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Thursday, 31 July 2014

Koihime Musou Girls and Famous Koreans, Part XXV: Yan Yan, Uhm Jung-hwa and Uhm Tae-woong - Here comes Ane-Otouto Complex!

In this 25th instalment of Koihime Musou Girls and Famous Koreans, we will reveal the identity of two celebrity siblings which are Uhm Jung-hwa and Uhm Tae-woong. They are originated from Jecheon City, Northern Chungcheong Province and lost their father, Uhm Jin-ok (엄진옥), a music teacher who died in a motorcycle accident. Both of them are the members of Yeongwol Uhm Clan (영월 엄씨/寧越嚴氏), a clan which is originated from Yeongwol County, Gangwon Province. The stories of two siblings will separate into two sub-posts. 

About Uhm Jung-hwa, Uhm Tae-woong's second sister
Uhm Jung-hwa (Hangul/Hanja/Romanization: 엄정화/嚴正化/Eom Jeong-hwa; born August 17, 1969) is a South Korean Korean pop singer and actress. Uhm began her career as a chorus member of MBC, one of the three major South Korean broadcasting companies, in 1987 To 1990. She made her film debut in the 1991 To 1994 film Marriage Story and released her first album Sorrowful Secret, in 1993 on Samsung Music. Considered to be one of the most influential women and the evergreen in the Korean entertainment industry, many Korean female artists recognise her as a role model.

She was born as the second child of Yoo Gyeong-sook (유경숙) and Uhm Jin-ok, along with her siblings: Eldest sister Uhm Jung-hye (엄정혜), youngest sister Uhm Jung-sun (엄정선) and younger-only brother Uhm Tae-woong (엄태웅). Following her father's death, her family struggled with financial difficulties.

Uhm Jung Hwa officially debuted as a singer in 1993 with her first album Sorrowful Secret. By the mid-90s she established herself as one of the top Korean female singers and entertainers with a series of hit singles: Sad Expectation (Hangul: 슬픈 기대), A Love Permitted Only by Heaven (하늘만 허락한 사랑), Betrayal of the Rose (배반의 장미), and Tell Me (말해줘 with Jinusean). Jung Hwa's fourth album, Invitation, became one of the highest selling albums of the year and received positive reviews from critics and fans. She released two of her most recognizable singles of her career, Poison and Invitation (초대). She remained successful the following year, in 1999, with her fifth album 005.1999.06, which sold well over 900,000 copies. It remains one of the best selling albums by a female artist and cemented her status as the "Queen of Korean Pop" in South Korea.

During the 2000s, Uhm Jung-hwa began to focus more on her acting career and committed her self to taking a variety of acting roles. She also began to pursue and experiment with different musical genres, in particular electronica. In 2004, she released her double cd Self Control, which featured songs composed by Jung Jae Hyung, Fractal and Roller Coaster. Music critics praised UJH for her ability to re-invent her image and sound.

After a two year break from the music scene, she released her ninth studio album Prestige. Throughout the year she released two singles: "Come 2 Me" and "Wind Song" (바람의노래) each enjoyed positive critical reception. In early 2007 she won a Korean Music Award for best electronic dance record.

In the summer of 2008 she released her first EP titled "D.I.S.C.O" with help from long time friend Yang Hyun-suk of YG Entertainment. The lead single "D.I.S.C.O" featured popular boy band member T.O.P from the group Big Bang. The EP was very successful and was further promoted by the digital single "D.I.S.C.O PT.2" which was a remix version of "D.I.S.C.O" and featured G-Dragon, the leader of Big Bang.

Uhm Jung-hwa has established herself as one of Korea's top actresses. She is known for her roles in the films Marriage Is a Crazy Thing, Singles, Princess Aurora, Dancing Queen and Haeundae, which became one of the highest grossing movies in Korea. She has won 2 Baeksang Arts Awards for Best Actress, in 2002 for Marriage Is a Crazy Thing and again in 2012 for Dancing Queen.

