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27th September 2022

Kang Soo-youn: South Korea Film Icon Dies At 55

Kang Soo-youn: Pioneering South Korean Film Actress Is Dead
Kang Soo-youn: Pioneering South Korean Film Actress Is Dead (Photo via-Yonhap)

Kang Soo-youn, who won South Korea’s first acting award from a Big Three film festival when she took home Best Actress honours at the Venice Film Festival, died Saturday, two days after suffering a cardiac arrest, Deadline reports.

Kang Soo-youn was 55 and her family said she died of a cerebral haemorrhage at 3 PM at a hospital in southern Seoul.

She had been receiving medical treatment at the hospital after falling unconscious at her home Thursday.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the film industry will soon organize a funeral committee led by Kim Dong-ho, former chairperson of the board of the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF).

Born in Seoul in 1966, Kang Soo-youn made her acting debut for local broadcaster TBC at age four, and went on to become a prominent child actor in the country.

At age 21, she reinvented herself as an adult actor, winning the 1987 Best Actress at the Venice International Film Festival for her roles in The Surrogate Womb, directed by Im Kwon-taek. By doing so, she became the first Korean actor to win an acting prize at one of the world’s three most prestigious international film festivals — Cannes, Venice, and Berlin.

Two years later, she took the title role in director Im’s next feature Come, Come, Come Upward (1989) and received the Best Actress award at the Moscow International Film Festival.

In the 1990s, she starred in film hits The Road To Race Track (1991), Blue in You (1992), Go Alone Like Musso’s Horn (1995) and Girl’s Night Out (1998).

Kang’s TV appearances included the coming-of-age drama Diary of High School Student, which aired on KBS from 1983-1986, and the historical political drama Ladies of the Palace (2001) on SBS, in which Kang took the title role. The latter was one of the highest-rated TV series of that year.

From 2015-17, she served as co-executive director of the BIFF.

She was set to resume her film career with “Jung-E,” a Netflix original film directed by Yeon Sang-ho of Train to Busan.

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