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Friday, 16 October 2015

Koihime Musou Girls and Famous Koreans, LARGE Edition! (Part XII): Gan Ning and Kam Woo-sung

Kam Woo-sung (Hangul/Hanja/Romanization: 감우성/甘宇成/Gam Useong; born October 1st 1970 in Okcheon County, Northern Chungcheong Province) is a South Korean actor. He is best known for his portrayal of a court jester serving a despotic king in the hit period film King and the Clown. He is a member of Hoesan Kam Clan (회산 감씨/檜山甘氏), a clan which is originated from the Unified City of Changwon, Southern Gyeongsang Province.

Kam Woo-sung majored in Oriental painting at the Seoul National University, then made his acting debut in the 1991 television drama Our Paradise. Through his roles on TV in the following decade, Kam became known for playing gentle and intellectual upper-middle class men, notably in Hyun-jung, I Love You. Then in 2002, he successfully subverted this image in his first film, the critically acclaimed Marriage Is a Crazy Thing, in which he played a commitment-phobic professor having a passionate affair.

More characters followed in a variety of genres: a man trapped in a confusing and haunting sequence of events in Song Il-gon's mystery film Spider Forest; the PTSD-afflicted leader of a South Korean squadron in Vietnam who looks into the mysterious disappearance of 18 soldiers in the horror thriller R-Point; and a son struggling to fake Korea's reunification to fulfill an ailing father's wish in the comedy A Bold Family.

In late 2005, Kam reached a turning point in his 15-year career when he starred in King and the Clown. Jang Hyuk was originally cast in the leading role of a court jester during the reign of Joseon Dynasty tyrant King Yeonsan, but after Jang was implicated in a draft-dodging scandal, Kam was brought in to replace him. He trained extensively over two months in the art of Korean traditional performance, including street opera, and acrobatic, rope and mask dances. The low-budget film unexpectedly broke box office records to become (at the time) the highest grossing Korean film of all time. Critics praised Kam's "powerful energy and wit," and his performance garnered acting recognition, including Best Actor at the 2006 Grand Bell Awards.

He returned to television in Alone in Love (2006), which was lauded for its realistic portrayal of a divorced couple. Back on the big screen, Kam reunited with previous A Bold Family costar (and close friend in real life) Kim Su-ro in Big Bang (2007), followed by the ensemble romantic comedy My Love and crime thriller The Outlaw (2010). Kam was listed as one of the highest paid entertainers on the KBS network in 2011, earning ₩440 million for playing King Geunchogo of Baekje in the 60-episode series The King of Legend: King Geunchogo.