Uhm Jung-hwa launched her new clothing & lingerie line, ‘Corner Suite‘ and ‘ZHUM in New York‘, which made 10 million USD within 3 months of its release. ‘Corner Suite’ became an instant hit when the line debuted on online markets. The line immediately sold out. Future plans include putting her line of clothes on more home shopping channels, as the demand for it is great.

She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer but fully recovered after surgery in May 2010. Uhm said she felt a little afraid leading up to the surgery, but rather than being discouraged by the pain she was experiencing, she made up her mind to dedicate herself to helping others by inspiring them. "I want to use my talent and influence in a meaningful way," she said.

About Uhm Tae-woong, Uhm Jung-hwa's youngest brother
Uhm Tae-woong (Hangul/Hanja: 엄태웅/嚴泰雄; born April 5, 1974) is a South Korean actor. He made his acting debut in 1998, but initially struggled to emerge from under the shadow of his older sister, popular singer-actress Uhm Jung-hwa. After several years of bit parts, supporting roles, and work in one-act dramas, Uhm began to gain recognition after his villainous turn in the romantic comedy Delightful Girl Choon-Hyang. In 2005, he made his breakthrough in the critically acclaimed Resurrection, followed by another revenge-themed series The Devil in 2007. Since then, he has starred in diverse leading roles on film and television, notably in Forever the Moment, Chaw, Cyrano Agency, Architecture 101, Man from the Equator and The Blade and Petal.

Uhm's father was a public school music teacher who died from a motorcycle accident when Uhm's mother was pregnant with him. After his father's death, his family (consisting of his mother, three older sisters, and Uhm as the youngest) faced serious financial problems. His second older sister Uhm Jung-hwa entered show business as a pop singer and released her first album in 1993 (earning the label "Madonna of Korea"); she later turned to acting.

On the November 4, 2012 episode of 1 Night 2 Days, Uhm made the surprise announcement that he was engaged to ballerina Yoon Hye-jin, and that they are expecting their first child. The daughter of veteran actor Yoon Il-bong and niece of veteran actor Yoo Dong-geun, Yoon was a principal dancer with the Korea National Ballet before she moved to the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. They were introduced by Uhm's older sister Uhm Jung-hwa. The couple wed on January 9, 2013 at Conrad Hotel Seoul. Their daughter, Uhm Ji-On, was born on June 18, 2013.

He has stated that he doesn't have a particular music genre he is into and he liked Sanulrim, Hot Potato, Lucid Fall, Nell (band), and Hwang Bo-ryung. Uhm Tae Woong has a road dedicated to him in South Korea.

He is very talented in art and drawing and he studied for art college exams when he was in high school. However his crush attended the theater department which led him to join the same department to be close to her. But even after the girl shifted majors, Uhm stayed after having befriended a fellow student who would become his current manager, and began acting in earnest.

He stated that when he was very young he wanted to be a scientist; he then wanted to be an architect. When he was a pre-teenager, he wanted to join Vienna Boys' Choir however, he was afraid that he'd be homesick, he didn't tell anyone about this dream. He wanted to be part of the choir so much that he had dreams about it in which his voice broke during a live performance and he was kicked out. He stated that he used to be in a band with his friends when he was in high school.

Uhm Tae Woong made his debut in 1998 at the age of 24. Until 2003, he struggled a lot due to being "Uhm Jung-hwa's kid brother". He acted in small roles in movies, dramas and music videos. He also acted in musicals.

He stated that during an audition for a role the director told him to "stop trying because in the entertainment business no two people from the same family hit it big and his sister was already one of the most popular celebrities in Korea". Uhm later met that director accidentally a few years later and the director, forgetting what he had told earlier, said that Uhm was "the best actor out there".

In 2003, Uhm acted in Spring Bears Love and in Silmido, the first film to have a box office audience of over 10 million in South Korea, both as supporting characters. During Silmido's filming veteran actors Ahn Sung-gi and Sol Kyung-gu realized his talent and during an interview,Ahn Sung Gi said that Uhm Tae Woong "would turn into a true actor."

