Kim Seon-ho is a South Korean actor who was born on May 8, 1986. He began his career on stage, appearing in a number of plays before making his screen debut with Good Manager in 2017. He rose to prominence with the television series Start-Up (2020), and he received further acclaim for his lead role in Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (2021), which aired on tvN and Netflix. He was named Gallup Korea's Television Actor of the Year in 2021.
Early life and education
Kim grew up as an only son in Seoul's Bongcheon-dong neighbourhood. Kim, who described himself as introverted and insecure as a child and adolescent, attributed the cause to a traumatic incident in his childhood, in which his mother was stabbed with a knife during a home robbery, with Kim narrowly escaping the attack by hiding under his bed. He gradually overcame his trauma by enrolling in an acting academy in his third year of high school.
Kim attended the Seoul Institute of the Arts after graduating from high school, where he earned a degree in Broadcasting and Entertainment. During his studies, he joined the Theatrical Art Research Society [ko], a campus theatre club. Kim began acting in plays such as My Town, The Seagull, and Chunpung's Wife at the theatre club.
Kim served in the military before making his acting debut in 2007. He worked as an assistant instructor at Nonsan Army Training Center before becoming a public servant. His military experience has broadened his worldview.
From 2009 to 2016, I worked in the theatre.
Kim made his professional stage debut in 2009 in the open-run New Boeing Boeing (an adaptation of the French play of the same name), which he reprised in 2013. Kim played Dr. Watson in a Korean production of William Gillette's play Sherlock Holmes in 2012. Kim appeared in the play Words I Couldn't Say for 7 Years, written and directed by Park Jung-in, at Daehakro Moonlight Theater at the end of 2013. Kim reprised his role in March 2014 at the Figaro Art Hall in Jung-gu, Ulsan.
The following autumn, Kim was triple-cast in the 10th season of Aligator Theater Company's play Rooftop House Cat. Kim won the role of protagonist Lee Kyung-min in an open audition over 200 other candidates. He was then recast for the following seasons 11 and 12. In 2015, he was cast in the title role of another Aligator Theater Company production, Purpose of Love. Both plays are popular Daehakro (off-Broadway) open-run romantic comedy plays.
Later, he broadened his horizons by taking on darker roles in limited-run plays produced by Aligator Theater Company. Kim auditioned for the role of Austin in the Korean revival of Sam Shepard's acclaimed True West, directed by Oh Man-seok, in 2015. He shared the role of Austin with Lee Hyun-wook and Moon Sung-il. They alternated as Austin's older brother Lee, opposite Jeon Seok-ho, Kim Jun-won, and Lee Dae-il. According to Interpark, the play was first in theatre ticket sales when ticket sales were opened. It ran from August 13 to November 1 at the University Road A Art Hall in Seoul. In 2015, he played Valentin in the Korean stage adaptation of Manuel Puig's play Kiss of the Spider Woman at the Art One Theater in Seoul. Kim achieved minor success and was dubbed "theatre idol."
Kim took on the challenge of auditioning for multiple roles in Theater Ganda's production of John Cariani's omnibus play, Almost, Maine, in 2016. Kim was cast after outperforming the competition rate of 200 to 1 and began performing as part of the second team in April 2012. Kim also performed two back-to-back plays with Aligator Theater Company in 2016. In a Korean encore performance of playwright Sam Shepard's play True West Return, he reprised his role as Austin. Then she appeared in the 2016 revival of Patrick Marber's hit play Closer, alongside Bae Seong-woo, Kim So-jin, and Park So-dam. Onstage, his explosive energy earned him critical acclaim. Kim joined Park Dong-playVoice wook's of Millenium in November 2016. Space to Create, a theatre company founded by Ahn Hyuk-won and Jeon Seok-ho, produced the play. It was performed at Dongsoong Art Center Dongsoong Small Theater from November 5 to December 31, directed by Park Seon-hee.
2017-2019: Television premiere
Kim made his screen debut in the KBS2 office drama Good Manager in early 2017, after auditioning at the suggestion of producer Lee Eun-jin [ko], who saw his performance in the play Closer. Kim's next project, Strongest Deliveryman, for which he initially auditioned for a supporting role, marked his first onscreen appearance in a lead role. At the 2017 KBS Drama Awards, he was nominated for Best New Actor for both roles.
