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Prolific South Korean actor Yoon Jeong-hee dies at 79

yoon jeong-hee
via MBC Entertainment

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    Renowned South Korean actor Yoon Jeong-hee has died at the age of 79.

    After battling Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes, the actor died in Paris on Thursday. Her husband, Paik Kuh-woo, released a statement on Friday confirming her death.

    It is with great sadness that my wife Yoon Jeong-hee passed away around 5 p.m. Thursday (local time). She died peacefully listening to our daughter Jin-hee playing the violin. The funeral will be held in France attended by close family. Although she is no longer here with us, please remember her kind soul and passion for film.

    Born in Busan on July 30, 1944, Yoon — whose birth name was Son Mi-ja — made her impactful debut in the 1967 film “Theatre of Youth.”

    The actor would go on to star in approximately 330 films, becoming one of the most prolific actors in South Korea and joining fellow actors Moon Hee and Nam Jeong-im in the “troika” of popular South Korean actresses of the 1960s and 70s, Korea Times reports.

    After her 1994 film “Manbubang,” Yoon announced her retirement and moved to France with her family. 

    However, Yoon made a sudden return for her final performance in Lee Chang-dong’s 2010 “Poetry,” which won Best Screenplay at the annual Cannes Film Festival. 

    The South Korean-French film depicted the life of Yang Mi-ja (Yoon), a woman in her 60s who develops a love for poetry as her Alzheimer’s disease worsens. Yoon’s outstanding portrayal of the protagonist gained the actor seven Best Actress awards at the Asia Pacific Screen Award, Grand Bell Awards, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards and Blue Dragon Film Awards, to name a few.

    Other notable works from Yoon’s filmography include: “Mist” (1967), “Longing in Every Heart” (1967), “A Shaman’s Story” (1972) and “Oyster Village” (1972).

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