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Lee Byung-hun (이병헌) is a Korean actor who has starred in both Korean and Hollywood films. He graduated from Hanyang University with a degree in literature and went to graduate school to study theater and cinematography. Lee never considered acting until his mother's friend suggested it. In 1991, he decided to pursue acting and auditioned for the KBS television network. At KBS, Lee starred in TV series "Asphalt My Hometown" and "Tomorrow Love."
Lee began acting in films throughout the 90s. During the 90's, the films he was in did not do well commercially. His first famous film was Park Chan-wook's "Joint Security Area" (2000), which is about a shooting that occurs within the DMZ, the border between North and South Korea. His role in Joint Security Area earned him "Best Actor" at the Busan Film Critics Awards. Through the early 2000's, Lee continued to gain popularity by starring in dramas. In 2003, he won the Grand Prize at the SBS Drama Awards and Best Actor at the Baeksang Arts Awards for his role in All In.
Lee began to focus on making films in the mid-2000's. A Bittersweet Life and The Good, the Bad, the Weird were screened out of competition at Cannes Film Festival. His acting in A Bittersweet Life gained him nominations for Best Actor at the Blue Dragon Film Awards and Grand Bell Awards; Lee won Best Actor at the Chunsa Film Art Awards, Baeksang Arts Awards, and the Korean Association of Film Critics Awards. His part as an intelligence agent in I Saw the Devil (2012) won him the Grand Prize at the Baeksang Arts Awards as well. In 2012, Lee was also in the period drama Masquerade, and his role earned him Best Actor at the Grand Bell Awards.
Throughout the years, Lee has become one of the biggest actors both at home and abroad. He is the only actor to sell out the Tokyo Dome and is one of the first two Koreans to imprint his hands and feet at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. Lee made his Hollywood debut in G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra in 2009. He also appeared in G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation in 2013. Lee also appeared in Terminator Genisys with Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2015. In the same year, he starred in the political crime thriller Inside Men, the top grossing R-rated movie of all time in Korea.
More recently, Lee co-starred as Billy Rocks in The Magnificent Seven with Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt. In February of 2016, Lee became the first Korean actor to present an award at the Oscars. His next project is a television series called Mr. Sunshine.