Later that year, Kim played a sly conman opposite Jo Jung-suk in the MBC action comedy Two Cops. He originally auditioned for a supporting role, but after re-watching his audition tape, the director promoted him to second lead. Kim received two awards for his performance at the 2017 MBC Drama Awards. He returned to the stage as Valentin in an encore performance of Kiss of the Spider Woman while the drama was still airing.
This time, I discovered that he is a fantastic actor. He is a very good actor who is humble, sensible, quick-witted, and full of emotions, in my opinion. He reminds me of myself as a rookie. It was a minor detail, but it's all good when Seon-ho acts. He acts with thick lines at times, but he also breaks his acting down into fine details and hooks them in. If the lines are too thick, it can be boring or one-dimensional, but he divides his acting and assigns it to others. Seon-ho had something similar, and I believe we got along well.
— Jo Jung-suk, No Cut News Interview, on Kim Seon-performance ho's in Two Cops (2017).
Kim played the lead role of a painter in the May 2018 drama special You Drive Me Crazy, which aired four episodes. He also appeared in the historical drama 100 Days My Prince in April as Jung Jae-yoon, a smart yangban with lower status as the illegitimate son of a concubine who also has prosopagnosia. It was his first historical and preproduction drama, and it went on to become one of the most popular series on Korean cable television. Kim joined S.A.L.T. Entertainment [ko] in September of that year after his contract with Aligator Theater Company expired.
Kim appeared as an aspiring singer in the JTBC comedy series Welcome to Waikiki 2 in March 2019. Kim joined Lee Yi-kyung in season 1 alongside Shin Hyun-soo, Ahn So-hee, Moon Ga-young, and Kim Ye-won. In October of the same year, he starred opposite veteran actress Moon Geun-young in the tvN investigative crime drama Catch the Ghost, his second leading role in a full-length series after Welcome to Waikiki 2. Kim joined the cast of the fourth season of the KBS2 reality show 2 Days & 1 Night on November 5, and he received the Rookie Award at the 2020 KBS Entertainment Awards for his work on the show.
Kim appeared in the play Memory in Dream [sic] as his final project for 2019. He once again demonstrated his ability to sell tickets. All tickets for the episodes in which he appeared in the first, second, and third rounds were sold out within five minutes of the ticket window opening. Kim gave a total of 33 performances, with a total audience of approximately 4,700 theatregoers.
2020-present: Breakthrough, mainstream success, and return to the stage
In 2020, Kim Seon-ho
Kim will return to television in October 2020 with the tvN drama Start-Up. His portrayal of a start-up investor with a tragic past was well received by viewers, earning him a Baeksang Arts Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor - Television. During the airing of Start-Up, Kim topped the Korean Business Research Institute's monthly brand reputation ranking index and experienced a surge in popularity both domestically and internationally.
He returned to the stage in January 2021 in Jang Jin's two-hander play Ice, playing a detective attempting to implicate a young man in a murder case. The play was staged at Sejong Center for the Performing Arts' S Theater. Kim Seon-appearances ho's were reported to be sold out at the same time as the ticket release date.
We can interact with the audience live on stage, so we know their reaction right away. I think the audience contributes to the play as well because their laughter, or even the sound of their breathing instigates our next move or spurs us to do something more. That was an exhilarating sensation that I will never forget.
— Kim Seon-ho on his love of theatre, Interview with Elle Singapore
On May 8, 2012, Kim collaborated with Epitone Project [ko] to release the single "Reason," which he sang and co-wrote, after previously appearing in the latter's music video. Kim had prepared a surprise gift for his fans, expressing his feelings through the lyric and music video. Kim reprised his role as Detective Lee Jong-ryeol, opposite veteran actor Jung Woong-in, in the special encore play Ice, as the second performance of the "2021 Play Ten Thousand Won Series," at Seongnam Arts Center on May 16, 2021.
I strongly encourage my juniors to participate in a play. You must try to perform on stage while you are still immature (unpolished) in order to improve later. Looking at Seon-ho, who chose to act on stage at a time when his value is skyrocketing, I believe his mindset is excellent. I believe he understands because he has performed on stage. When you are still unknown, I believe it is beneficial to perform frequently on stage. You'll have nothing to be afraid of this way.
— Jung Woong-in, Digital Chosun, on his feelings about working with Kim Seon-ho.
