Kim Hae-sook as the beloved halmoni Mrs. Choi in “Start-up.” (tvN)

There’s no denying that “Start-Up” halmoni (grandmother) Kim Hae-sook steals the show every time she has an emotional scene with the drama’s leads. From Mrs. Choi to the perennial mother in the “Endless Love” series, we rounded up some of Kim Hae-sook’s memorable roles.

‘Start-up’ Halmoni a.k.a. Mrs. Choi

Since episode 1 of “Start-Up,” halmoni a.k.a. Mrs. Choi has never failed to bring out the tears with her effortless acting. Her beautiful heart-wrenching scenes with Han Ji-pyeong (Kim Seon-ho) are enough to make you hold on to this drama. Some might even say that their chemistry outperforms that of the main leads. Team Ji-pyeong and halmoni, anyone?

‘The Nation’s Mother’

The 64-year-old veteran actress has over a hundred dramas and films under her belt in over four decades. But it was Kim Hae-sook’s maternal roles in popular K-dramas that have endeared her to many and earned her the moniker of “The Nation’s Mother.”

Kim Hae-sook played mother roles in all four dramas in the “Endless Love” series, namely “Autumn in My Heart,” “Winter Sonata,” “Summer Scent,” and “Spring Waltz.”

In “Autumn in My Heart,” she played the role of Yoo Eun-suh’s (Song Hye-kyo/Moon Geun-young) real mother.  Because of a baby switching incident, Yoon Eun-suh grows up with a wealthy family. She later on finds out that her real mother is the poor widow Mrs. Choi (Kim Hae-sook).

Kim Hae-sook has played the poor mom, the evil mother-in-law, as well as the wealthy ‘eomma’ in dramas like “Hospital Playlist” and “Pinocchio.” In an interview for The Korea Times, Kim Hae-sook talked about doing her best to make the roles different from each other. That spells dedication for someone who has played mother roles for over 50 times.

Award Winning Actress

Before playing the role of our favorite halmoni in “Start-Up,” Kim Hae-sook also starred in several award-winning films.

In 2009, she took home multiple best supporting actress awards for her role in the horror film “Thirst.” Kim Hae-sook and the rest of the cast attended the prestigious Cannes Film Festival where the film received the Jury Award.

If you haven’t seen the film already, you may be shocked to see Kim Hae-sook in another award-winning role in “The Thieves.” This time she’s a con-artist who falls for another thief played by Chinese actor Simon Yam. 

More recently, she has received best actress awards for her roles in the drama “Mother of Mine” and the film “Herstory.”

It seems like our favorite “Start-Up” halmoni is aging like fine wine and we hope to see more of her in the future.

Myla Torres-Eder

Myla writes news stories for a living and watches K-dramas for leisure. She enjoys doing both for Hallyudorama.

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