The Korea Herald


National Academy of Arts honors veteran actress Choi Eun-hee


Published : Sept. 1, 2011 - 19:22

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Choi Eun-hee Choi Eun-hee

Veteran actress Choi Eun-hee has been selected as one of the three recipients of the 56th National Academy of Arts award this year, the institution announced Thursday.

The 81-year-old started her film career in 1947 and led the Shin Film company together with her husband and the acclaimed director Shin Sang-ok. Some of her significant work includes: “The Houseguest and My Mother” (1961); “Seong Chun-hyang” (1961); “Red Scarf” (1964); and “Salt” (1985).

She and Shin were kidnapped to North Korea on orders from Kim Jong-il in 1978 and were forced to produce propaganda films during their stay there. The couple escaped the communist country in 1986 by fleeing to the U.S. embassy while travelling in Vienna, Austria. 

She won the best actress prize at the Moscow International Film Festival in 1985 for her performance in the film “Sogum” (Salt) which she and her husband produced together in North Korea. She has received numerous honorary awards from various film awards and cultural organizations.

Sharing the honor are poet Kim Gyu-dong and painter Han Mook.

Hosted by the National Academy of Arts, the award has been honoring notable figures in the field who have made exceptional contributions to the development of Korean art since 1955. So far, a total of 194 artists in various fields ― including literature, fine art, music, dance, performing and cinematic art ― have received the honor.

The official award ceremony will be held on Sept. 5 at the institution in southern Seoul.

By Claire Lee (