Kim Soo-hyun (Hangul김수현; hanja金秀賢; born 16 February 1988) is a South Korean actor best known for his roles in the television dramas Dream High,[2][3] Moon Embracing the Sun, My Love from the Star and The Producers, as well as the movies The Thieves and Secretly, Greatly.[4][5]

Early and personal life

Kim was a timid and introverted child during his middle school days and no one expected him to enter the entertainment industry. His mother encouraged him to take acting classes before high school to change his introverted personality, and this is where he grew the aspiration to pursue an acting career. His father, who left the family when he was young, is singer Kim Chung Hoon and was the leader of the band "Seven Dolphins".[6][7] He then majored in Theater and Film Studies at Chung-Ang University and partook in musicals such as A Midsummer Night's Dream and Grease.[8]

In 2015, it was revealed to the public that Kim has a paternal half-sister named Kim Ju Na who, at the time, was a contestant of singing reality show Produce 101.[9]


2007–2008: Television career beginnings

Kim made his television debut with a supporting role in the 2007 family sitcom Kimchi Cheese Smile and in 2008, landed a lead role in KBS's critically acclaimed youth drama, Jungle Fish. Based on a true story, it tackles the serious issues of school cheating, competitive academic standards, and interactive blogging in a fresh way. The drama won a number of awards, including the Peabody Award,[10][2] a Seoul Drama Festival award as well as an Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union prize.[2]

For the latter half of the year, Kim appeared in the food-based variety show Delicious Quiz (also known as The Taste of Life) as one of the hosts and in the short film Cherry Blossom.[2]

2009–2010: Rising popularity

In 2009, Kim acted in the short film Worst Friends by Namkoong Sun, which won the Best Film in Social Drama award at the Mise en Scène Short Film Festival[2][2][2] and the well-received two-episode SBS year-end drama special where he acted alongside veteran actor Choi Min-soo.[2]

He further raised his profile through his memorable turns as the younger version of the male lead characters in Will It Snow for Christmas? and Giant,[2][2] the latter winning him his first acting award. Upon receiving the award, Kim made his famous "10 years promise" acceptance speech and was quoted saying, "Please take care of me by giving me more attention in this ten years, I will become a real actor."

He also co-hosted Mnet's Boys & Girls Music Countdown along with Kara's Han Seung-yeon in 2009.[2]

2011: Dream High and singing career debut

He became a household name in 2011, playing a country bumpkin who turned out to be a musical genius in the teen drama Dream High.[3][3] As the only young actor in a cast of idols, Kim studied song and dance for three months at JYP Entertainment to pull off the required scenes in the drama.[3]

For the drama's soundtrack, he recorded two songs, his solo "Dreaming" as well as the title track "Dream High" with the rest of the cast. He appeared in several music programs and concerts after the drama's completion and even made a cameo in the pilot episode of its second season.[3][3]

2012: Moon Embracing the Sun and big screen debut

His popularity skyrocketed when he starred in the hit period drama Moon Embracing the Sun,[3][3] as the young king Lee Hwon. The drama not only ranked number one in its time slot throughout its run but achieved a peak recorded viewer rating of 42.2 percent[3][3] thereby earning the "national drama" status.[3] He again contributed his vocals to the soundtrack with the traditional ballad "Only You" which topped digital music charts,[4] and the more modern in composition "Another Way" released as the single "Secret Version".

Due to his charismatic portrayal of King Lee Hwon, Kim created the so-called “Hwon syndrome” and was chosen as the face of 17 products simultaneously. In that year, Kim was able to set a new record for product endorsements which was previously held in 2009 by Olympic figure skater Kim Yuna.[4][4] His advertisements include a laptop, cameras, suits, cosmetics, sportswear, outdoor goods, a coffeehouse franchise, a restaurant, a bakery, pizza, dessert jellies, beer, fabric softener and a telecommunications company.[4]

He also won several recognitions for the said drama including the hotly debated Best Drama Actor[4] at the 2012 Baeksang Arts Awards as he was the youngest and newest actor among the nominees in the category. Beating out heavyweight veterans such as Han Suk-kyu, Shin Ha-kyun and Cha Seung-won, Kim said "I am very grateful for this moment, but I am ashamed as well. It’s like getting a lot of homework. I’ll keep trying to become a better actor in order to remain worthy of this award."

