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[Obituary] Korean American entertainer Johnny Yune dies at 84

Comedian Johnny Yune (Yonhap)
Comedian Johnny Yune (Yonhap)

Comedian Johnny Yune, born as Yoon Jong-seung, died in Los Angeles at the age of 84 on Sunday.

Born in Eumseong, North Chungcheong Province, in 1936, Yune graduated from Sungdong High School in central Seoul, before attending Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio. He became a US citizen in 1978.

Yune made his film debut in 1979’s “Meteor” under the stage name of Jon Yune, and built up his career as a standup comedian in the 1980s.

The Korean American star rose to stardom, appearing on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” on NBC. He proved one of the most popular guests, coming on the late-night show 34 times in the 1970s and ‘80s.

Yune later hosted KBS2’s “The Johnny Yune Show,” the first American-style talk show on Korean television, from 1989-1990. With the show’s success, similar talk shows became common in the Korean small-screen scene.

Yune recovered his Korean citizenship in 2013. The following year, he was appointed auditor of the Korea Tourism Organization, though he was mired in controversy as to his qualification. Before the end of his term, he collapsed from a brain hemorrhage in 2016 and returned to the US for treatment.

Yune spent his later years at a care center in Los Angeles. He suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. He was admitted to Alhambra Hospital Medical Center near Los Angeles on Wednesday, but was unable to recover.

Following the deceased’s wishes, Yune’s body will be donated to the University of California-Irvine Medical Center.

By Im Eun-byel (