Won Bin (Hangul: 원빈; born Kim Do-jin; Hangul: 김도진 on November 10, 1977) is a top South Korean actor and model. Won gained wide popularity in 2000 after starring in the television drama Autumn in My Heart. He has gained critical acclaim for his performances in the films Taegukgi , Mother and The Man from Nowhere.
Early life and beginnings
Won was born and raised in a hamlet in the north of Jeongseon in Gangwon-do, South Korea. He is the fifth and youngest child, with one brother and three sisters. His father was formerly employed in a mine and his mother worked on a farm; both of his parents are now retired. As was common for other children living in mountaineous regions, Won spent most of his time playing around with friends in the mountains and rivers, and later explained: "I came back home most nights at sunset with a black and dusty face." He was frequently shy, introspective, and quiet, character traits that would continue to follow him throughout adulthood. While not talkative or outgoing, he excelled at athletics. Won started taekwondo lessons and now holds a black belt. As a young boy, he initially planned to become a car mechanic due to his interest in car racing and motorcycling. Won graduated from a mechanical high school, where he studied car repair and mechanics.
In November 1995, a cable television station was looking to recruit and hire new actors; Won applied and was accepted in his last semester of high school. He started to take acting classes at the station's headquarters and appeared in several dramas. The following month, Won signed an acting contract with a talent agency.
Won made his screen debut with a supporting role in the 1997 drama Propose. His role in Ready Go! (1998) helped hone his acting chops. After Ready Go!, he took a break and entered a college called Paekche Institute of the Arts in 1998 to take acting classes. In 1999, Won came back to the screen with a lead role in drama Kwangki from which he was recognized as a promising young actor and a teen heartthrob.
He made his big breakthrough in 2000 with drama Kkokji and Autumn Fairy Tale. His role as a rebellious youngest son in Kkokji proved his acting potential and his role in the widely successful drama Autumn Fairy Tale landed him on the A-list for Korean performers. Autumn Fairy Tale gained wide popularity in Asia and he became one of the most popular Korean actors in Korea and Asia as well. In 2002, Won was involved in the first South Korea and Japan joint production drama Friends.
Won also had roles in several popular movies, including Guns & Talks and My Brother, but it is his portrayal of the sensitive younger brother in the blockbuster war movie Taegukgi (aka Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War) (2004) that has truly cemented his fame in the international realm. With the success of the critically acclaimed Taegukgi, recognition of his acting skills has reached an ever-wider international audience. Taegukgi is the best selling movie in South Korea in 2004 with 11.75 million admissions.
His career was interrupted by his mandatory service to the South Korean Army. After graduating from the Graduate School of Arts in Yong-In University in 2005, Won started his military duty in November 2005 and stationed at the Korean Demilitarized Zone, a position for which he volunteered. On June 2, 2006, the military officially confirmed that Won Bin would be no longer active. The decision was made by the military when Won Bin sustained injury to his ACL. He had undergone surgery and was officially discharged on June 7, 2006. After the surgery, he had gone through rehabilitation program for more than one year to recover from the injury.
Won was appointed as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador of the Korean Committee on September 6, 2007. He has participated in various programs and charity events in Korea for UNICEF from that time on, and has appeared in several promotional videos.
In April 2008, Won finally confirmed that his re-debut film would be Mother directed by Bong Joon-ho. Filming started in September 2008 and finished in February 2009. The film was selected to compete in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. He walked the red carpet at the film's world premiere on May 16, 2009 in the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Won's new movie The Man from Nowhere was released in August 2010.
- 2000: "dream in HEAVEN" photobook - 100 pages photo essays with photos taken in Bali, Indonesia and South Korea.
- 2002: "WWW-Wonbin Wide pinup Web" photobook - 40 pages photo essays.
- 2005: "28 Day 'n Year Won Bin" Premium Box Set - DVD & photobook - 60-minute DVD and 144 pages of photos with sincere essays written by Won Bin revolving around his private life and his photo session trip to South Korea, Czech Republic, and Japan as well as collector's gifts.
