It's June...and a remembrance of Eun-Ju Lee.
Like a falling star, Eun-Ju Lee was a bright and beautiful presence for a short time.
She rose to fame via perky roles in comedies, and showed great depth in dramas. The pretty South Korean actress seemed able to deal with each new challenge in her career. From teen romance roles to the more difficult parts of a blind woman, a woman dying of cancer, and a reporter carrying a deadly fetus, she worked at an increasingly hectic pace.
The young actress also found herself with such an adoring fan base that she was wanted for TV commercials, endorsing a variety of beauty products.
In many films her screen character suffered and died, and it seemed tough for this increasingly depressed and weary young woman to go home at night and shake off the day's shoot. She had to keep working, apparently taking on the pressures of family debt.
She appeared in "Tae Guk Gi," which was to South Korea what "Gone With the Wind" is to the U.S.A., and starred in "Phoenix" (aka "Firebird") a huge TV soap opera (a 9 DVD disc set). In "The Scarlet Letter" she played a bisexual nightclub singer in a script rife with nudity, violence and gore. Aside from grotesque scenes in which she was blood-spattered and screaming, and a passionate naked love scene in which she seemed to be writhing in agony more than ecstasy, she also had to be convincing as a singer. The film's highlight had her covering theeerie Corrs song "Only When I Sleep."
She chose to sing it in English, which adds a slight touch of humor, as she has the traditional Asian problem with pronouncing an "L" sound. Not long after the film was made, and only weeks after graduating college, Eun-Ju Lee slit her wrists and hanged herself, leaving an apologetic note to her mother.
Not many of her films have had a DVD release in the UK or USA, but you can find some clips of her on bootleg central, YouTube. You may have to type in alternate spellings, as her first name is sometimes written as Eun-Joo or Oon-Joo, and be aware that in South Korea, last names come first. South Korean uploaders will refer to her as Lee Eun-Ju.
She was talented, beautiful, and for as long as it was possible for her, determined and brave.
Eun-Ju Lee covers ONLY WHEN I SLEEP