Jeon Do-yeon is a South Korean actress. She has won many awards in her career, including best actress at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival for her portrayal of a broken woman who has lost everything in Lee Chang-dong’s Secret Sunshine.
Born: February 11, 1973 (age 40), Seoul, South Korea
Spouse: Kang Shi-kyu (m. 2007)
Awards: Cannes Best Actress Award, More
Nominations: Asian Films People’s Choice Award for Favorite Actress, Asian Film Award for Best Actress
Jeon Do-yeon (b. February 11, 1973) spent five years starring in television dramas before achieving instant star status with her film debut opposite Han Suk-kyu in The Contact. She went on to establish a reputation as a “chameleon” who can take on a wide variety of roles, from her performance as a doctor in the hit melodrama A Promise, to that of a schoolgirl in Harmonium in My Memory to that of a wife having an adulterous affair in Happy End. In 1999 and 2000 she received a Best Actress award from both the Blue Dragon and the Grand Bell awards for her role in Harmonium in My Memory.
In 2001 she very skillfully played a very ordinary bank teller in Park Heung-shik’s debut I Wish I Had a Wife. After starring as the tough-talking “Sunglasses” in Ryoo Seung-wan’s No Blood No Tears, Jeon spent time acting in a TV drama titled Shoot for the Stars. In 2003 she found box-office success in E J-yong’s Untold Scandal, based on the famous French novel Dangerous Liasions. The following year she re-united with director Park Heung-shik in a dual role for the time-bending melodrama My Mother, the Mermaid.
In 2005 Jeon burst back into the limelight playing a prostitute who contracts AIDS in Park Jin-pyo’s hard-hitting melodrama You’re My Sunshine. The performance helped turn the film into a box-office hit (3 million+ admissions), and also won her yet more additions to her collection of local acting awards.
But it was her role in Lee Chang-dong’s Secret Sunshine in 2007 that would see her emerge in full glory. Although the film itself, which debuted at Cannes, evoked widely differing assessments from international critics, Jeon’s performance was universally praised, and indeed she was presented with a Best Actress award by the Cannes jury — the first Korean ever to receive an acting award at Cannes.
Although not as broadly popular with audiences as some other stars, Jeon is widely respected for her acting abilities, and many young actresses cite her as a role model.
“I enjoy acting a great deal, so I feel no need or desire to be called a great actor. This is partly my personality, but also the fact that I get so absorbed in acting, to where I can’t see or think of anything else. I can’t tell you what great acting is, but for me, it is to give everything you have with honesty, sincerity and persistence.” [Kino, #56, October 1999]
Do-yeon Jeon – The Housemaid