With picture-perfect good looks and a genuinely warm and personable smile, it's little wonder that actor Rick Yune began his career in front of the camera as a model. And though the former stock trader may not have anticipated an entertainment career while studying at Philadelphia's Wharton School of Business, his subsequent training at the Actor's Studio found him developing his acting skills and embarking on a successful Hollywood run. Born in Washington, DC, in August 1971, Yune's early love of tae kwon do found the future actor qualifying for the Olympics at the age of 19. Following his graduation from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994, he pursued a career in business by attending Wharton. It was there that he was discovered by an agent while on his way to a job interview, which led to him becoming the first Asian model to work for Versace and Polo Sports. With Yune's comfort level and confidence in front of the camera steadily increasing, it wasn't long before the successful model was considering an acting career. Following years at the Actor's Studio, he began landing small television roles before making a transition to feature films with Snow Falling on Cedars (1999). Although his role was a fairly substantial one, it was his next film, The Fast and the Furious (2001), that found the late-blooming actor gaining widespread recognition in Hollywood, which later worked to Yune's advantage when he went toe-to-toe with James Bond in Die Another Day.
Biography by Jason Buchanan
- Growing up in the Washington, D.C., area, was a Golden Gloves boxer and studied martial arts as a youngster, qualifying for the U.S. Olympic trials in tae kwon do at 19.
- While doing an internship on Wall Street during his years at Penn, was discovered by a modeling agency, which led to appearing in advertisements for Versace and Ralph Lauren.
- Spent several years after college working as a hedge-fund trader but taking acting classes on the side, eventually landing a leading role in the film Snow Falling on Cedars (1999), an adaptation of David Guterson's 1994 post-World War II novel.
- In 2002, was named People magazine's Sexiest Villain for playing the diamond-faced Zao opposite Pierce Brosnan's James Bond in Die Another Day (2002).
- Is a member of the International Honorary Board of the Center for Global Dialogue and Cooperation.