Lee Min-ho is one of the most talented and charismatic stars in the Korean industry. The Hallyu star turns 35 years old today. The talented star dons multiple hats – actor, entrepreneur, singer, creative director, and philanthropist, and is one of the most celebrated actors.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Lee Min-ho initially harbored dreams of being a world-famous soccer player. However, an injury put an end to his sporting aspirations. By the time he was in high school, he had channelled his handsome good looks and tall height towards a lucrative career in modeling and acting.
He began his acting career with minor and supporting roles in dramas like Secret Campus, Romance, Nonstop, and Recipe of Love. However, his career took a turn for the better when he hit the jackpot with KBS’ 2009 teen romantic-comedy-drama Boys Over Flowers.
The Korean adaptation of the famous Japanese manga series Hana Dori Yango, Boys Over Flowers, catapulted Lee Min-ho into superstardom and made him one of the biggest Hallyu stars in the country.
Besides a thriving career in showbiz, Lee Min-ho is known for doing some excellent philanthropy work. In 2014, the star set up the PROMIZ website, a fundraising platform to raise awareness and encourage people to donate to social and humanitarian causes.
He also launched his own YouTube channel titled – “Leeminho film” on October 30, 2020, and posts about his travels, day-to-day life, and interesting anecdotes about his work and life. He has 882k followers, and according to his interview with GQ magazine, he edits the videos himself.
Lee Min-ho has enjoyed a super-successful career so far and has maintained his stardom for over a decade now, and we think it is only fair to walk down memory lane and pick five roles that spotlight his illustrious career so far.
Lee Min-ho’s top defining roles feat. Boys Over Flowers, Pachinko, and more
For this special feature, we have picked his career’s five most defining roles so far. From his breakthrough role in Boys Over Flowers, where he played the role of the entitled rich brat Gu Jun-pyo, who is the only heir to Korea’s Shinhwa group who falls for the poor but feisty Geum Jan-di in a Cinderella-style romance.
His latest role as the grey-shaded Koh Han-su from Min Jin Lee’s best-selling novel Pachinko was his first Korean-American production and TV role since The King: Eternal Monarch.
1) Boys Over Flowers
Lee Min-ho’s character Gu Jun-pyo may have been an arrogant and privileged for most of the drama, but pining for the sprightly and simple Geum Jan-di changed his heart of stone.
In a particular scene, Gu Jun-pyo was heartbroken when Geum Jan-di berated him for his behaviour and left along with Ji-hoo, Gu Jun-pyo’s best friend and contender-in-love.
Lee Min-ho channelled his deepest emotions into the character, making his pain and heartbreak more palpable to the audience. It was this role which earned him his breakthrough in the Korean entertainment industry, making him one of the biggest superstars in the country.
2) The Heirs
There, he encounters a sweet and simple girl Cha Eun-sang and falls in love with her. He returns to Korea following her, where his former best friend Choi Young-do starts picking on Cha Eun-sang to irritate Kim Tan.
The two share a rocky relationship, always picking fights and hating each other. However, over the course of time, they come to empathise with each other’s problems and redevelop their friendship again.
Kim Tan breaks down in front of Choi Young-do expressing his love for Cha Eun-sang. It was the first time in the series, we saw him show his emotional and vulnerable side and he did a fantastic job portraying the character to its full potential.
3) Legend of the Blue Sea
An underrated trait of Lee Min-ho is the fact that he is a great comic actor with impeccable comic timing, and he proves that with his role as Heo Joon-jae in Legend of the Blue Sea.
In this scene, he makes the audience laugh in this hilarious scene where he is carrying out a con. His extravagant acting and over-the-top expressions are comedy gold in this scene, giving birth to one of the most iconic internet memes – “disgusting sh*t.”
4) The King: Eternal Monarch
Lee Min-ho marked his second collaboration with writer Kim Eun-suk. The King: Eternal Monarch marked the actor’s comeback to Korean dramas post completing his mandatory military duty.
He plays the orphaned monarch Lee Gon in a parallel universe Korea. As a child, he witnessed the brutal murder of his father at the hands of his uncle and vowed to get his revenge when he turned older.
He crosses an invisible barrier to cross over to The Republic of South Korea, where he encounters a cop Jeong Tae-eul, with whom he feels a strange connection.
In this scene, he shows off his intense side as he takes on the role of a brave and righteous king who will go to any lengths to save the love of his life.
His gaze is fierce and unrelenting as he declares that the future queen of Korea must be saved at any cost! The talented Hallyu star really shines through in this role.
Lee Min-ho has often been accused of playing only “rich and pretty boy” roles, but the actor proved his detractors wrong with his latest venture Pachinko.
Based on Korean-American author Min Jin Lee’s best-selling novel Pachinko, he portrays the role of Koh Han-su, a Zainichi Korean man who lives in Osaka, Japan. Introduced as a merchant and fish broker who regularly visits Busan, South Korea, he has ties to organised crime.
In his interview with GQ Korea, he revealed that he auditioned for the first time in a decade and worked really hard to nail it, which really shows in the way he really brings the character’s full potential to the foreground.
In a particular scene, Kon Han-su’s lover Sunja rejects him. He tries to reason with her and even mocks her; he says that she will never find someone like him and suffer for the rest of her life, but she remains adamant.
The talented Hallyu star really sinks his teeth into this grey-shaded, ambitious and ruthless character; really showcasing his amazing acting chops.
Lee Min-ho is all set to headline the Korean sci-fi romantic-comedy drama Ask The Stars opposite Gong Hyo-jin. He will play the role of Gong Ryong, an obstetrician-gynaecologist with a strong sense of responsibility who arrives at the space station as a tourist.