O Yeong-Su is a South Korean actor. He is known to have performed in over 200 theater productions. He is known to have played the roles of monks and alike characters since he had a lot of experience with Buddhist plays. He gained worldwide fame after playing the lead role of “O Il-Nam” in the Netflix survival series “Squid Game” (2021).
O Yeong-Su was born as ‘O Se-Kang’ National Theater Company Digital Archive on Thursday, October 19, 1944 (aged 78; as of 2022), Kaepung County, Gyeonggi, Korea (present-day district) of Kaepung, Kaesong, North Hwanghae, North Korea. Chosun His zodiac sign is Libra. When the 38th parallel was formed, his family fled to South Korea. They settled in Paju-si in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea, where he grew up. After the Korean War, his family suffered greatly. As a result, he was forced to earn a living while studying. He graduated in Theater and Film from Dongguk University in Seoul, South Korea. O Yeong-su – Daum
- Height (approx): 5′ 7″
- Eye color: Black
- Hair color: Salt and Pepper
Family and Ethnicity
Parents & Siblings
His father died at the hands of communist forces on June 25, 1950, when North Korea invaded South Korea’s borders, sparking the Korean War. During this time he also lost one of his older brothers, who was kidnapped by the military. Chosun His mother used to go to the market to earn a living, which helped overcome the family’s financial difficulties. He was born the third of four sons and a daughter to his parents. All of his siblings died of illness.
Wife and Children
He dated a banker named Mo Kang, who was thirteen years younger than him, for two years before joining the National Theater Company of Korea. Mo Kang’s mother was opposed to their marriage due to their age difference and also because he was a playboy. It was after joining the National Theater Company that he managed to convince his in-laws to marry Mo Kang. At forty-three, in 1987, he married Mo Kang. He has a daughter who manages his acting career.
In 1967, he began his career in a theater group called “Gwangjang”. From 1987 to 2010, he was part of the “Jayu” theater troupe of the National Theater Company of Korea, where he worked with actors such as Jang Min-ho, the South Korean actor and voice actor that he consider his idol. Some of his theatrical credits include Geu Yeoja Salamjabne (1978), Baeg-yangseom-ui Yogmang (1980), La Mandragola (1993), Ppigojigo Ppigojigo (1997), King Lear (2010), The Tempest (2014), Fathers and Sons (2015), Galmaegi (2016) and King Lear (2017). According to him, by 2013 he had appeared in more than 200 theater productions. Golden Globes
In 1965, he made his film debut with the South Korean film “The Sea Village” in an uncredited role.
He then played many uncredited roles in South Korean films. His first credited role was as a character named “No Shinbu” in the 1998 South Korean film “The Soul Guardians”.
In 2002, he appeared in the South Korean film “A Little Monk” as a temple master, an elderly monk living with a little monk, and a teenage monk in a quiet, isolated mountain temple.
In 2003, he appeared in the South Korean movie “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring” as “Noseu-nim”. He was widely appreciated for his performance in the film.
In 1981, he made his television debut with the South Korean series “The First Republic” as a “military prosecutor”.
He performed in minor roles in Kdramas but it was in 2006 that he played the main role of grandfather in the Kdrama “Dal-Ui Jedan”.
He then only played the role of a monk in the Kdramas Queen Seondeok (2009), The Return of Iljimae (2009), God of War (2012).
In 2021, he appeared in the Netflix survival drama television series “Squid Game”, which was broadcast and distributed by Netflix. He played the lead role of “Oh Il-Nam” (numbered 001), an elderly man with a brain tumor who enters the game, preferring to die in the game than die in the outside world. The series was a huge hit around the world as it became Netflix’s most-watched series when it launched. The series is also the first South Korean drama to top Netflix’s ten most-watched weekly TV shows worldwide.
In the late 1970s, he performed voice roles in educational broadcasting. In 2008 he appeared in the commercial for LG Electronics Cyon Wine. In 2015, he appeared in episode 18 of SK Telecom’s Let’s Be Strange campaign, “the relationship that grows as we stay”, with South Korean actor Ahn Gil-gang and the South Korean actor and singer Kim Seol-Hyun.
In 2021, he narrated the TV documentary “Documentary 3 Days”, which aired on KBS2.
