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Uhm Tae-woong (born April 5, 1974) is a South Korean actor. He made his acting debut in 1998, but initially struggled to emerge from under the shadow of his older sister, popular singer-actress Uhm Jung-hwa. After several years of small roles and work in one-act dramas, Uhm began to gain recognition after his villainous turn in the romantic comedy Delightful Girl Choon-Hyang. In 2005, he made his breakthrough in the critically acclaimed Resurrection, followed by another revenge-themed series The Devil in 2007. Since then, he has starred in diverse leading roles on film and television, notably in Forever the Moment (2008), Chaw (2009), Cyrano Agency (2010), Architecture 101 (2012), and Man from the Equator (2012).
April 5, 1974 |
Jecheon, North Chungcheong Province, South Korea
|Education||Kyungmin College - Theater
Kookmin University - Performing Arts
Konkuk University - Graduate School of Mass Communications
|Spouse(s)||Yoon Hye-jin (m. 2013)|
|Family||Uhm Jung-hwa (sister)|
|Revised Romanization||Eom Tae-ung|
1998-2004: Struggling actorEdit
Uhm Tae-woong was unsure which college course to take, so he initially joined Kyungmin College's theater department because his crush was there. But even after the girl shifted majors, Uhm stayed after having befriended a fellow student who would become his current manager, and began acting in earnest.
Uhm made his acting debut in 1998 at the age of 24, and began playing bit parts and supporting roles in films, television dramas and music videos. Among these was the 2003 blockbuster Silmido, in which he played a member of a suicide commando unit trained to kill Kim Il-sung in the 1960s. Starring veteran actors Sol Kyung-gu and Ahn Sung-ki, Silmido drew over 10 million admissions, and Ahn encouraged Uhm, saying he "would turn into a true actor." Uhm continued to go on auditions with little success, partly from the long shadow cast by his older sister, popular singer-actress Uhm Jung-hwa.
Uhm began his rise to popularity with the 2005 romantic comedy series Delightful Girl Choon-Hyang, a modern retelling of the classic Korean folktale Chunhyangjeon. But instead of the villainous magistrate of the folktale, Uhm played a talent agency executive who becomes obsessed with the heroine.
But it was Resurrection later that year that cemented his stardom. He had originally been cast as the antagonist, but after lead actor Park Yong-woo dropped out three weeks before filming due to scheduling conflicts, director Park Chan-hong took a risk and cast Uhm as the protagonist. Playing dual roles as two very different identical twins, one of whom embarks on a quest for revenge, it was Uhm's first leading role in a TV series. Despite low ratings, Resurrection was a critical hit and gained a cult following, and one review praised Uhm for "the kind of acting expected from Song Kang-ho and Choi Min-sik," not from a young little-known actor who'd previously appeared in a few projects in supporting roles. His growing fanbase nicknamed him "the UhmForce" (derived from Star Wars), and he received an Excellence Award from the 2005 KBS Drama Awards and a Best TV Actor nomination from the 2006 Baeksang Arts Awards.
2006-2008: Leading roles continueEdit
In 2006, he and Resurrection leading lady Han Ji-min were cast in Wolf, but an on-set accident that injured Han and co-star Eric Mun led to production being halted and the series was cancelled after airing only three episodes. Uhm moved on to Stranger Than Paradise, in which he played the manager of a singer, the same woman his long-lost brother also falls in love with. He also joined the ensemble cast of Kim Tae-yong's critically acclaimed film Family Ties, playing a reckless but charming man who suddenly shows up at his sister's door with a live-in partner 20 years his senior. For this role, Uhm won Best New Actor at the Chunsa Film Art Awards.
In 2007, Uhm, reunited with Resurrection's director Park Chan-hong and writer Kim Ji-woo in The Devil, the second in Park and Kim's noir vengeance trilogy that explore the conflict between good and evil, and sin and punishment. He gave another memorable lead performance as a detective hunting down a serial killer while attempting to atone for his past. Uhm also starred in December romance My Love, in which his character is a Free Hugs activist who returns to Korea after six years overseas in the hopes of finding his ex-girlfriend.
