Veteran actor Kim Young-ok, called South Korea’s ‘National Grandma,’ tests positive for COVID-19

kim young ok
Kim Young-ok in Netflix’s 2021 hit Korean dramas, “Squid Game” and “Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha.” Image: Netflix
  • Actor Kim Young Ok, affectionately nicknamed “National Grandma” in South Korea, tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.
  • The press conference scheduled for “Take Care of Mother,” scheduled for an April 13 theatrical release and which features Kim’s first-ever lead role in a film, was halted as a result of her diagnosis.
  • Kim has postponed appearances on upcoming television variety shows on tvN, including “Family Assembly” and “Attack on Grandma,” as she self-isolates.
  • Kim has appeared in over 50 roles as a grandmother, mother or caretaker of some kind. Notable works include “Squid Game,” “Love Alarm” and “Reply 1988.”

South Korean veteran actor Kim Young-ok, affectionately known as Korea’s “National Grandma,” tested positive for COVID-19.

The 84-year-old actress was reportedly diagnosed on March 24 despite having had a booster shot of the vaccine. 

Kim, a veteran actor with 65 years of industry experience, stars in her first lead film role in “Take Care of Mother,” set for theatrical release on April 13th.

The press conference for the film was scheduled for March 30th but was halted due to Kim’s diagnosis. The production company behind the film asked for fans’ understanding as it was “canceled due to unavoidable circumstances.”

“Take Care of Mother” centers around Jeong Mal Im, played by Kim, as she deals with her son, Jong Wook, who pretends to be filial, and a caregiver who poses as her daughter in the family. Joining the veteran actress are cast members Kim Young-min as her son Jong Wook, Park Sung-yun as the caregiver Mi Sook, and Kim Hye-na and “Parasite” star Lee Jung-eun as supporting characters.

Kim’s appearances on the tvN variety show “Family Assembly,” Channel S’ “Attack on Grandma” and KBS 2TV’s weekend drama “Young Lady and Gentleman” have been postponed as she self-isolates. 

Kim was given the nickname “National Grandma” in South Korea because she has portrayed over 50 characters mostly consisting of grandmothers, mothers and caretakers. Some of her notable works include playing Gi Hoon’s mother in “Squid Game” and Noh Ok-nam in “The King: Eternal Monarch.” She has also made appearances in hits like “Reply 1988,” “Boys over Flowers,” “Love Alarm” and “Mouse.”

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