Kim made his big-screen debut in the star-studded heist film The Thieves, touted by the press as the Korean version of Ocean's Eleven. His character Zampano is the youngest member of a gang of Korean and Chinese thieves who team up to steal a diamond worth 40 billion won locked away in a casino in Macau.[4][4] After joking that it was easier to immerse in the role and the kissing scenes because his partner was Jun Ji-hyun, Kim then continued to say that he was overwhelmed to be around so many big stars and felt lucky to be part of the film.[4] With over 12.9 million ticket sales, the film became the second highest grossing movie in Korean film history.[4]

2013: Secretly, Greatly

In 2013, Kim was cast along with Park Ki-woong and Lee Hyun-woo, to play the roles of North Korean spies who infiltrated South Korea as a village idiot, a rock musician, and a high school student, respectively in the movie Secretly, Greatly.[4] The film is an adaptation of the popular webtoon series Covertness by Hun and upon its release broke several box office records in South Korea.[5][5] The film was also one of the most successful box office hits of the year having sold out almost 7 million tickets during its run.[5]

For this movie, he won the Best New Actor awards in the 50th Grand Bell Awards and the 50th Baeksang Arts Awards as well as the popularity award.[5][5]

2014: My Love from the Star and international fame

From 2013 to early 2014, he was the lead actor of the SBS fantasy/romance series My Love from the Star.[5] The drama talks about an alien Do Min-joon who landed on Earth during the Joseon Dynasty and 400 years later falls in love with Cheon Song-yi (his The Thieves co-star Jun Ji-hyun), a top Hallyu star. The drama enjoyed immense popularity both locally, with an average viewer rating of 24.02 percent, and internationally, having over two billion hits on the Chinese streaming website iQiyi (爱奇艺),[5][5] that Kim was not only considered as a Hallyu star[5] but a blue chip in the advertising industry. In 2014, Kim was reported to set a new record having 35 product endorsements deals, 15 of which were coming from South Korea alone.[5]

For the latter half of the year, Kim was invited to perform at the opening ceremonies of two international sports events. Held on 16 August 2014, Kim along with Chinese pop stars Jane Zhang and Jason Zhang, as well as Russian singer Molgun Galia, sang the official theme song "Dian Liang Wei Lai" (which means "Light up the Future") at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China. The event was televised live through China’s state broadcaster CCTV and attended by several key dignitaries that include China’s President Xi Jinping, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the International Olympic Committee’s honorary president Jacques Rogge.[6][6] Similarly, on 19 September 2014, Kim participated in the opening ceremony of the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea as well. He, alongside actor Jang Dong-gun, Korean opera singer Ahn Sook-sun and people from 45 nations, delivered the message of "one Asia" at the second part of the highlight stage. The event was also attended by several state dignitaries including South Korea's President Park Geun-hye and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.[6][6]

2015: The Producers

In 2015, Kim starred in KBS’ variety drama series The Producers along with Cha Tae-hyun, Gong Hyo-jin and IU. The drama revolved around the lives of the employees working in the network's variety department and was helmed by a stellar crew that included variety show PD Seo Soo-min, veteran drama PD Pyo Min-soo and screenwriter Park Ji-eun, who also penned My Love from the Star. Kim played the role of Baek Seung-chan, a rookie PD who initially wanted to be a prosecutor but chose another career path for the sake of love.[6][6]

The drama drew solid viewership ratings nationwide throughout its run with a peak viewer rating of 17.7 percent and topped the Content Power Index (CPI) rankings for the most influential dramas of the first half of 2015.[6] The drama also gained popularity internationally having been sold to Asian countries such as China, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, as well as countries in Commonwealth of Independent States.[6]

2016: Real

Recently, Kim finished shooting the action-noir film Real, which will be shown in theaters in the first half of 2017. [6] He plays a character named Jang Tae-young whose job is to solve the problems of his clients. His ambition is to build a casino hotel and run the city where he lives.[6][7][7]



2007Kimchi Cheese SmileKim Soo-hyunMBC
2008Jungle FishHan Jae-taKBS
2009Seven Years of LoveChun-jaeOBS
Will It Snow for Christmas?teen Cha Kang-jinSBS
Father's HouseKang Jae-il
2010Giantteen Lee Sung-moSBS
2011Dream HighSong Sam-dongKBS
2012Moon Embracing the SunKing Lee HwonMBC
Dream High 2Song Sam-dong (cameo, episode 1)KBS
2013–2014My Love from the StarDo Min-joonSBS
2015The ProducersBaek Seung-chanKBS


