Artiste Spotlight: Lee Joon Gi

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Born: Lee Joon Gi
Profession: Actor, Singer
Birth Date: 17 April 1982 (Aries) at Busan, South Korea
Vital Stats: 178 cm (Height), 66 kg (Weight), B (Blood Type)
Talent Agency: Namoo Actors

It has been more than a decade since the release of The King and the Clown, which established Lee Joon Gi's acting career.

Born and raised in Busan, Lee Joon Gi developed an interest in the performing arts after watching Hamlet in high school. When it came time to enter college, he decided to relocate to Seoul to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. He enrolled in the Seoul Institute of the Arts and began taking on projects as a model. His striking looks racked up coveted modelling assignments, including a billboard ad with Kim Hee Sun and Kang Dong Won and the music video for Clazziquai's 'Sweety'.

In 2005, Lee Joon Gi scored his first leading role as Gong Gil, an effeminate court jester, in the critically acclaimed period film The King and the Clown. He went through three rounds of auditions and beat 3,000 aspiring actors to the role by performing a handstand in front of the director. And while playing a character as memorable as Gong Gil that runs the risk of being typecast, he chose to broaden his repertoire with a range of characters such as a flirty chaebol in My Girl and a Joseon Robin Hood in Iljimae.

Following his return from mandatory military service in 2012, the 36-year-old took on more masculine roles – some with physically demanding action sequences. To keep himself physically fit for these scenes, he works out diligently and "recharges" in between roles by practising Jiu-Jitsu, Taekwondo, and Muay Thai.

And fans are not the only ones who have fallen under his spell. Lee Joon Gi is often adoringly reviewed by his industry peers. EXO member Baek Hyun once said that he managed to ace his first crying scene in Scarlet Heart with his co-star's guidance. The duo now share a close friendship, and Lee Joon Gi recently revealed that they could have been label-mates, if he was accepted at his audition with SM Entertainment!