Veteran actor Kang Soo-youn, Korea’s ‘first world star,’ dies at 55

Kang Soo-youn
  • Veteran Korean movie star Kang Soo-youn died at the age of 55 from a cerebral hemorrhage on Saturday.
  • Kang was taken to Gangnam Severance Hospital in southern Seoul on Thursday after her family found her unconscious in her home at around 5:40 p.m. She reportedly suffered a cardiac arrest.
  • A memorial altar was created for the late actor at Samsung Medical Center in Seoul. Her funeral will take place on Wednesday at 10 a.m., and the Korean Film Council will broadcast a livestream of it on YouTube.
  • Born in Seoul in 1966, Kang started her acting career as a child actor for South Korea’s Tongyang Broadcasting Company. She received several awards throughout her decades-long career, even bringing home South Korea’s first award from the Venice International Film Festival for her role in Im Kwon-taek's “The Surrogate Womb” in 1987.
  • Kang took a hiatus from acting in 2013 and was reportedly scheduled to make a comeback in the Netflix sci-fi movie “Jung_E” in the second half of 2022.

Veteran Korean movie star Kang Soo-youn has died at the age of 55.

Kang, dubbed Korea’s “first world star,” was taken to Gangnam Severance Hospital in southern Seoul on Thursday after her family found her unconscious in her home at around 5:40 p.m. She reportedly suffered a cardiac arrest.

Her family announced that she died on Saturday from a cerebral hemorrhage. Before her death, she used a ventilator at the hospital for around three days. 

A memorial altar was created for the late actor at Samsung Medical Center in Seoul. Kang’s funeral will take place on Wednesday at 10 a.m. Kim Dong-ho, the founder of the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) and the current chairperson of Gangneung International Film Festival, is the head of the actor’s funeral committee. Other members of the committee include veteran directors and actors such as Kim Ji-mi, Park Jeong-ja, Park Joong-hoon, Son Sook, Ahn Sung-ki and Im Kwon-taek. The Korean Film Council will broadcast a livestream of Kang’s funeral ceremony on its YouTube channel.

Kang Soo-youn, a brilliant actor who was a pioneer in the Korean film industry, died today. It was an honor to be with the late Kang Soo-youn, who always showed great acting and good energy on the set. We will not forget every moment of actress Kang Soo-youn who did her best for a good work. May she rest in peace,” Netflix Korea wrote in an Instagram post.

 

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With a heavy heart, we send our deepest condolences for the sudden loss of former festival director, Kang Soo-youn. Kang contributed to [introducing] the excellence of Korean cinema to the whole world and devoted herself to BIFF as festival director from 2015 to 2017,” BIFF wrote in a Facebook post. “We will never forget her hard work and dedication. May the soul rest in peace.”

Born in Seoul in 1966, Kang started her acting career as a child actor for South Korea’s Tongyang Broadcasting Company. She received several awards throughout her decades-long career, even bringing home South Korea’s first award from the Venice International Film Festival for her role in Im Kwon-taek’s “The Surrogate Womb” in 1987.

Kang reportedly became the first South Korean actor to win acting awards from the Venice Film Festival, the Cannes Film Festival and the Berlin Film Festival.

The South Korean actor appeared in several other films, including “Come, Come, Come Upward” (1989), “Berlin Report” (1991), “The Road to Race Track” (1991), “Blue in You” (1992) and “Girls’ Night Out” (1998). She also starred in TV series such as the SBS period drama “Ladies of the Palace” (2001).

Kang appeared in “Hanji” (2011) and “Jury” (2013) before taking a hiatus from acting. She went on to serve as the co-executive director of BIFF from 2015 to 2017. She was reportedly scheduled to make a comeback in the Netflix sci-fi movie “Jung_E” in the second half of 2022.

 

Featured Image via Getty

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