 씨가 사는 법'". www.donga.com (in Korean). June 6, 2017. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  24. ^ "The Soul Guardians (1998)". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  25. ^ "'오징어게임 오일남 役' 배우 오영수, 젊은 시절 모습 봤더니…". Herald Economy. October 3, 2021.
  26. ^ "'오징어 게임' 001번 오일남…30년전 반전 과거는?". Moneytoday. October 4, 2021.
  27. ^ Yoo Jeong-min (November 5, 2021). "오징어게임' 오영수, '다큐멘터리3일' 내레이션 참여...희망의 메시지 전달" ['Squid Game' Oh Young-soo participates in the narration of 'Documentary 3 Days'... Delivers a message of hope] (in Korean). Ten Asia. Retrieved November 5, 2021 – via Naver.
  28. ^ "제30회 백상예술대상 시상식". Hankook Ilbo (in Korean). March 19, 1994. Retrieved September 30, 2021.
  29. ^ ""2000년 연극상" 수상자 발표". The Korea Economic Daily (in Korean). December 13, 2000. Retrieved October 21, 2021.
  30. ^ "2016 '서울연극제' 극단 백수광부 '햄릿아비' 대상 수상… "감상주의에 빠지지 않은 거친 연극"". Sports Q (in Korean). May 10, 2016. Retrieved October 21, 2021.
  31. ^ "황현산·현기영 등 은관문화훈장…문화예술발전유공자 30명". Yonhap News (in Korean). October 17, 2019. Retrieved October 21, 2021.

External linksEdit