In August 2021, he co-starred with Shin Min-a in the tvN drama Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, in which he played an officially unemployed but all-around handyman in the seaside village of Gongjin. The series, which aired on tvN and Netflix, was a domestic and international success, with audience ratings peaking at 13.322% and going on to become one of the highest-rated television series in Korean cable television history. Kim topped the Korean Business Research Institute's brand reputation ranking index once more in September 2021, during the airing of Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha. According to Good Data Corporation, Kim topped the actor category in TV Topicality from the third to the fourth week of August, the first to the second week of October, and the fifth week of September 2021.
The series is held together by Shin Min-performance a's as Hye-jin and Kim Seon-performance ho's as Chief Hong. Their on-screen chemistry is similar to Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in Pretty Woman.
— Matthew O'Neill
He was named Gallup Korea's Television Actor of the Year in December 2021. He also began filming his first feature film, The Childe, directed by Park Hoon-jung. On December 3, 2021, the first script reading took place, and principal photography began on December 10, 2021.
Kim will return to the stage in May 2022 with the third work of The 9th Best Plays Festival, David Greig's play Touching the Void. It is based on the true story of two British mountain climbers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates' survival. Kim shared the role of Joe Simpson with Shin Sung-min [ko] and Lee Hwi-jong [ko]. Kim Dong-yeon directed the Korean premiere, which took place at Art One Theater 2 in Daehangno from July 8 to September 18, 2022. Tickets for Kim's performances in the 250-seat theatre were all sold out, according to Interpark. Kim later donated the entire amount of his theatre fee.
Tyrant's principal photography began on January 2nd, 2023, according to film distributor Acemaker Movieworks. Kim co-starred in Park Hoon-neo-noir jung's action film with Cha Seung-won and Kim Kang-woo.
Kim has been chosen as the face of various brands in South Korea and Southeast Asia following his meteoric rise in popularity in 2020. His endorsements have ranged from clothing to electronics to cosmetics to food to e-commerce. Some of Kim's endorsed brands achieved record sales in 2021, dubbed "The Kim Seon-Ho Effect," which has been attributed to his rapid rise in popularity both in Korea and internationally.
Kim appeared in a special video of the "2021 P4G Seoul Summit," South Korea's first environment multi-lateral summit, at the end of May 2021. Kim introduces the venture company's solar panel support project in Africa in the video. It was broadcast on Naver TV, KakaoTV, and the Korea Blue House YouTube channel.
On October 17, 2021, a user claiming to be "Actor K's" (later revealed to be Kim) ex-girlfriend made allegations on a Korean internet forum that the actor coerced her into having an abortion while the two were dating. In response to his ex-allegations, girlfriend's he issued a public apology through his agency on October 20, 2021. As the ex-claims girlfriend's gained public attention, advertisers quickly pulled advertisements featuring Kim, including popular international brands such as an American pizza restaurant chain and a Japanese camera brand, according to Korea's Daily. Kim left the permanent cast of KBS variety show 2 Days & 1 Night and later dropped out of film projects Dog Days and Lee Sang-romantic geun's comedy 2 O'Clock Date.
Kim's ex-girlfriend issued a new statement on October 20, 2021, stating that there had been some misunderstandings between them and that she had received an apology from him. She also apologised for inadvertently causing harm. On October 26, 2021, a Korean media outlet published new evidence challenging Kim's ex-accusations, girlfriend's citing sources from close acquaintances of both Kim and his ex-girlfriend, with reports stating that the abortion decision was mutual, and that the pair broke up due to the ex-questionable girlfriend's circumstances. Following the new reports, seven companies resumed using Kim in advertisements. Sad Tropics' production team also announced their decision to move forward with their project, with Kim as the lead actor.
His agency, S.A.L.T. Entertainment [ko], confirmed on January 27, 2021, that he donated 100 million won (approximately $90,300) to the Korea Childhood Leukemia Foundation. "In return for the support and love he received from many people, he donated with the hope that it might even be a bit of help for children and their families who are going through a hard time," his agency stated. In September 2021, he collaborated with Marco Rojo on the 'Happy Bean Special Funding' project, which raised funds for better living conditions for the elderly. Three days after the fund's launch on September 3, fundraising surpassed 100 million won, exceeding the target amount by a factor of three. He quietly donated 50 million won to the Korea Leukemia Children's Foundation in December 2021. Because of Kim Seon-request, ho's the donation was not made public. His agency declined to comment, saying, "I know it was done personally because he wanted to help."
