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(LEAD) Iconic S. Korean actress Yun Jung-hee dies in Paris at 79

Movies 11:48 January 20, 2023

(ATTN: REVISES headline; UPDATES with more details from fourth para, minor edits; ADDS photo)
By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, Jan. 20 (Yonhap) -- Iconic South Korean actress Yun Jung-hee, who had long suffered Alzheimer's disease, has died in France at the age of 79.

She died in Paris on Thursday (local time), a movie industry official said. Her family did not release an official statement.

Born in 1944 in the southeastern port city of Busan, Yun rose to stardom with her debut film, "Sorrowful Youth" (1967), which she was cast for through an audition while attending Chosun University.

Korean actress Yun Jung-hee speaks during a special exhibition on her works at the Korea Flim Archive in Seoul, in this file photo taken Sept. 22, 2016. (Yonhap)

Korean actress Yun Jung-hee speaks during a special exhibition on her works at the Korea Flim Archive in Seoul, in this file photo taken Sept. 22, 2016. (Yonhap)

Yun is considered a prominent figure in Korean cinema with a prolific, acclaimed career, named as one of a "troika" of actresses, along with Moon Hee and Nam Jeong-im, in the 1960s.

The actress captured the audience and critics alike with a wide range of acting, appearing in some 280 works and earning over 20 best actress awards at domestic ceremonies.

She starred in a number of movies from the 1960s to 1980s, and is best known for "Mist" (1967), "Longing in Every Heart" (1967), "An Old Potter" (1969) and "A Shaman's Story" (1972).

She won the best actress prize from the Blue Dragon Film Awards, one of Korea's major film honors, for "Oyster Village" (1972), which was nominated for a Golden Bear at the 22nd Berlin International Film Festival.

Her 1981 work "Liberal Wife '81" was the most-watched movie of the year.

Leaving behind "Manmubang" in 1994, Yun disappeared from the public view as she moved to France with her husband, renowned pianist Paik Kun-woo, and a daughter.

The poster of a special exhibition on South Korean actress Yun Jung-hee is seen in this photo provided by Korea Film Archives on Sept. 9, 2016. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The poster of a special exhibition on South Korean actress Yun Jung-hee is seen in this photo provided by Korea Film Archives on Sept. 9, 2016. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

In 2010, she broke the long silence and returned to the big screen for Lee Chang-dong's film "Poetry," which won the best screen play at the Cannes Film Festival of the year.

While battling Alzheimer's disease, she played a woman in her 60s who develops a belated interest in poetry and grabbed the best actress honors at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, an Australian film and culture award ceremony, and the Daejong Film Awards.

During her career, the renowned actress served as a jury member at the Montreal World Film Festival in 1995, Mumbai Film Festival in 2010, Dinard Festival of British Cinema and Blue Dragon Film Awards, one of the top awards in South Korea, in 2016.

Despite her decorated career, Yun's personal life received unwanted media spotlight in later years amid a legal battle surrounding legal guardianship between her family and siblings.

In 2019, Yun's siblings accused Yun's husband and daughter of neglecting the ill actress, and claimed legal guardianship of her in France.

Yun's daughter, Paik Jin-hee, asked a Korean court to designate her as Yun's legal guardian in Korea and won the case in 2021, but her siblings appealed the case. With Yun's death, the appeal case is expected to be dismissed.

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(LEAD) Iconic S. Korean actress Yun Jung-hee dies in Paris at 79 - 4

ejkim@yna.co.kr
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