Veteran Actor Byun Hee Bong Passes Away At The Age Of 81

He appeared in many of Bong Joon Ho’s films.

A major star in the Korean entertainment industry has passed away.

It was reported that veteran actor Byun Hee Bong passed away on September 18 at the age of 81. Earlier, Byun Hee Bong had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and received a clean bill of health after undergoing treatment, but it appears that the cancer recurred, leading to his passing.

Actor Byun Hee Bong | No Cut News

Byun Hee Bong debuted as a voice actor in MBC‘s second open recruitment in 1966 and later expanded his career as an actor, working in film and television for over 50 years.

Actor Byun Hee Bong (left) and Song Kang Ho (right) in director Bong Joon Ho’s “Memories of Murder” | CJ Entertainment

In 2018, Byun Hee Bong shared on the tvN variety show What About My Age that when he got an offer to act in the famous K-Drama Mr. Sunshine, he decided to undergo a healthy check to ensure he was healthy. He received a pancreatic cancer diagnosis through this health check and underwent treatment for a year.

Actors Byun Hee Bong, Song Kang Ho, and Paek Hae Il (left to right) in “The Host” | Showbox Entertainment

He expressed his gratitude to the Mr. Sunshine production team for being the instigator of his getting a healthy check.

After being cast, I thought that I should take care of my health. There’s still a place for me to be of use. So, I went for a health checkup… If it wasn’t for that, it would have been the end. It was cancer. If I hadn’t done the health checkup at that time and hadn’t been cast, I wouldn’t be here today.

— Byun Hee Bong in 2018

Actor Byun Hee Bong received the Silver Culture Medal at the 2020 Korea Popular Culture and Arts Awards. | Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism

Byun Hee Bong was recognized for his talent in many productions and acted in many of director Bong Joon Ho‘s films, including the director’s 2000 debut film Barking Dogs Never BiteMemories of Murder (2003), The Host (2006), and Okja (2016).

Director Bong Joon Ho (left) and Byun Hee Bong (right) | Star News
Source: Ilgan Sports, Yonhap News and RNX News