Veteran South Korean Actor Namkoong Won Passes Away at 90

SEOUL—Namkoong Won, a celebrated actor known for his pivotal role in the South Korean film industry during the 1960s and 1970s, died on Monday at a hospital, his family confirmed. He was 90 years old. Namkoong, who had been undergoing treatment for lung cancer for an extended period at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, leaves behind a legacy marked by his significant contributions to the cinematic arts.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Namkoong Won's illustrious career began with his debut in "When the Night Comes Again" (1959). He rose to prominence with standout roles in "The Red Scarf" (1964) and "Woman of Fire" (1971), ultimately appearing in a total of 345 films. His final appearance was in "L'amour" (1999). Often referred to as the "Gregory Peck of Korea" due to his western and handsome appearance, Namkoong was a leading figure among the era's most popular actors, a group that included Shin Seong-il, Shin Young-kyun, and Choi Moo-ryong.

During his career, Namkoong Won was recognized with several major film awards, securing accolades such as the best supporting actor at the Buil Film Awards, the popular star award at the Blue Dragon Awards, and best actor at the Daejong Film Awards. In 2016, in acknowledgment of his extensive contribution to the development of South Korea's pop culture, he was awarded the Eungwan Order of Cultural Merit, the nation's second-highest class of cultural decoration.

Namkoong Won, whose original Korean name is Hong Gyeong-il, is survived by his wife, son, and two daughters. He is also the father of Hong Jung-wook, a former lawmaker and the founder and chairman of the plant-based food producer Organica. His passing marks the end of an era for the South Korean entertainment industry, leaving behind a rich tapestry of cinematic history that will continue to inspire future generations.

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