Kim donated the full amount of his theatre fee from the play Touching the Void to the victims of Typhoon Hinnamnor in September 2022 through The Hope Bridge Korea Disaster Relief Association.
|TBA||Sad Tropics||슬픈 열대||Nobleman|
|2017||Good Manager||김과장||Sun Sang-tae|
|Strongest Deliveryman||최강 배달꾼||Oh Jin-kyu|
|2017–2018||Two Cops||투깝스||Gong Su-chang|
|2018||You Drive Me Crazy||미치겠다, 너땜에!||Kim Rae-wan||Drama Special|
|Your House Helper||당신의 하우스헬퍼||Yong-joon||Cameo, episode 2|
|100 Days My Prince||백일의 낭군님||Jung Jae-yoon|
|Feel Good to Die||죽어도 좋아||Kim Min-hyuk||Cameo, episode 4|
|2019||Welcome to Waikiki 2||으라차차 와이키키 2||Cha Woo-sik|
|Catch the Ghost||유령을 잡아라||Go Ji-seok|
|2020||Find Me in Your Memory||그 남자의 기억법||Seo Gwang-jin||Cameo, episode 1|
|2021||Run On||런 온||Kim Sang-ho||Cameo, episode 16|
|Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha||갯마을 차차차||Hong Du-sik|
|2019–2021||2 Days & 1 Night||1박 2일||Main cast; Season 4 Episode 1–95|
|Amazing Saturday||도레미 마켓||Special player cast;|
Episode 80 (with Moon Geun-young)
Episode 140 (with Heize)
|2020||MBC Gayo Daejejeon||MBC 가요대제전||Host (with Im Yoon-ah & Jang Sung-kyu)|
|2020||"Sleepless" (Vocals by Younha)||Epitone Project [ko]|
|2021||"Reason" (Vocals by Kim Seon-ho)|
|2009||New Boeing Boeing||뉴 보잉보잉||Sung-ki||Daehakro Doore Hall 3||—|
|2010||Rooftop House Cat||옥탑방 고양이||Lee Kyung-min||Daehakro Tintin Hall||—|
|2012||Sherlock||셜록||Dr. Watson||Sunset Small Theater||August 1 to September 23, 2012|
|2013||New Boeing Boeing||뉴 보잉보잉||Sung-ki||Changwon Seongsan Art Hall Small Theater||December 18 to 22, 2013|
|2013–2014||Words I Couldn't Say for 7 Years||7년동안 하지 못한 말||In-ho||Daehakro Moonlight Theater||December 17, 2013 to March 30, 2014|
|2014||New Boeing Boeing||뉴 보잉보잉||Sung-ki||Megapolis Art Hall||January 22 to February 23, 2014|
|Words I Coundn't Say for 7 Years||7년동안 하지 못한 말||In-ho||Figaro Art Hall in Seongnam-dong, Jung-gu, Ulsan||February 4 to April 4, 2014|
|Gu, Sangsang Art Hall, Daejeon||April 3 to June 1, 2014|
|SM Art Hall 3||April 15 to May 4, 2014|
|2014||Rooftop House Cat||옥탑방 고양이||Lee Kyung-min||Daehakro Tintin hall|
|2015||Purpose of Love||연애의 목적||Choi Ji-sung||A Art Hall||February 12 to June 21, 2015|
|CK Art Hall||August 7 to September 6, 2015|
|True West||트루웨스트||Austin||A Art Hall||August 13 to November 1, 2015|
|Rooftop House Cat||옥탑방 고양이||Lee Kyung-min||CK Art Hall||November 3 to 29, 2015|
|2015–2016||Kiss of the Spider Woman||거미여인의 키스||Valentin||Sinyeon Art Hall (A Art Hall)||November 7, 2015 to January 31, 2016|
|Rooftop House Cat||옥탑방 고양이||Lee Kyung-min||Shindorim Prime Art Hall||December 3, 2015 to February 28, 2016|
|2016||Almost, Maine||올모스트 메인||East, Lendall, Chad, Dave||Sangmyung Art Hall 1||January 8 to July 3, 2016|
|True West Returns||트루웨스트 리턴즈||Austin||Yegreen Theater||June 24 to August 28, 2016|
|Closer||클로저||Dan||September 6 to November 13, 2016|
|Voice of Millennium||보이스 오브 밀레니엄||Hyung-seok||Dongsung Art Center Small Theater||November 5 to December 31, 2016|
|2017–2018||Kiss of the Spider Woman||거미여인의 키스||Valentin||Art One Theater 2||December 5, 2017 to February 25, 2018|
|2019–2020||Memory in Dream||메모리 인 드림||Eden||Haeoreum Arts Theater||8 November 2019 - 19 January 2020|
|2021||Ice||얼음||Detective 2 Lee Jong-ryeol||Sejong Center S Theater||January 8 to March 21, 2021|
