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Masan, South Korea
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Masan, South Korea

Hwang Jung-min is one of South Korea’s most successful actors today. Beginning his career in musical theatre during his college years, he eventually developed into a versatile actor, making his acting debut in 1995 with the musical ‘Line1’. Initially chastised for his lack of physical attractiveness, he was forced to play minor supporting roles in the majority of his early films, but his attitude and abilities eventually paid off. He first gained prominence with the 2001 film ‘The Waikiki Brothers,’ in which he portrayed a struggling musician. Additionally, he received widespread acclaim for his portrayal of an AIDS-stricken prostitute’s lover in the drama ‘You Are My Sunshine’. After winning several awards for his performance, the industry began to accept Hwang, and what followed was a string of film roles that cemented Hwang’s place in the industry. Further starring in some of the most popular and successful films of this generation, including ‘Ode to my Father,’ ‘Veteran,’ and ‘The Wailing,’ he established himself as one of the most bankable film actors of this generation.

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Childhood & Adolescence

Hwang Jung-min was born on September 1, 1970 in Masan, South Korea to film-loving parents. As a result, Hwang developed an interest in the film industry at a young age and began fantasizing about a possible career in film.

His interest peaked in third grade, when he attended a theatre production of ‘Peter Pan,’ which had a profound effect on his psyche.

When he discussed his desire to enter the entertainment industry with his parents, his mother was unwavering in her support. She encouraged him even more by bringing him an application to Keywon High School of Arts, one of the country’s most renowned art schools.

Hwang developed his acting skills and began performing theatre during his time there. He eventually formed his own theatre company with the help of other actor friends from school, but was disheartened by the general public’s lack of interest in his productions and the company was soon shut down.

Rather than despairing over this early setback, Hwang decided to take one step closer to realizing his dreams by enrolling in the Seoul Institute of Arts’ professional theatre program. During his time there, he began auditioning for film and television roles, and while his performances were praised, he was deemed unfit for an acting career due to his very average appearance.

Hwang continued to work in theatre, with his most well-known work being ‘Line 1’, which he began in 1995 and continued to perform for years as a result of its success. He also performed in other plays and continued auditioning for films without success, eventually securing smaller roles in films such as ‘Shiri’ and ‘The She’.

Career of Hwang

Hwang’s perseverance was rewarded handsomely in 2001, when he was cast in the film ‘Waikiki Brothers’. The film, set in the 1980s, followed the lives of a group of struggling young musicians and premiered at the Jeonju International Film Festival. It was a significant achievement for Hwang, as the film’s success paved the way for him to land larger and more significant roles in subsequent films.

Following that, Hwang turned in a series of strong performances in films such as ‘Road Movie,’ ‘Heaven’s Soldiers,’ and ‘A Bittersweet Life.’ Hwang won nearly every major film award that year as the Best New Actor for the ‘Road Movie.’ While his performances in those films were universally lauded, he was far from being considered a stand-alone actor.

In his career-defining performance, Hwang portrayed a lonely man who falls in love with an AIDS-stricken prostitute in the film ‘You Are My Sunshine’. Hwang received numerous awards and nominations for his performance, eventually becoming a household name in South Korea. He was presented with a Blue Dragon Film Award and a Max Movie Award upon his return.

As a result of the film’s enormous success, an increasing number of mainstream directors approached Hwang for powerful and unique roles.

Hwang chose to experiment and appeared in subsequent films such as ‘University of Laughs’ and ‘The Wedding Singer’ in a lighter role.

In 2009, Hwang made his television debut in the lead role of ‘The Accidental Couple,’ earning him a couple of nominations at the KBS Drama Awards for his flawless performance.

In 2010, Hwang starred as a blind swordsman in the period epic film ‘Blades of Blood.’ He also appeared in the noir film ‘The Unjust’ that same year, which was also one of his most successful films.

He received universal acclaim for his role as the former head of a crime syndicate in the film ‘New World.’ The film garnered worldwide attention, and the New York Times’ film critic singled out Hwang among the other cast members and lavished praise on him. Hwang was named Best Actor by the Korea Film Actors Association.

Hwang gave another strong performance in the film ‘In My End is My Beginning’. Additionally, he received international recognition, and the film had its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival. His dream run was bolstered by the success of two additional films, the period epic ‘Fists of the Legend’ and the romantic comedy ‘Man in Love’. Both films dealt with distinct themes and were critically and commercially successful.

In 2014, Hwang struck gold yet again with his performance in the film ‘Ode to my Father,’ a film that told a story spanning decades and highlighting some of the events that shaped modern South Korea. The film received widespread critical acclaim and gradually gained momentum at the box office, eventually becoming South Korea’s second highest grossing film. Hwang received the Daesang Award for his performance, which is Korea’s highest honor for actors.

A Violent Prosecutor, a 2016 crime comedy film, became the year’s second highest grossing film, and another of his films, ‘Asura: The City of Madness,’ premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. In the same year, Gallup Korea named him ‘Actor of the Year.’

Private Lifen of Hwang

After years of dating, Hwang married co-star Kim Mi-hye in 2004 and fathered a son shortly afterwards.

Net worth of Hwang

Hwang Jung-min is one of the wealthiest actors and is ranked among the most popular. Hwang Jung-net min’s worth is estimated to be between $1-5 million, based on our analysis of Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.