The late actress Lee Eun Ju, who was well-known and loved for her roles in Taegukgi and The Scarlet Letter tragically took her life on February 22, 2005. 15 years have passed since that sad day, but she is still remembered by her fans every February.
Lee Eun Ju was found deceased in her home in Bundang-gu, Seoungnam-si, Gyeonggi-do in February 2005. Born in 1980, her short life was brought to an end at the young age of 25 after reportedly suffering from severe depression.
At the time, it was uncommon for a celebrity to die young, particularly in such an extreme way, so her passing made a great impact on the public. A few days prior to her death, Lee attended a graduation ceremony at her alma mater Tangguk University, and was well-received by everyone in attendance. Because of this, many people found it even more difficult to accept her death.
Lee Eun Ju first entered the entertainment world through the Uniform Model Selection Tournament in 1996, which led to her full-fledged acting career in 1997 with KBS‘s drama Start. The SBS drama KAIST, which was broadcast between 1999 and 2000, was a drama about the life, friendship, and hardships of young scientists from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).
MBC‘s Phoenix, broadcast in 2004, was the last drama Lee Eun Ju starred in. She starred alongside actors Lee Seo Jin and Eric (SHINHWA). The drama followed the story of a wealthy divorced woman and a poor man, reversing the economic situation. The drama recorded a high audience rating and led to her winning two awards for her part in it at the MBC Drama Awards—one for Best Couple along with Lee Seo Jin and the Top Excellence Award, Actress.
Her natural talent for acting saw her make appearances in both television and film, showcasing her duality. She starred in the movies Rainbow Trout (1999), Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors (2000), Bungee Jumping of Their Own (2001), and Phoenix (2004). Lee Eun Ju won the Best New Actress award at the 38th Grand Bell Awards for her part in Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, which was directed by Hong Sang Soo.
Lee Eun Ju’s final work was The Scarlet Letter, which was released on October 29, 2004 in South Korea, in which she played the role of Gahee. She sang the theme song “Only When I Sleep”, which attracted more attention to her exceptional talents.
Lee Eun Ju was viewed as an actor who has the superior ability to communicate delicate and excellent emotional expression, as well as create a unique atmosphere compared to actors of the same age, in addition to having the box office successes of Phoenix and Brotherhood under her belt. Fans were shocked when the news of her passing broke in February of the following year, with the realization that they wouldn’t see her in any new works settling in.
Fifteen years after the passing of Lee Eun Ju, everyone still remembers her and her incredible talents.