- 2006: "BINUS" DVD - To show his gratitude to his fans for their years of support, Won Bin has recorded this candid, personal DVD (60 minutes) to be shared just between him and us, the fans - hence the title BINUS (BINUS is the name of his official fanclub), before fulfilling his mandatory military service. It includes revealing footage and private life, with Won Bin re-visiting many places in his hometown to share with his fans his background and childhood memories.
- 2006: "Dear Wonbin" photobook - Designed like a diary book, with drawings by Won Bin.
- 2010: "I Love You" Private DVD & Photobook - 105-minute DVD and photobook, filmed in Ireland
Won Bin as LG INFINIA Smart TV model, in January 2011
- 1999: 018 Telecom 
- 2000: Namyang Cafe, Dong Yang Life Insurance 
- 2001: KTF 'Magic N' Cell Phone, Dong Yang Life Insurance, Hite Beer, Namyang Cafe, Dean Clau Eau de Toilette, Nadri Cosmetic, Haitai Potato Chips, Lotte 'Atlas' Chocolate 
- 2002: Woori Bank, Baskin-Robbins 31 Ice-cream, Namyang Cafe, Dean Clau Eau de Toilette & men's skin-care products 
- 2003: Woori Bank, Baskin-Robbins 31 Ice-cream, Namyang Cafe 
- 2004: Woori Bank, LG Cyon Cell Phone, Missha make-up product 
- 2005: LG Cyon Cell Phone, Missha make-up product, FORVAL I.T./Telecom (Japan) 
- 2008: Maxim T.O.P Espresso 
- 2009: Maxim T.O.P Espresso 
- 2010: HITE MAX Beer, Maxim T.O.P Espresso, Cuckoo HomeSys, Tous Les Jours Bakery, Olympus Camera, The Face Shop, LG Beyond
- 2011: LG INFINIA Smart TV & Cinema3D TV, Cuckoo HomeSys, SK Telecom, HITE Beer, The Face Shop, LG Beyond, Maxim T.O.P Espresso, Olympus Camera, Tous Les Jours Bakery
Fashion brand spokesmodels
- 1999: Clride, Yell
- 2000: Clride, Jambangee
- 2001: Jambangee, Ziozia 
- 2002: Ziozia, GIA, Visaruno of Marui 0101 Dept Store (Japan) 
- 2003: GIA, C.O.A.X., Visaruno of Marui 0101 Dept Store (Japan) 
- 2004: Omphalos, Ziozia 
- 2005: Ziozia
- 2008: Ziozia 
- 2010: Hang Ten
- 2011: CHRIS.CHRISTY, basichouse, K2 
Awards and nominations
- 2000: Best Dresser of the year
- 2002: Voted as the "April 2002 Most Beautiful Man" by MostBeautifulMan.com. The first Asian celebrity to win in this monthly poll.
- 2004: Chosen as one of the eight "Coolest Guy Celebrity" in the readers' survey of 9 international ELLEgirl magazines.
- 2005: Voted #1 "Favorite Asian Star" (2005) in the readers' survey by Japanese magazine "CanCam".
- 2005: Voted #1 "Favorite Asian Star" (2005) in the readers' survey by Japanese magazine "an.an".
- 2006: Voted #1 "Favorite Asian Star" (2006) in the readers' survey by Japanese magazine "an.an".
- 2007: Voted #1 "Favorite Asian Star" (2007) in the readers' survey by Japanese magazine "an.an".
As UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Won Bin has participated in various programs and charity events.
- 2007.09.06 - Appointed as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
- 2007.10.03 - Attended the International Peace Marathon Festival in Seoul to raise fund for UNICEF.
- 2007.11.26 - Attended a charity fashion show to raise fund for UNICEF.
- 2008.02.28 - Attended the "Clean meals, Happy sharing" campaign sponsored by UNICEF and Hanwha Resort.
- 2008.06.24 - Promoting the Awoo Doll campaign.