|Seongnam Arts Center||May 14 to 16, 2021|
|2022||Touching the Void||터칭 더 보이드||Joe||Art One Theatre 2||July 8 to September 18, 2022|
|November 6, 2012||Mozart and 14 people,|
the sound of 13 seconds to the northern land
|모차르트와 14인, 13초의 울림 북녘 땅까지’||Figaro (Actor in Opera Segment)||Hongik University cafe 'aA The Design Museum'|
|November 30, 2015||Hoy! Style Magazine Show||보이스 오브 밀레니엄||Himself (Panelist)||Jangcheon Hall, Gwanglim Art Center|
|"Waikiki (Actors Ver.)"|
(with Lee Yi-kyung, Shin Hyun-soo)
|2019||—||Welcome to Waikiki 2 OST|
|"Reason" (너라는 이유)|
(Epitone Project [ko]; Vocal by Kim Seon-ho)
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
|Award ceremony||Year||Category||Nominee / Work||Result|
|Asia Artist Awards||2020||Popularity Award – Actor||Kim Seon-ho||Nominated|
|Best Emotive Award – Actor||Won|
|2021||RET Popularity Award – Actor||Won|
|U+Idol Live Popularity Award – Actor||Won|
|2022||Idol Plus Popularity Award – Actor||Won|
|DCM Popularity Award – Actor||Won|
|Asia Celebrity Award – Actor||Won|
|Best Choice Award – Actor||Won|
|Asia Model Awards[D]||2020||Model Star Award||Won|
|Baeksang Arts Awards||2021||Best Supporting Actor – Television||Start-Up||Nominated|
|Most Popular Actor||Kim Seon-ho||Won|
|Brand Customer Loyalty Awards[E]||2021||Trend Icon – Actor||Won|
|KBS Drama Awards||2017||Best New Actor||Strongest Deliveryman and Good Manager||Nominated|
|KBS Entertainment Awards||2020||Rookie Award – Show/Variety Category||2 Days & 1 Night Season 4||Won|
|Korea Broadcasting Awards||2021||Popularity Award – Entertainer||Won|
|MBC Drama Awards||2017||Excellence Award, Actor in a Monday-Tuesday Drama||Two Cops||Won|
|Best New Actor||Won|
|Best Comic Character||Nominated|
|OBS Hot Icon Awards[F]||2022||2022 Hot Icon Award 'Proven Trend'||Kim Seon-ho||Won|
|Seoul International Drama Awards||2021||Character of the Year||Start-Up||Won|
|2022||Outstanding Korean actor||Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha||Won|
|Cine21||2020||Actors that will lead Korean Video Content Industry in 2021||3rd|
|2021||New Actors that will lead Korean Video Content Industry in 2022||5th[G]|
|Actors that will lead Korean Video Content Industry in 2022||6th[H]|
|Forbes||Korea Power Celebrity||31st|
|Gallup Korea||2020||Gallup Korea's Actor of the Year||17th[I]|
|Joy News 24||2021||Best Actor of the year||4th|
|Net Worth||$5 Million|
|Date of Birth||8 May 1986|
|Age||36 Years Old|
|Birth Place||Seongbuk-dong, Seoul, South Korea|
|Currently Live In||Seongbuk-dong|
|Profession||Actor, Singer and Model|
|Debut||TV Series: Good Manager (2017)|
Music Video: Sleepless (2020)
Film: Sad Tropics (2022)
|Years Active||2009 – Present|
|Famous Role||Jung Jae-yoon in the TV Series 100 Days My Prince (2018)|
|Nationality||Korean – South Korean|
|Ethnicity||Korean – Asian Descent|
|School/High School||Samsung High School in Seoul, South Korea|
Inhun Middle School in Seoul, South Korea
|College/University||Seoul Institute of the Arts in Ansan, South Korea|
|Father Name||Mr. Seon-ho|
|Mother Name||Mrs. Seon-ho|
|Height (approx)||in centimeters: 182 cm|
in meters: 1.82 m
in feet inches: 6’ 0”
|Weight (approx)||in kilograms: 72 kg|
in pounds: 158 lbs
|Eye Colour||Dark Brown|
|Hair Colour||Dark Brown/Black|