Shin Seoung Il passed away on Sunday, on November 4, 2018, at 81 years old, after battling lung cancer for a year and a half. The Korean actor came to fame when he got his start in Shin Sang Ok’s 1960 film “A Romantic Papa”. He went on to work on over 500 features and helped define Korean cinema, reports the Hollywood Reporter. “Without understanding Shin Seong Il, it is hard to get a grasp of either Korean film history or Korean modern cultural history,” said Park Chan Wook.
Born as Kang Shin Young on May 8, 1937, in Daegu, S. Korea, Shin dreamed of being an actor. At the age of 22, he got a role on the Korean film “A Romantic Papa” as the youngest son in a family melodrama. After that role, he became popular and became the biggest leading man in Korea.
“If there is Toshiro Mifune in Japan, Marcell Mastroianni in Italy, Gregory Peck in America, and Alain Delon in France, we have Shin Seong Il,” Park Chan Wook said.“For all the times and places, never was there a country that both film industry and art so dependent on one person.”
He went on to become an extremely prolific actor. During the 1960s, Shin worked on over 300 films of the 1,100 films that came out of S. Korea. At that time he cemented his legacy as the “icon of youth”.
In 1964, Shin went on to marry actress Um Aeng Ran. They were the “it” couple of their time and country.
They had three kids, one son, and two daughters. The marriage was rocky with the two ending up living separate from each other, but she was by his side as he fought the disease.
Shin was hopeful even with the diagnosis of lung cancer. Just recently he signed up for a role in a new movie called Sohwakheong which was going to begin production next year. Lee Jang Ho, the director of the movie told reporters, “I spent my childhood with Shin and we worked in the industry together after I became an adult. The script I hear is almost complete and I was really looking forward to starring with him in the film.”