- 2008.08.20 - Raised fund through photo project with Louis Vuitton and GQ Korea.
- 2008.11.27 - Promoting UNICEF Jumper to raise fund.
- 2008.12.22 - Visited an orphanage in Seoul and presented the children there with Christmas gifts.
- 2009.04.04-13 - Visited Gambia for UNICEF, visited relief center, hospital and schools.
- 2010.09.12-17 - Visited East Timor for UNICEF. watched over the vaccinations and educational work being done on site by UNICEF.
- ^ (Korean) Won Bin's official website - Profile page
- ^ (Korean) Naver - Person Profile "Won Bin"
- ^ (Korean) Nate - Person Profile "Won Bin"
- ^ (Korean) The Hankyoreh - Person Profile "Won Bin"
- ^ (Korean) Cine21 - Person Profile "Won Bin"
- ^ (Korean) Maxmovie - Person Profile "Won Bin"
- ^ "Won Bin - A story behind the success". Sports Seoul, Sep, 2000. http://wonbin.yuku.com/topic/848. Retrieved 2009-08-06.
- ^ "YouTube: Won Bin shows his taekwondo skill". Korea TV show, 2000. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yY24VNUDZSo. Retrieved 2009-09-10.
- ^ "Taegukgi draws 10 million audience". HanCinema, Mar 16, 2004. http://www.hancinema.net/korean-movie-news_857.php. Retrieved 2009-08-06.
- ^ "Won Bin heads for frontline army post". Xinhua News Agency, Jan 10, 2006. http://news3.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-01/10/content_4031451.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-06.
- ^ "Actor Won Bin Performs Military Duties at DMZ". HanCinema, Feb 10, 2006. http://www.hancinema.net/actor-won-bin-performs-military-duties-at-dmz-5231.html. Retrieved 2009-08-06.
- ^ "Actor Won Bin Reports for DMZ Duty". Dong-a Ilbo, Feb 11, 2006. http://english.donga.com/srv/service.php3?bicode=050000&biid=2006021173328. Retrieved 2009-08-06.
- ^ "Star Discharged After Brief Stint With Frontline Unit". The Chosun Ilbo, Jun 2, 2006. http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200606/200606020023.html. Retrieved 2009-08-06.
- ^ "Injured Star Discharged from Military Service". The Chosun Ilbo, Jun 7, 2006. http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200606/200606070011.html. Retrieved 2009-08-06.
- ^ "YouTube: Movie "Mother" at Cannes Film Festival". CJ Entertainment/Barunson Ent., June 2009. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtLohcXMT0U. Retrieved 2009-09-10.
- ^ a b c d e f g h "YouTube: Won Bin Commercials 1999–2003". YouTube playlist. http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=31EAE225C8AE8E19. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
- ^ a b c "YouTube: Won Bin Commercials 2004–2005". YouTube playlist. http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=D4FCA4A79D189913. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
- ^ a b c "YouTube: Won Bin Commercials 2008–2009". YouTube playlist. http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=E72D6C4854604234. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
- ^ a b c "YouTube: Won Bin Commercials 2010–2011". YouTube playlist. http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=CE5BBBB5E658BFD1. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
- ^ "YouTube: Won Bin winning Best Actor at Grand Bell Awards 2010". SBS broadcast, Oct 29, 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y11Q7CONCvw. Retrieved 2010-11-22.
- ^ a b "Won Bin won his first Daejong Best Actor Award". HanCinema, Oct 30, 2010. http://www.hancinema.net/won-bin-won-his-first-daejong-best-actor-award--he-said-acting-skill-is-still-my-concern-25739.html. Retrieved 2010-11-22.
- ^ Soo-Mee, Park (2010-10-31). "'Poetry' Rings Korea's Grand Bell with Multiple Wins". Hollywood Reporter, Oct 31, 2010. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/poetry-rings-koreas-grand-bell-33916. Retrieved 2010-11-22.