Finally no longer known as simply "Uhm Jung-hwa's kid brother," he continued building a diverse filmography in 2008. In Yim Soon-rye's sleeper hit Forever the Moment, Uhm played the tough coach of the National Women's Handball Team (and received a Best Supporting Actor nomination from the Blue Dragon Film Awards). In Lee Joon-ik's Sunny, he played a newly married Korean soldier conscripted during the Vietnam War. And in Iri, he played a cab driver taking care of his mentally impaired sister in the aftermath of the Iri Station Explosion.
2009-2010: Ratings and box-office successEdit
In 2009, Uhm played a celebrity manager who is threatened by an unknown man and driven to the extremes in Handphone. This was followed by the black comedy Chaw, in which his character is a policeman battling with a mutant boar. Uhm then starred as 7th-century Silla general Kim Yushin in the popular period drama Queen Seondeok, for which he received a Top Excellence Award at the 2009 MBC Drama Awards.
Romantic comedy Cyrano Agency was the 8th most commercially successful Korean film of 2010, and in it, Uhm played a theater actor-turned-dating coach whose ex-girlfriend is being pursued by his client. While in Dr. Champ, after his character's ice hockey career was ended by injury, he became a cranky sports medicine doctor reminiscent of Gregory House.
2011-2013: Reality showEdit
In 2011, Uhm joined the cast of 2 Days & 1 Night, a popular variety-reality show which travels throughout Korea, featuring small towns and their inhabitants. Through it, viewers discovered the real-life shy, dorky personality behind Uhm's intense screen persona.
In 2012, Uhm played one half of a quirky terminally ill couple in Never Ending Story, and an architect building his first love's house in Architecture 101 (the latter was a box-office hit, breaking records at the time as the top-grossing Korean melodrama of all time).
He returned to television in another revenge-themed drama, Man from the Equator. Uhm drew praise for his performance as a blind man, and received an Excellence Award from the 2012 KBS Drama Awards, as well as a Best TV Actor nomination from the 2013 Baeksang Arts Awards.
In 2013, he made a guest appearance in Joo Won's spy comedy series 7th Grade Civil Servant. Uhm then reunited with Man from the Equator director Kim Yong-soo in The Blade and Petal, a period drama set in Goguryeo. He played Yeon Gaesomun's fictional illegitimate son who has a forbidden romance with the princess whose father, the king, was killed by Yeon in a coup.
2014: Cable dramasEdit
This was followed later in the year by Valid Love from tvN, in which his character's marriage is put to the test after his wife has an affair, so as a marine researcher he sets out to prove that her new romance is "invalid."
2015: Back to varietyEdit
In January 2015, Uhm and his daughter Ji-on began appearing in The Return of Superman, a reality show in which male celebrities take care of their young children for 48 hours. He left the program in October 2015.
Uhm's father, Uhm Jin-ok, was a public school music teacher who died from a motorcycle accident before Uhm had turned 100 days old. After his father's death, his family (consisting of his mother, Yoo Gyeong-sook, three older sisters, and him as the youngest) faced serious financial problems. His older sister Uhm Jung-hwa entered show business as a pop singer and released her first album in 1993 (earning the label "Madonna of Korea"); she later turned to acting.
On the November 4, 2012 episode of 2 Days & 1 Night, Uhm made the surprise announcement that he was engaged to ballerina Yoon Hye-jin, and that they were expecting their first child. The daughter of veteran actor Yoon Il-bong and niece of veteran actor Yoo Dong-geun, Yoon was a principal dancer with the Korea National Ballet before she moved to the Les Ballets de Monte Carlo. They were introduced by Uhm's older sister Uhm Jung-hwa. The couple wed on January 9, 2013 at Conrad Hotel Seoul. Their daughter Uhm Ji-on was born on June 18, 2013.