He gained lots of praise for his acting in Silmido. Even though, he was only a supporting actor, the viewers had started to search for who the actor was. In 2004, he acted in a movie and a drama and in a few special one episode dramas. He was praised for his acting in Blue Skies of The Jeju Island, for which he won the "Excellence Award, Actor in a Special/One-Act Drama Award".

In 2005, he was casted in drama Delightful Girl Choon-Hyang as the second male lead. With the named drama, he started to have a fanbase. Later the same year, he was casted in drama Resurrection again as the second lead. However, the lead actor Park Yong-woo had to drop due to schedule conflicts. The director, Hong Seong-deok, was thinking about what to do and the only person that came to his mind was Uhm Tae Woong. He casted Uhm after seeing him act as the lead character in his dream.

Uhm Tae Woong's acting in the drama shocked everyone because "it was the kind of acting you would expect from Choi Min Sik or Sol Kyung Gu not from a young actor who had acted in just a few dramas,movies in supporting roles." His fans gave him the nickname "Uhm Force" which was derived from Star Wars. He got Excellence Actor Award at the KBS Drama Awards for his acting and he was nominated as the Best Actor in TV at Baeksang Art Awards.

In 2006, he was casted in two dramas. In Wolf he was casted alongside Han Ji-min who was his co-star in Resurrection. However, an accident occurred on set which caused Han Ji Min and Eric Mun to be hospitalized. The drama was delayed for a long time which caused it to be cancelled.

The other drama, Stranger Than Paradise, Uhm acted as a gang member manager who fell in love with his client. The drama told the story of two brothers falling in love with a singer. That year, he acted in movie, Family Ties, in which he was a reckless young man who got married to a woman 20 years his senior. 

In 2007, Uhm, reunited with his Resurrection director in The Devil. Both the dramas are revenge dramas. The director, told a similar story from different perspectives. In Resurrection, the main plot showed how the hero got revenge from the villains. However, in The Devil, the plot showed an antagonist sending death messages to the hero.Thee hero tried to understand what was happening and what the villains aim was. That same year, he acted in movie, My Love, in which his character was an activist who had traveled and came back to Korea after 6 years in order to meet his ex-girlfriend.

In 2008, he acted only in movies. He was cast in 5 movies. In Forever the Moment, he was a strict trainer, in Sunny he was the heroine's husband who had been sent off to Vietnam. In Iri, he had an ill sister whom he had to take care of. In Handphone (which was released in 2009) he acted as a manager who is threatened by an unknown man. In Chaw (which was also released in 2009), he acted as a policeman who was trying to catch a man eating boar.

In 2009, his two movies which he had acted the previous year, Handphone and Chaw were released. He was casted in his first historical drama, Queen Seondeok, as the great general Kim Yu-Shin. The same year he was designated as the goodwill ambassador of makgeolli which is a traditional Korean alcoholic beverage.

In 2010, he acted in the movie Cyrano Agency as an actor turned dating coach who helped people to make the ones they love fall in love with them. However, everything gets twisted when the woman that his client was to date is his ex-girlfriend whom he is not over. The same year, he acted in Dr. Champ, as a former athletic who had been injured and worked as a doctor in the Olympic Village.

In March 2011, Uhm joined the variety show 1 Night 2 Days as one of the regular members. He shocked viewers with his shy, introverted, quiet and dorky character. He and Kim Ha-neul who appeared as a guest on the show were chosen the "best fit entertainers" by the netizens. He was the second on the list of celebrities who would make perfect parents chosen by the netizens. (The male celebrity who was in the first place was Lee Seung-gi.)

Uhm was casted in 3 movies in 2011. In SIU, he acted as a police officer who tried to solve a mysterious murder. In Never Ending Story (which was released in 2012) he acted as a terminal ill man who was preparing for his last days with another terminal ill woman. In Architecture 101 (which was also released in 2012), he acted as an architect who built his first love's house.

