Yeon Jung-hoon

Yeon Jung-hoon (born November 6, 1978) is a South Korean actor. He is best known for generational epic East of Eden (2008),[1] crime procedural Vampire Prosecutor (2011-2012)[2][3][4][5] and the domestically popular weekend drama Pots of Gold (2013). Outside of acting, Yeon hosted the first three seasons of Top Gear Korea, the South Korean version of the BBC show,[6][7] and is a cast member of the popular variety-reality show 2 Days & 1 Night.

Yeon Jung-hoon
Yeon Jeong-hun from acrofan - cropped 01.jpg
Born (1978-11-06) November 6, 1978 (age 42)
Other namesYoun Jung-hoon
EducationArtCenter College of Design
Myongji University
Years active1999-present
Agent935 Entertainment
Spouse(s)
(m. 2005)
Children2
Yeon Jung-hoon
Hangul
Hanja
Revised RomanizationYeon Jeong-hun
McCune–ReischauerYŏn Jŏnghun

Early lifeEdit

Yeon is the only son and younger of two children of veteran actor Yeon Kyu-jin.[8][9] He was sent to the United States as a teenager and lived with his aunt while attending junior high and high school.[10][11] He spent his freshman year of college at the ArtCenter College of Design but returned to South Korea due to the 1997 Asian financial crisis and continued his education at Myongji University, majoring in product design.[11][9][12] Despite his father being an actor, he never showed any inclination towards the entertainment industry until he was in college. He made his acting debut whilst a college student and eventually decided to pursue it as a career after graduating.[10][13][9] His father had misgivings over his new career path out of concern; Yeon later stated that his father was finally convinced after he was named Best New Actor at the 2003 KBS Drama Awards.[12][14]

CareerEdit

Early career and military service: 1999-2005Edit

In 1999 Yeon made his debut in the drama Wave. After appearing in several dramas in minor or supporting roles, he first came to prominence with domestic audiences in the highly-rated 2003 daily soap Yellow Handkerchief and portrayed lovers with his future wife.[15][11] They both went on to win the Best New Actor and Best New Actress awards respectively at the year-end KBS Drama Awards.[16] He was cast in Sad Love Story as a last-minute replacement for Song Seung-heon, who was embroiled in a scandal involving his exemption from mandatory military service and forced to pull out.[17] Yeon himself nearly did not get the role as his character's background story required him to film on location in New York City for several weeks and he had to get a visa at short notice.[18] The drama received much attention as it was also broadcast overseas in Japan and other countries in the Middle East and Africa. Although domestic viewership was lower than expected, Yeon was praised for ably stepping into the role at the last minute and it led to a rise in popularity for him, especially in Japan. It was his last drama before enlisting for mandatory military service in November 2005.[19]

Hosting Top Gear Korea and domestic popularity: 2008-2013Edit

After his discharge, Yeon began diversifying into other genres and largely shied away from romantic melodramas to avoid being typecast.[20][21] His comeback project was the critically-acclaimed 2008 generational drama East of Eden in which he and Song Seung-heon portrayed brothers who grew up in a mining town during the turbulent 1970s and later find themselves on opposing sides of the law.[14][22][23] He then starred in his first sageuk (historical period drama) Jejungwon.[24] From 2011 to 2012, Yeon, an avid car enthusiast and former Formula 4 driver, was a co-host of Top Gear Korea and hosted the first three seasons before leaving to concentrate on acting and other interests. He also starred in the OCN legal drama Vampire Prosecutor, portraying the titular character, a prosecutor who becomes a vampire and hides it but uses his newfound powers to solve crimes. To prepare for the action scenes required of his role, he lost weight and learned Jeet Kune Do for several months prior to filming.[25][26] The drama became the most watched cable drama of the year 2011 and received rave reviews from both critics and viewers.[27] Its popularity prompted the producers to bring it back for a second season.

Yeon's next two roles were as chaebol businessmen in romantic comedies. In the 2012 cable drama Can Love Become Money, he played the CEO of a hospitality company who hides his sensitive and caring side behind an unpleasant and emotionless exterior.[28][29] He reunited with his East of Eden co-star Han Ji-hye the following year in Pots of Gold, in which he portrayed the eldest son of a chaebol family embroiled in a saga involving his father's mistresses.[30] A domestic ratings hit, the weekend drama consistently topped its time slot and he was named Best Actor in a Serial Drama at the 2013 MBC Drama Awards.[31][32][33]

Overseas projects and 2 Days & 1 Night: 2014-presentEdit

Yeon's next project was the 2014 TVB microfilm A Time of Love where he played the boyfriend of Linda Chung.[34] After mostly portraying straight-laced protagonists, he played the main antagonist in the drama Mask, winning rave reviews for his portrayal of a remorseless, cold-hearted lawyer.[35][36] He was nominated for the Excellence Award, Actor in a Mid-length Drama at the 2015 SBS Drama Awards, losing to his Mask co-star Ju Ji-hoon. He made a guest appearance in the 2016 JTBC drama My Horrible Boss before making his Hollywood debut in the Hong Kong-Chinese-American collaboration buddy cop film Skiptrace and played the right-hand man of a businessman-cum-mob boss (played by Winston Chao).[37][38]

Yeon returned to cable drama in the action-comedy-thriller Man to Man and played the main antagonist, an unscrupulous businessman with a painful past.[39][40] He then co-headlined the weekend melodramas Bravo My Life and My Healing Love, the latter of which earned him the Top Excellence Award in a Soap Opera at the 2018 MBC Drama Awards.[41] He returned to the supernatural genre in the cable comedy-thriller Possessed, which aired in early 2019. In November 2019, Yeon was announced as a fixed cast member of 2 Days & 1 Night for the upcoming new season.[42][43] In 2020 he starred in the Channel A drama Lie After Lie with Lee Yoo-ri and it ended its run as one of the most watched cable dramas of the year.[44]