|2003||Spring Bears Love||Lee Young-seok|
|2005||Another Public Enemy||Song Jung-hoon|
|2006||Family Ties||Lee Hyung-chul|
|2008||Forever the Moment||Ahn Seung-pil|
|Chaw||Police officer Kim|
|2010||Cyrano Agency||Lee Byeong-hoon|
|2012||Never Ending Story||Kang Dong-joo|
|Architecture 101||Lee Seung-min (present)|
|2017||Fork Lane||Kim Gang-il|
|2000||Look Back in Anger||KBS2|
|MBC Best Theater "An Incomplete Love"||MBC|
|2004||Span Drama "10 Years Later"||MBC|
|MBC Best Theater "Train for Gomsk"||Husband||MBC|
|Drama City "Blue Skies of Jeju Island"||Kim Ki-tae||KBS2|
|2005||Delightful Girl Choon-Hyang||Byun Hak-do||KBS2|
|Resurrection||Seo Ha-eun/Yoo Shin-hyuk||KBS2|
|Stranger Than Paradise||Kang San-ho||SBS|
|2007||The Devil||Kang Oh-soo||KBS2|
|2008||Fight||Kang Gun's father (cameo)||tvN|
|2009||Queen Seondeok||Kim Yushin||MBC|
|2010||Dr. Champ||Lee Do-wook||SBS|
|2012||Man from the Equator||Kim Sun-woo||KBS2|
|2013||7th Grade Civil Servant||Choi Woo-hyuk (guest, episodes 1-4)||MBC|
|The Blade and Petal||Yeon Choong||KBS2|
|2014||Can We Fall in Love, Again?||Oh Kyung-soo||jTBC|
|Valid Love||Jang Hee-tae||tvN|
|2016||Wanted (South Korean TV series)||PD Shin Dong-wook||SBS|
|2002||New Year's Special: Pokso Song Festival||KBS|
|Family Sings on Saturday||KBS1|
|2011-2013||2 Days & 1 Night||KBS2||Cast member|
|2015||The Return of Superman||Cast member|
|2003||"I Am Always Alone"||Page|
|"I Loved You to Death"|
|Year||Song Title||From Album||Notes|
|2007||"Please Don't Love Me"||Track from The Devil OST|
|2009||"The Only One"||Track from Queen Seondeok Special OST|
|2010||"I Went to Cheonggyesan Mt."||Track from Cyrano Agency OST||Duet with Choi Daniel|
|2011||"Confession Day"||Track from Never Ending Story OST|
|"Wedding Song"||Duet with Jung Ryeo-won|
|2012||"One Fine Day in October"
||Track from Man from the Equator OST||Duet with Lee Bo-young|
|"해당화 외 (한용운 작)"|
Awards and nominationsEdit
|2004||KBS Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actor in a One-Act Drama/Special||Blue Skies of Jeju Island||Won|
|2005||KBS Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actor||Resurrection,
Delightful Girl Choon-Hyang
|Best Couple Award with Han Ji-min||Resurrection||Won|
|2006||42nd Baeksang Arts Awards||Best Actor (TV)||Nominated|
|14th Chunsa Film Art Awards||Best New Actor||Family Ties||Won|
|2007||KBS Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries||The Devil||Nominated|
|2008||29th Blue Dragon Film Awards||Best Supporting Actor||Forever the Moment||Nominated|
|2009||MBC Drama Awards||Top Excellence Award, Actor||Queen Seondeok||Won|
|2010||SBS Drama Awards||Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Special Planning Drama||Dr. Champ||Nominated|
|2011||KBS Entertainment Awards||Top Entertainer Award||2 Days & 1 Night||Won|
|Grand Prize (Daesang) shared with entire cast||Won|
|2012||6th Mnet 20's Choice Awards||20's Male Drama Star||Man from the Equator||Nominated|
|5th Korea Drama Awards||Grand Prize (Daesang)||Nominated|
|1st K-Drama Star Awards||Excellence Award, Actor||Nominated|
|KBS Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actor in a Mid-length Drama||Won|
|2013||49th Baeksang Arts Awards||Best Actor (TV)||Nominated|
|KBS Drama Awards||Top Excellence Award, Actor||The Blade and Petal||Nominated|
|Excellence Award, Actor in a Mid-length Drama||Nominated|
|47th Taxpayer's Day||Presidential Commendation||N/A||Won|
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- ‘순둥이’ 엄태웅 담배 물고 마초 매력 물씬 ‘이게 바로 엄포스’ [Uhm Tae Woong shares his thoughts on acting in Harper's Bazaar]. Newsen (in Korean). 20 December 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
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