Lee Min Ho – From Nameless Actor to the “$9 Million Man”

lee min ho

Recently, actor Lee Min Ho has risen to Hallyu star status, with explosive popularity not only in Korea and China, but all over Asia. However, Lee Min Ho’s success was not a straight candle-lit path to the top, but the result of years and years of hard work.

The actor debuted in 2006 in the EBS drama “Schoolyard Secrets,” with which he was slowly making himself known to the masses. However, after a serious car accident, Lee Min Ho had to suspend his activities for about a year, giving up following roles in “High Kick” and “9 End 2 Outs.” 

When Lee Min Ho returned, he starred in “Mackerel Run,” which yielded poor results, ending early, as a result of problems with the production company and low viewer ratings. After “Mackerel Run,” Lee Min Ho diligently took on small roles in the movies “Our School E.T” and “Public Enemy Returns”  as he waited for his big break to come along.

This continued for several years until 2009, when the actor won over odds of 200 to 1, landing a role in the KBS drama “Boys Over Flowers” as Goo Joon Pyo. Based off of the Japanese comic of the same name, the drama had previously been produced as a drama in Taiwan, and was already highly popular worldwide. Despite the pressure that came with starring in an already established work, Lee Min Ho perfectly portrayed the arrogant, wealthy high school boy, and established himself as a talented actor. Following his performance in “Boys Over Flowers,” an ‘Lee Min Ho wave’ blew through the advertising world, and the actor, among other things, became the exclusive model for Trugen, a position that was only filled by top actors such as Lee Byung Hun, Song Seung Hun, and Jo In Sung. 

The actor continued his streak with dramas such as “Personal Taste,” “City Hunter,” and “Faith,” taking on various roles and receiving the spotlight as the next big star. Lee Min Ho recently finished the highly successful SBS drama “The Heirs” just last year, adding the cherry on top to his already intense popularity. 

At the end-of-the-year 2013 SBS Drama Awards, Lee Min Ho won 5 awards, including the High Excellence Acting Award, the Teenage Star Award, Most Popular Actor Award, Best Couple Award, and the Best Dressed Award. Moreover, this past January 30, the actor appeared on the Chinese CCTVNew Year Gala,” the first Korean actor to do so, and recorded the highest viewer ratings for the show. 

It doesn’t stop there. In China, the actor has become the model for famous car, shopping mall, and cosmetic brands, among others, and in Korea, the actor is said to be worth over 10,000,000,000 ($9.34 million), even being called the ’$9 million man.’ 

Lee Min Ho’s agency Starhaus Entertainment said to TV Daily, “The ’$9 million man’ is a little bit abstract, but as it reflects his [Lee Min Ho’s] popularity both in Korea and abroad, we are very thankful. In mid-April, Lee Min Ho will start filming for a new movie. We’ll return everyone’s love with some great work.” Lee Min Ho’s new movie, “Gangnam Blues,” is a new work by Director Yoo Ha, who also worked on movies such as “Once Upon a Time in High School,” “Frozen Flower,” and “A Dirty Carnival.” “Gangnam Blues” is a noir film set in the 1970s about the political power and conspiracies in the midst of the Gangnam real estate development.