Red Scarf actor Namkoong Won passes away at the age of 89 after a long battle with lung cancer

The Gregory Peck of Korea, Namkoong Won passed away at the age of 89 due to old age and a prolonged battle with lung cancer.

Updated on Feb 05, 2024  |  07:09 PM IST |  45.7K
Soo Sung Cinema Corporation
L'Amour: courtesy of Soo Sung Cinema Corporation
Key Highlight
  • Namkoong Won’s last appearance was a supporting role in Scent of Woman
  • Namkoong Won had an extensive filmography of 345 films

The film fraternity bids farewell to Namkoong Won, the legendary actor with a career spanning over four decades, making him a prominent figure in the golden age of Korean cinema. At the age of 89, Namkoong Won peacefully passed away at Asan Medical Center in Seoul due to old age, following a prolonged struggle with lung cancer, as confirmed by his family on Monday.

Namkoong Won's journey in film industry

Namkoong Won embarked on his illustrious journey in the film industry with his debut in When the Night Comes Again in 1959. His rapid ascent to stardom was marked by iconic roles in acclaimed films such as Red Scarf1964) and Woman of Fire (1971), solidifying his status as a household name. Boasting an extensive filmography of 345 films, Namkoong Won's cinematic legacy endured until his final appearance in L’Amour (1999). 

L'Amour: courtesy of Soo Sung Cinema Corporation

His most recent project was a supporting role in the 2011 hit romance series Scent of a Woman, marking his first venture into the small screen. Often hailed as the Gregory Peck of Korea for his captivating Western looks and charismatic on-screen presence, he shared the spotlight with legendary contemporaries like Shin Seong Il, Shin Young Kyun, and Choi Moo Ryong. Namkoong Won's contributions to Korean cinema were not only cherished by audiences but also acknowledged by peers and the industry, resulting in accolades such as Best Supporting Actor at the Buil Film Awards, Popular Star Award at the Blue Dragon Awards, and Best Actor at the Daejong Film Awards. 


More about Namkoong Won

Beyond his cinematic triumphs, in 2004, he was honored with the France Hermes Contribution Prize, and in 2016, he was bestowed with the Eungwan Order of Cultural Merit. His impactful involvement in the film industry led to his appointment as the honorary president of the Korean Film Actors Association in 2004, and later in 2013, he assumed the presidency of the Motion Pictures Association of Korea. Concurrently, he was inducted into the National Academy of Arts in the same year.

Namkoong Went on to serve as the honorary chairman of Herald Corp., the publisher of The Korea Herald and Herald Business, until his recent passing. He is survived by his wife Yang Choon Ja, his son Jungwook Hong, who serves as the chairman of Organica and is a former member of the National Assembly and a former chairman of Herald Corp., along with his daughters Hong Sung A, the CEO of Herald Academy, and Hong Nari, a talented violinist.

The funeral will be held discreetly at Asan Medical Centre in Songpa District, Seoul.

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