- Baeksang Arts Awards for Best Actor (Theatre) for “Pigojigo Pigojigo” in 1994
- Dong-A Theater Awards for Best Actor for Crime on Goat Island in 1979
- National Theater Association of Korea – Best Actor Award for “Abi” in 2000
- Seoul Theater Festival – Best Actor Award for “Jangpan” in 2006
- Order of Cultural Merit (Hwagwan, 5th Class) (South Korea) in 2019
Facts / Anecdotes
- After the end of the Korean War, his family lived in underground houses. Later, her grandfather, who lived in Haeju, Gwanghae Province, North Korea, started taking care of her family.
- His great-grandfather was a member of a Goeul, an administrative division headed by a chief appointed by the central government (especially during the Joseon Dynasty). His family still has a lot of land in Haeju, and he has the land documents.
- O Young-Su is actually his stage name, which he started using when he started acting in theaters, as the acting was not appreciated at that time.
- He completed his military training at the age of 23. After returning from military service, he went to the theater with his friend who worked in a theater company, and he was amused by the audience’s reaction to the actor on stage. He decided to work in theater and started by taking on all the work from cleaning to sticking up posters.
- As of 2021, he resides in Wirye New Town in Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea.
- In November 2019, while performing in the play “Nobu in-Ui Bangmun” at the Arko Arts Theater in Seoul, Hwang Dong-hyuk approached him to appear in Squid Game. The director had admired him since he had seen him in the film “Spring, summer, autumn, winter… and spring” and had even wanted to cast him in his film “The Fortress” (2017). Yeong-Su declined the offer as he had a tight schedule.
- He suffers from acrophobia, that is to say, the fear of heights.
- After playing monk roles in various films and television series, he was named a “professional actor for monks”. In an interview, he said:
I’ve done a lot of Buddhist dramas. That’s why I took on the role of a monk in movies and dramas. It’s true that when I play the role of a monk, I feel comfortable and intimate. I never asked a monk for advice when playing the role of a monk. Only on the theater stage does the world find its way. The same is true for religious education.
- He considers stage and voice actor Jang Min-ho his mentor because he taught him the essence of acting. Yeongnam He also considers Kim Jeong-ok as his mentor as he instilled in him the spirit of acting. He says he admired Jang because he acted until he was 85, which is what he wanted to do.
- In 2021, he was offered to do a Kkanbu Chicken commercial, but he turned it down, saying he just wanted to focus on acting.
- After Squid Game became popular, all Squid Game actors started gaining a huge following on Instagram. Soon, news spread that O Yeong-Su had opened an Instagram account. The account gained a huge following in no time, even Lee Jung-Jae, Jung Ho-Yeon, Park Hae-soo, Lee Yu-mi, Wi Ha-Joon followed and shared the account. Much to the dismay of fans, the account turned out to be fake and it was created by a fan. The Straits Times
- After his appearance in Squid Game, it was reported that he was a veteran of the Vietnam War (from October 1966 to November 1967). There was a post on an online community, showing a photo of Corporal Oh Young-Su with the 9th Army Division (White Horse Unit) Powell 1966-1967 Memorial Album. Later, upon confirmation, it was found that he never participated in the Vietnam War. KBIZoom
- In an interview, he said that he wanted to play “Doctor Faustus” in the play “Doctor Faustus”. He said he was young when he performed it and passed out during the play. In an interview, he said,
There was no voice, and in a word, I was dying. I felt sorry for everyone. I want to cry. In the end, I blacked out for about 20 seconds during the monologue scene while holding the globe. I won’t forget.
- When he was young, he preferred to act in plays than in movies or dramas, because it was a popular belief at the time that actors lose their essence once they act in movies or dramas.
- In 2010, he suffered from angina pectoris due to which he underwent angioplasty. In 2018, he suffered from acute pneumonia and was on the verge of death, but his health improved a lot after his recovery.
- He plays Go online whenever he has time. He is a 6th dan player in the game. He says the game has helped his brain rest.
- In an interview, he said that when reunification takes place, he wants his life to end where his grandfather lived in Haeju.
- As a child, he was skilled in calligraphy, influenced by his grandfather, leader of the Seodang Order.
- In 2021, it was revealed that he would play the role of Sigmund Freud in the play “Freud’s Last Session” by Mark St. Germain which is expected to start its first performance in Daehangno on January 7, 2022. Chosun
- On the first day of the 2021 Korean Series ( championship series of the 2021 KBO League season) O threw the first pitch. Chosun
- ‘Squid Game’ star O Yeong-su became the first actor from Korea to win a Golden Globe. Yahoo News