- ^ "YouTube: Won Bin winning Best Actor at Korea Film Awards 2010". MBC broadcast, Nov 18, 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjoW1axNVvs. Retrieved 2010-11-22.
- ^ "Won Bin won Best Actor Award in Korea Film Awards". HanCinema, Nov 18, 2010. http://www.hancinema.net/won-bin-won-best-actor-award-in-korea-film-awards---the-man-from-nowhere-won-7-awards-26130.html. Retrieved 2010-11-22.
- ^ "The Man From Nowhere sweeps Korea Film Awards". 10Asia, Nov 19, 2010. http://www.asiae.co.kr/news/view.htm?sec=ent5&idxno=2010111911130258918. Retrieved 2010-11-22.
- ^ "YouTube: Won Bin accepts the Popularity Award at Blue Dragon Awards 2010". KBS broadcast, Nov 26, 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U23bvGJ39us. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
- ^ "YouTube: Won Bin receiving the BVLGARI Brilliant Dreams Award". MBC report, May 2002. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8TuP4cXBsE. Retrieved 2009-08-01.
- ^ a b "YouTube: Won Bin appointed as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador". Yonhap report, Sep 6, 2007. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgpJdwl6G8Q. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
- ^ "YouTube: Won Bin receiving Best Jewellery Dresser Award in Japan". Japan TV report, Jan 26, 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGd93YC-Vz4. Retrieved 2011-02-26.
- ^ "April 2002 Most Beautiful Man - Won Bin". MostBeautifulMan.com, April 2002. http://www.mostbeautifulman.com/actors/wonbin/bio.shtml. Retrieved 2009-08-01.
- ^ "Korean Actor Won Bin Added to Elle Girl's Coolest List". The Chosun Ilbo, Oct 5, 2004. http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200410/200410060007.html. Retrieved 2009-08-01.
- ^ "Won Bin voted favorite Asian star". Xinhua News Agency, Apr 18, 2005. http://news3.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-04/18/content_2844730.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-01.
- ^ "YouTube: Won Bin attended charity fashion show". YTN Star News, Nov 26, 2007. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZL9ddPrx3jc. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
- ^ "Won Bin participated in UNICEF campaign (Chinese news)". Tom.com report, Feb 29, 2008. http://ent.tom.com/2008-02-29/0PGL/12141874.html. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
- ^ "YouTube: Won Bin promoting the Awoo Doll campaign". UNICEF Korea, Jun 24, 2008. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kw422EHK4Ss. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
- ^ "Won Bin Joins Vuitton, GQ in Charity Project". The Chosun Ilbo, Aug 20, 2008. http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200808/200808200024.html. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
- ^ "Won Bin Warms Children With Gifts This Festive Season". Hanfever.com, Dec 23, 2008. http://www.hanfever.com/2008/12/23/won-bin-warms-children-with-gifts-this-festive-season/. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
- ^ "Won Bin visits Gambia for UNICEF". Dramabeans.com, Apr 15, 2009. http://www.dramabeans.com/2009/04/won-bin-visits-gambia-for-unicef/. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
- ^ "Won Bin, the Philanthropist". AllKpop.com, Apr 26, 2009. http://www.allkpop.com/index.php/full_story/won_bin_the_philanthropist/. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
- ^ "YouTube: Won Bin's East Timor visit for UNICEF - public service Ad (1)". UNICEF Korea, Dec, 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8kI7DYlAA8. Retrieved 2011-02-26.
- ^ "YouTube: Won Bin's East Timor visit for UNICEF - public service Ad (2)". UNICEF Korea, Feb 17, 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZL9ddPrx3jc. Retrieved 2011-02-26.
- ^ "Won Bin does charity work in East Timor". AllKpop.com, Oct 12, 2010. http://www.allkpop.com/2010/10/won-bin-does-charity-work-in-east-timor. Retrieved 2011-02-26.
- ^ "YouTube: Won Bin's East Timor visit photo essay". BINUS, Dec, 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQuViqw09kQ. Retrieved 2011-02-26.