You might know Lee Sang Yoon best from his hilarious stint on the variety show All The Butlers, but he is first and foremost a talented leading man with a colorful list of K-dramas under his belt. He’s also starred in movies and performed in musicals. Is there anything Sang Yoon can’t do? This handsome actor turns 40 (or 41 in Korean age) on August 15, and what better way to celebrate his birthday than a marathon of his shows this weekend? We’ve picked some of his most memorable K-dramas below. Which one’s your favorite?
1. My Daughter Seo Young (2012-2013)
Sang Yoon started his TV career in 2007, but it wasn’t until he starred in this hit drama that he became more well-known. My Daughter Seo Young tells the story of twins Seo Young (Lee Bo Young) and Sang Woo (Park Hae Jin), and the difficult life they lead due to the wrongdoings of their father, Sam Jae (Chun Ho Jin). In an effort to fund her studies and get away from her father, Seo Young becomes a live-in tutor for the rich Kang family. Sang Yoon plays the Kang family’s eldest son, Woo Jae, who’s just come back from the military. When he enters the household again, he meets Seo Young, and falls for her.
2. Angel Eyes (2014)
Sang Yoon ventures into the medical melodrama genre with Angel Eyes. He plays the older version of Park Dong Joo, the son of a firefighter, who falls in love with a blind girl named Yoon Soo Wan in their teens. We won’t spoil the drama for you, but let’s just say a tragic turn of events leads our protagonists to part, with Dong Joo leaving for the States and Soo Wan getting eye surgery. Fast-forward to 12 years later, Dong Joo’s back in Korea as surgeon Dylan Park. He crosses paths with Soo Wan (Ku Hye Sun), who is now a paramedic, but she doesn’t recognize him. Will they ever discover each other again?
3. Liar Game (2014)
Sang Yoon shows us just how versatile he can be as a calculating ex-con in his next drama, a thriller called Liar Game. Based on the Japanese manga of the same name, the plot revolves around the psychological survival reality show The Liar Game, where contestants have to do everything in their power to con each other and win a grand prize of 10 billion won. College student Nam Da Jung (Kim So Eun) enters the game because of crippling debts. Sang Yoon plays the enigmatic Ha Woo Jin, a former psychology professor fresh out of jail, who becomes Da Jung’s helper on the show.
4. Second 20s (2015)
This cute rom-com is surprisingly full of wisdom. It tells the story of 38-year-old Ha No Ra (Choi Ji Woo) who finds out she has a terminal illness. She was a member of the dance club who had to quit high school after getting pregnant, so she never got to go to uni. Emboldened by her situation, No Ra enrolls as a college freshman, where she becomes classmates with her own son. Sang Yoon plays Cha Hyun Seok, a theater arts professor. He used to like No Ra back in high school, and now, they have to see each other often again at uni.
5. On The Way To The Airport (2016)
This slow-burn melo-romance revolves around couples going through marriage trouble. Flight attendant Soo Ah (Kim Ha Neul) has to deal with her pilot husband’s (Shin Sung Rok) rigid control over her and her daughter’s lives. Meanwhile, professor Do Woo (Sang Yoon) married a traditional crafts master (Jang Hee Jin) with a daughter. He loves his stepdaughter and has a better relationship with her than her mom. Soo Ah and Do Woo’s lives become interconnected when their daughters become best friends in school abroad. When a tragic accident happens, they start becoming closer.
6. Whisper (2017)
Sang Yoon reunites with Lee Bo Young in this fast-paced legal thriller that makes us remember just how good their chemistry is together. In Whisper, Sang Yoon plays Lee Dong Joon, a judge famous for being kind, fair, and honest. But when he’s pressured to give a guilty verdict to an innocent man in exchange for keeping his job, he has a tough choice to make. Bo Young plays Shin Young Joo, a police section chief, whose father gets convicted for a murder he didn’t commit. She vows to get revenge on Dong Joon, the man responsible for the verdict, and clear her father’s name.
7. About Time (2018)
We love a good fantasy romance, and this one adds a heartbreaking component to the story that has us all up in our feelings. When Choi Michaela (Lee Sung Kyung) looks at other people, she can see timers counting down how long they have left to live. The worst part is she can also see her own. Sang Yoon plays grumpy Lee Do Ha, the son of a chaebol. When Michaela meets him, she soon realizes that her timer stops when they’re together, so she decides she’ll do everything in her power to stay beside him.
8. VIP (2019)
In this oddly beguiling mystery drama, Na Jeong Seon (Jang Na Ra), who works at Sung Un Department Store, gets an anonymous text telling her that her husband is having an affair. They’re colleagues at the department store, so Jeong Seon starts investigating Seong Joon and the women he interacts with, looking for clues. She ends up uncovering more than she bargained for. Sang Yoon plays hubby Park Seong Joon, team leader of the VIP Management Team at the store. He won an Excellence Award for his role.
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