2008Cherry Blossom (short film)Han Hyun-joon
2009Worst Friends (short film)Kim Joon-ki
2012The ThievesZampano
2013Secretly, GreatlyWon Ryu-hwan/Bang Dong-gu
2014Miss Grannyyoung Mr. Park (cameo)
2016RealJang Tae-young


2013Documentary Special: Director Bong Joon-hoMBC

Variety appearance

2008The Taste of LifeKBSHostwith Hyun Young, Jo Hye-ryun, Jung Ji-young,
Kim Shin-young, Boom and Lee Moo-song
2009Boys & Girls Music CountdownMnetHostwith KARA's Han Seung-yeon
2011Happy Together 3KBSGuestEpisode 177 with Dream High casts
Star DateGuest
Entertainment WeeklyGuest
Section TVMBCGuest
One Night TV EntertainmentSBSGuest
2012TaxitvNGuestEpisode 233
GuestEpisode 234 with Jung Eun-pyo
Section TVMBCGuest
Star DateKBSGuest
One Night TV EntertainmentSBSGuestwith The Thieves casts
Running ManGuestEpisode 102
Star N the CityXTMGuestSoo-Su Couple in New Zealand
(Bean Pole Outdoor photoshoot with Suzy)
2013Entertainment WeeklyKBSGuestwith Park Ki-woong and Lee Hyun-woo
Running ManSBSGuestEpisode 147 with Lee Hyun-woo
Masterchef Korea Season 2Guest CameoEpisode 8
2014The Brain
Jiangsu TV
GuestEpisode 11 with Cecilia Cheung and Tao Ching-Ying
Bring You To The StarsGuestEpisode 1
2015Stars From KoreaSohu TVGuest

Musical theatre

2003A Midsummer Night's DreamPuck
2007A Broken Heart, Man & WomanGuest


YearTitlePeak chart positionsAlbum
Hot 100
2011"Dream High (드림하이)"

(with JOO, Taecyeon, Suzy, Wooyoung)

23Dream High: Original Sound Track

(Commercial song recorded for his Spris spring ad along with Eun-jung)

Non-album Single
2012"The One and Only You (그대 한 사람)"22[65]Moon Embracing the Sun: Original Sound Track
"Another Way (또 다른 길)"11938[66]Another Way: Secret Version
"Marine Boy"

(Official 2012 Summer Olympics commercial song in South Korea to support swimmer Park Tae-hwan)

Non-album Single
"Winter Wonderland"

(Commercial song recorded for his Tous Les Jours winter ad)

Non-album Single
2014"In Front of Your House (너의 집 앞)"34[67]My Love from the Star: Original Sound Track
"Promise (약속)"1213[67]
"—" denotes releases that were not released in that region


