Will Yun Lee
March 22, 1971
Arlington, Virginia, USA
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An Asian-American actor with Korean roots, Will Yun Lee is most readily recognizable for his villainous turns in Hollywood movies. The son of a Tae Kwon Do expert, Lee trained in martial arts during his youth. After cutting his teeth on a few television guest spots, Lee had his big break as a key supporting character in the comic-book-based TV movie "Witchblade" (TNT, 2000) and reprised his role in the series (TNT, 2001-02). A bad-guy turn in the Bond film "Die Another Day" (2002) raised Lee's profile significantly, and soon he was alternating movie and TV parts, notably going on to play formidable adversaries in the big-budget Marvel Comics adaptations "Elektra" (2005) and "The Wolverine" (2013).
Born in Virginia and raised largely in California, Lee trained under his father, a Tae Kwon Do expert, as a child. Inspired by Bruce Lee, he began to win minor TV parts after studying at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. Paying his dues with bit roles, Lee finally garnered the attention of producers when he was cast as Detective Danny Woo in the fantasy/action television movie "Witchblade," the adaptation of a popular comic book. The following year, he returned when the film was extended into a series, with Lee playing the dutiful police investigator for more than 20 episodes.
In 2002, Lee made the leap to major Hollywood fare when he portrayed a scheming North Korean colonel in the 007 adventure "Die Another Day," starring Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry. This film placed him on a solid trajectory to play big-screen villains, as he did in the martial arts-oriented flop "Elektra." But, on television, he found more nuanced characters, particularly in his stints on the fast-paced (and short-lived) dramas "Thief" (FX, 2006) and "Bionic Woman" (NBC, 2007). Occasionally turning up as gang informant Sang Min on the crime show "Hawaii Five-0" (CBS, 2010- ), Lee found further success in movies, appearing as another ruthless North Korean military man in the clunky remake of the action flick "Red Dawn" (2012) and as the imposing Silver Samurai in the "X-Men" spin-off "The Wolverine" (2013), which featured him going head-to-head with Hugh Jackman's fierce fan-favorite comic-book hero.