Personal lifeEdit

Yeon married actress Han Ga-in on April 26, 2005 after a two-year courtship.[15][45][46][47][48][49][50] They have two children, a daughter (born April 13, 2016)[51] and a son (born May 13, 2019).[52][53]

In November 2005 Yeon enlisted for mandatory military service at the 306th Replacement Battalion in Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi Province.[54][55] As he was married, he was allowed to commute to his duty station from home after completing the five weeks of basic training.[56][55] He was assigned to the 52nd Infantry Division and discharged in October 2007.[57][58] He was previously a United States permanent resident but gave up his green card when he entered the entertainment industry, thus making him eligible for conscription.[18][59]

FilmographyEdit

Television seriesEdit

Year English Title Original Title Role Network
1999 Wave 파도 SBS
2000 KAIST 카이스트 Yang Byung-seok SBS
Nonstop 논스톱 Jung-hoon MBC
2002 Beautiful Youth (Drama City)[60] 아름다운 청춘 Shin Young-jae KBS2
Vienna, Like Coffee (Drama City)[61] 비엔나 커피처럼 Jun-oh[62] KBS2
2003 Captured Pawn (Drama City) 사로잡히다 Prison guard KBS2
Yellow Handkerchief 노란 손수건 Yoon Tae-young KBS1
A Problem at My Younger
Brother's House
흥부네 박터졌네 Jang Hyun-tae SBS
Rosemary 로즈마리 Jang Jun-oh KBS2
2004 Snow White: Taste Sweet Love 백설공주 Han Jin-woo KBS2
Love is All Around 사랑을 할꺼야 Yeon Ha-neul MBC
2005 Sad Love Story 슬픈연가 Lee Gun-woo MBC
2008 East of Eden 에덴의 동쪽 Lee Dong-wook MBC
2009 Dream 드림 Kang Ki-jang
(cameo, episode 1)
SBS
2010 Jejungwon 제중원 Baek Do-yang SBS
2011 Vampire Prosecutor 뱀파이어 검사 Min Tae-yeon OCN
2012 Can Love Become Money 사랑도 돈이 되나요 Ma In-tak MBN
Vampire Prosecutor 2 뱀파이어 검사 2 Min Tae-yeon OCN
2013 Pots of Gold 금 나와라, 뚝딱! Park Hyun-soo MBC
2014 A Time of Love 爱情来的时候 King/Kim Dong-seong TVB
2015 Mask 가면 Min Seok-hoon SBS
Cheo Yong 2 귀신보는 형사, 처용 Police officer[63]
(cameo, episode 5)
OCN
2016 My Horrible Boss 욱씨남정기 Lee Ji-sang JTBC
2017 Man to Man 맨투맨 Mo Seung-jae JTBC
Bravo My Life 브라보 마이 라이프 Shin Dong-woo SBS
2018 My Healing Love 내사랑 치유기 Choi Jin-yoo MBC
2019 Possessed[64] 빙의 Oh Soo-hyeok OCN
2020 Lie After Lie 거짓말의 거짓말 Kang Ji-Min[65] Channel A

FilmEdit

Year English Title Original Title Role
2001 My Wife Is a Gangster 조폭 마누라 Hyo-min
2005 Daddy-Long-Legs 키다리 아저씨 Kim Jun-ho
Love in Magic 연애술사 Woo Ji-hoon
2013 Good Friends 좋은 친구들 K
2016 Skiptrace 絕地逃亡 Willie

Variety showEdit

Year English Title Original Title Role Network
2011 Top Gear Korea Season 1 탑 기어 코리아 시즌1 Host XTM
2012 Top Gear Korea Season 2 탑 기어 코리아 시즌2 Host XTM
Top Gear Korea Season 3 탑 기어 코리아 시즌3 Host XTM
2019–present 2 Days & 1 Night Season 4 1박2일 Cast member[66] KBS2

DiscographyEdit

Album information Track listing
몇번을 헤어져도
Track listing
03. 몇번을 헤어져도 "No matter how many times we part" 11. 몇번을 헤어져도 (Piano Nocturn)
Yeon Jung-hoon Vol. 1
  • Album
  • Released: October 22, 2005[68][69]
Track listing
  1. Intro
  2. All for you
  3. 사랑이 사랑을... "Love Love..."
  4. 그대 알고 있다면 "If you knew"
  5. 오늘까지만 "Just until today"
  6. 사랑했기에...
  7. 고백 "Confession"
  8. 2U
  9. 같은 사랑 (Duet 장미영) "The same love" (Duet with Jang Mi-young)
  10. 단 하나뿐인... "Only one"
  11. All for you (MR)
  12. 사랑이 사랑을... (MR)
  13. 고백 (MR)

CommercialsEdit

Year Product
2003 Lotte Weezzle
2004 Union Bay
2005 KTF
Haitai Vegetable-Fruit 100 Drink
2010 Samsung Hauzen Bubble Washing Machine

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2003 KBS Drama Awards Best New Actor Yellow Handkerchief Won
2008 MBC Drama Awards PD Award East of Eden Won
2010 SBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actor in a Special Planning Drama Jejungwon Nominated
2013 2nd APAN Star Awards Best Dressed Pots of Gold Won
MBC Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actor in a Serial Drama Won
Popularity Award, Actor Nominated
Best Couple Award with Han Ji-hye Nominated
2015 Grimae Awards Best Actor Mask Won
SBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actor in a Mid-length Drama Nominated
2018 MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Serial Drama My Healing Love Won [70]
2020 18th KBS Entertainment Awards Best Entertainer Award in Show/ Variety Category 2 Days & 1 Night Won [71]

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit