KBS’s Entertainment Weekly ranked the stars who used to be obscure.
Seventh place went to Kim Nam Gil. He joined the network with the best score, but he was forced to take a long hiatus after a car accident. While living in obscurity, he even changed his stage name to Lee Han, but ended up returning to Kim Nam Gil. The actor rose to fame after playing Bi Dam in the 2009 hit series Queen Seondeok.
Ra Mi Ran, who became a leading actress after 22 years of her debut, came in sixth. She mostly acted in the theaters, and she once said that she earned about 200,000 KRW (about $155) in a year as an actress. After long years of struggling, she made a breakthrough with her big-screen debut in the 2005 movie Lady Vengeance. Since then, she has emerged as a scene-stealer, appearing in more than 50 films.
Kim Soo Hyun ranked fifth. After working as a reenactor during his middle school, he made his official debut in the 2007 sitcom Kimchi Cheese Smile. He played his first leading role in the youth drama Jungle Fish, but he was dropped from a variety show just after three episodes and from the drama Boys Over Flowers due to a disagreement with the production team. However, starting with Dream High, he successfully showed his presence in every project he starred in, becoming the A-list Hallyu star.
Fourth place went to Ji Sung. He solidified his filmography with works like This Is Life and Police. Having actively reached out to the production companies for a role, Ji Sung proved himself to be a leading actor through the drama All In.
Ji Sung’s wife Lee Bo Young came in third. Wanting to have various experiences while in college, Lee Bo Young appeared in a dating reality show and even competed for Miss Korea. Afterwards, she debuted as an actress. She gained fame when she became the face of an airline and built up a solid filmography from minor roles. Later, Lee Bo Young won the title “never-failing actress,” making a hit with every project she starred in.
Lee Min Ho ranked second. He debuted in the drama Sharp as Yoo Ah In‘s friend, appeared in Nonstop 5 as a stand-in for a role that had plastic surgery, and played many minor roles. At the time, he only was paid 30,000 to 500,000 KRW (about $23- $390) for his appearance. He played high school characters in eight projects, including Boys Over Flowers and Heirs.
First place went to Squid Game actor O Yeong Su. He joined a theater company in 1967 and performed in about 200 productions. In 1994, he won the Best Actor in the Theater category. However, he was still obscure to the public. Starting with the movie Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring, he appeared in several projects as a monk. It is said that Squid Game director Hwang Dong Hyuk personally visited the actor to cast him for the show.
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