2010–2011IVY club UniformsSouth Korea
2010Lotte Confectionery SeolleimSouth Korea
Lotte Chilsung 2%South Koreawith Park Eun-bin
2010–2011ANDEW MK TrendSouth Korea
2011–2012SPRISSouth Koreawith Ham Eun-jung
2011Clinique[7]South Koreawith Lee Yo-won and Jung So-min
SK Telecom iPhone 4South Korea
SK Telecom TJ Tweet Jockey[7]South Korea
SK Telecom T roaming OnePassSouth Korea
SK Telecom 4G LTE[7]South Koreawith Shin Min-a
2011–2012Canon IXUS CameraSouth Koreawith Go Ara
2011–2012Domino's PizzaSouth Koreawith Shin Seong-il (2011)
with Kim Yoo-jung (2012)
2012SK-II Pitera EssenceSouth Korea
2012–2016Bean Pole Outdoor[8]South Korea, Chinawith Jin Jung-sun and Jung Eun-pyo (2012)
with Suzy (2012–2014)
2012–2016LG H&H Beyond[8]South Korea, Vietnam,
Hong Kong, Mongolia
with Gong Seung-yeon (2015)
2012Prospecs W Campaign[8]South Koreawith Kim Yuna
2012–2014Petitzel Dessert and Drinks[8]South Korea
2012Korea Yakult R&BSouth Koreawith Shin Se-kyung
Samsung Series 9 Notebook[8]South Koreawith Park Tae-hwan
2012–2013Lotteria Angel•in•us CoffeeSouth Korea
2012Cass Fresh BeerSouth Koreawith Jung Joo Ri and Kwon Nara
J.Estina[8]South Koreawith Kaya Scodelario
Pigeon Fabric Softener[8]South Koreawith Kim Soo-yeon
Samsung SMART Printer Jump[8]South Korea
CJ Foodville VIPS[8]South Korea
2012–2016ZIOZIA[8]South Korea, China
Tous Les Jours[9]Asia, USAwith Won Bin (2012)
2012Lotte Hotel BusanSouth Koreawith Kim Hyun-joong and Jang Keun-suk
2013Lotte FitinSouth Korea
2013–2014Orion PocachipsSouth Korea
2013Maserati GhibliSouth Korea
2013–2014Calvin Klein Jeans[9]South Korea
2014Samsonite RED[9]Asiawith Angelababy
2014–2016Lemona Vitamin C[9]South Korea
2014–2016The Face Shop[9]Asia (except South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong), North America, Australia
2014-2015Samsung Electronics[9]China, Taiwan,
Hong Kong
with Jun Ji-hyun
2014Lotte Department Store[9]Asiawith Girls' Generation
2014–2016Hana Bank[9]South Korea, Chinawith Ha Ji-won
2014Hyundai ix25[9]China
2014–2015SemirChinawith Lee Min-ho (2014)
with Lee Jong-suk (2014–2015)
with Kim Woo-bin (2015)
Aokang Shoes[10]China
Häagen-DazsChina, Taiwan,
Hong Kong
2014-2016Yili YogurtChina
2014Kwang Dong Corn Silk TeaSouth Korea
2014–2015Dove ChocolatesChinawith G.E.M.
Tencent Applications and Games[10]China
Nature’s Bounty[10]China, Hong Kongwith Tang Wei
Chung Ho Nais[10]South Korea
Hengda Mineral WaterChinawith Jun Ji-hyun
2014-2016Lotte Duty FreeAsia
Caffe Bene[10]Global
Aimatech Electric BikesChina
2014-2015Sogou Search ApplicationChinawith Lee Hyun-woo
Pizza HutChina
FILA[10]South Korea
Black Cattle 'TAKI' CocktailsChina
2015-2016Jeju Air[10]Asia
Cuckoo Electronics[10]Global
Shenyang One WorldChina
ZUK MobileChina
2016-2019Paradise City[10]South Korea, Macau

Ambassadorial roles

On 28 April 2011, Kim and miss A’s Suzy were officially revealed to be the ambassadors of the "16th Goyang Korea Flower Show" in the Gyeonggi Province. The popular flower show was held at the Goyang Flower Exhibition Center at Ilsan Lake Park on April 29 with a participation of approximately 193 local and foreign companies from 20 countries and an exhibit of over 50 million flowers.[2]

On 18 April 2012, the Korea Tourism Organization(KTO) appointed Kim as the Promotional Ambassador for Korean Tourism. According to KTO, "The appointment of Kim Soo-hyun – who has obtained popularity overseas through his dramas, will help strengthen the growth of travel to Korea."[2][2][2]

On 19 May 2014, Kim along with Kwon Yuri, Choi Sooyoung and Park Shin-hye joined the 22nd class of CAU LOVE, the official student ambassadors of Chung-Ang University. For their 1-year term, the celebrity ambassadors will join the existing 12 members of CAU LOVE in various activities to better promote their university.[2]

On 25 October 2014, Kim was appointed as the Goodwill Ambassador of Seoul. To promote the city further, he will participate in various cultural events in the next two years.[2][2]

On 26 March 2015, Kim was appointed as the honorary ambassador for the Incheon International Airport. As part of the contract, he is set to appear in various on and offline promotion materials for the airport in the next three years.[2][2][2]