In 2012, Uhm was cast in Man from the Equator, a revenge drama which is about a young boy whose father's killed and he ends up blind. He grows up and he has to get revenge from the villains. The drama's rating weren't high at the beginning when the story told about the young actors. From Uhm's first appearance, the drama started to get high ratings and after a couple of episodes, the drama started to get the highest rating in of the night.

Uhm's acting was praised and he got Excellence Award, Actor in a Mid-length Drama at the KBS Drama Awards. He was also chosen as the Actor of the Year by 150 directors from 3 broadcasting systems. He was nominated as the Best Actor in TV at the Baeksang Art Awards.

Later that year, he reunited with Chaw's director and as casted in The Dog. However, the shooting got delayed for several times which led Uhm and fellow actress Han Ye-seul to drop off. In late 2012, he was casted in the Autobiography of Yi Sun Shin in which he was going to act as the title character. The drama was supposed to air in June, however, nobody but Uhm was casted until May. The drama eventually got cancelled.

In 2013, he made a cameo appearance in 7th Grade Civil Servant in order to support his 1 Night 2 Days costar Joo Won. He was casted in Top Star in which he acted as a manager of a top star who wishes to be one himself. He becomes one due to a twist but he changes and he turns into a totally different person. The movie is veteran actor Park Joong-hoon's directorial debut. Park Joong Hoon praised Uhm's acting and said "I think that Uhm Tae Woong is an amazing actor and it was an honor working with him."

In March 2013, Uhm and his Architecture 101 costar Han Ga-in were chosen as Model Tax Payers and were given medals (along with trot singer Tae Jin-ah) by the Korean National Tax Service for paying their taxes diligently. Uhm and Han were chosen as goodwill ambassadors of the Korean National Tax Service.

In May 2013, he was casted in drama The Blade and Petal as the illegitimate son of Korean dictator Yeon Gaesomun. It tells the forbidden love story of Yeon Gaesomun's illegitimate son and the princess whose father,the king, was murdered by Yeon.

On 11 November 2013, it was confirmed that Uhm had left the shown 1 Night 2 Days along with Sung Shi Kyung, Yoo Hae Jin and Lee Soo Geun. In November 2013, he was cast in Can We Love as a bad tempered and conceited award-winning and internationally famous director who falls in love with a divorced woman.

In January 2014, Uhm's new drama Can We Love started to air. Uhm acted as a very talented and famous director Oh Kyung Soo who received awards at Cannes. Kyung Soo is a perfectionist, bad tempered but funny and sensitive deep inside.

After many years as a struggling actor, Uhm started receiving positive notices after playing a dying man in the acclaimed Drama City episode Blue Skies of Jeju Island. This led to his well-received turn as a villain in the romantic comedy Delightful Girl Choon-Hyang. His memorable lead performances in the noir dramas Resurrection and The Devil, in which he expressed a soul conflicted between the good and bad, between sin and punishment, increased his popularity and he gained the nickname "the Uhm force" among fans.

No longer known as simply singer-actress Uhm Jung-hwa's kid brother, he began building an impressive acting resume. His roles have all displayed his acting prowess and versatility: an irresponsible young man who falls in love with a woman twenty years his senior in Family Ties, a cold elite coach for the National Women's Handball Team in Forever the Moment, a celebrity manager who is driven to the extremes in Handphone, a newly married Korean soldier conscripted during the Vietnam War in Sunny, a policeman battling with a mutant boar in Chaw, Silla general Kim Yushin in Queen Seondeok, a cranky sports medicine doctor in Dr. Champ, a theater actor-turned-dating coach in Cyrano Agency, one half of a quirky terminally ill couple in Never Ending Story, an architect building his first love's house in Architecture 101, and a blind revenge seeker in Man from the Equator. In 2011 he joined the hit reality show 1 Night 2 Days, showing audiences the dorky personality behind his intense screen persona.

In actor Park Joong-hoon's directorial debut Top Star, Uhm was cast in the lead role of a manager who dreams of becoming an actor. For his next television series The Blade and Petal, Uhm reunited with Kim Yong-soo who previously directed Man from the Equator, in a period drama about a forbidden love set in Goguryeo.