Awards and nominations

YearAwardCategoryNominated workResult
SBS Drama Awards
New Star AwardGiantWon
6th Asia Model Festival Awards
CF Model AwardN/AWon
47th Baeksang Arts Awards
Best New Actor (TV)Dream HighNominated
Most Popular Actor (TV)Nominated
5th Mnet 20's Choice Awards
Hot Male Drama Star[2]Nominated
4th Korea Drama Awards
Best New ActorWon
Popularity AwardWon
4th Style Icon Awards
New Icon AwardN/AWon
27th Korea Best Dresser Swan Awards
Best Dresser Male Artist[2]N/AWon
SKY PerfecTV! Awards (Japan)
Hallyu Award[2]N/AWon
KBS Drama Awards
Best New ActorDream HighWon
Popularity AwardWon
Best Couple with SuzyWon
Cyworld Digital Music Awards
Song of the Month (February) – DreamingWon
48th Baeksang Arts Awards
Best Actor (TV)[114]Moon Embracing the SunWon
Most Popular Actor (TV)Nominated
5th Nickelodeon Korea Kids' Choice Awards
Favorite ActorWon
6th Mnet 20's Choice Awards
20's Drama Star – Male[2]Won
20's Blue Carpet Popularity AwardN/AWon
7th Seoul International Drama Awards
Outstanding Korean ActorMoon Embracing the SunNominated
People's Choice Award (Korea)Nominated
5th Korea Drama Awards
Grand Prize (Daesang)[2]Nominated
39th Korea Broadcasting Prize
Best ActorWon
5th Style Icon Awards
Top 10 Style Icons[2]N/ANominated
3rd Korean Popular Culture & Arts Awards
Minister of Culture, Sports & Tourism Award[2]N/AWon
21st Buil Film Awards
Best New ActorThe ThievesNominated
33rd Blue Dragon Film Awards
Best New ActorNominated
Popular Star AwardWon
1st K-Drama Star Awards
Excellence Award, Actor[2]Moon Embracing the SunWon
MBC Drama Awards
Grand Prize (Daesang)Nominated
Top Excellence Award, Actor in a MiniseriesWon
Popularity AwardWon
Best Couple Award with Han Ga-inNominated
Best Couple Award with Jung Eun-pyoNominated
10th TVCF Advertising Awards
Model of the Year Award[2]N/AWon
49th Baeksang Arts Awards
Most Popular Actor (Film)The ThievesNominated
5th Singapore Entertainment Awards
Most Popular Korean TV ArtisteN/ANominated
6th Style Icon Awards
Top 10 Style IconsN/ANominated
7th Mnet 20's Choice Awards
20's Movie Star – MaleSecretly, GreatlyNominated
17th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan)
Men’s Fantasia Award[2]Won
50th Grand Bell Awards
Best New ActorWon
Cosmo Beauty Awards (China)
Dream IconWon
50th Baeksang Arts Awards
Best New Actor (Film)[122]Won
Most Popular Actor (Film)Won
Best Actor (TV)My Love from the StarNominated
Most Popular Actor (TV)[122]Won
6th Singapore Entertainment Awards
Most Popular Korean TV Artiste[2]N/ANominated
9th Seoul International Drama Awards
Outstanding Korean Actor[2]My Love from the StarWon
People's Choice Award (Korea)Won
7th Korea Drama Awards
Grand Prize (Daesang)[2]Won
Hallyu Hot Star AwardWon
2nd BIFF with Marie Claire Asia Star Awards
Asia Star Award[2]N/AWon
7th Style Icon Awards
Top 10 Style IconsN/AWon
8th Tokyo International Drama Festival
Best Actor in Asia[2]My Love from the StarWon
3rd APAN Star Awards
Top Excellence Award, Actor in a MiniseriesWon
Hallyu Star AwardN/AWon
5th Korean Popular Culture & Arts Awards
Prime Minister AwardN/AWon
NATE Awards
People's Choice Hallyu StarN/AWon
People's Choice ActorN/AWon
SBS Drama Awards
Grand Prize (Daesang)[2]My Love from the StarNominated
Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special[2]Won
Netizen Popularity AwardWon
Chinese Netizen Popularity Award[2]Won
Top 10 StarsWon
Best Couple Award with Jun Ji-hyunWon
15th Huading Awards
Global Best Actor in TV seriesWon
8th Busan International Advertising Festival
Best Korean spokesmodel in ChinaN/AWon
8th Korea Drama Awards
Grand Prize (Daesang)
The Producers
Hallyu Star AwardWon
52nd Grand Bell Awards
Popularity AwardN/AWon
The Wind from The East Entertainment Influence Awards (China)
Korean Most Influential People AwardN/AWon
4th APAN Star Awards
Grand Prize (Daesang)
The Producers
Top Excellence Award, Actor in a MiniseriesNominated
1st National Brand Awards
Cutural National BrandN/AWon
Top Star Prize
Shining Popular Korean StarN/AWon
KBS Drama Awards
Grand Prize (Daesang)
The Producers
Best Couple with Cha Tae-hyunWon
Netizen's Popularity AwardWon
11th Soompi Awards
Actor of the YearWon
9th Busan International Advertising Festival
Best Korean spokesmodel in ChinaN/AWon