Soo-Man Lee
Robert Kenney/AP
Korea (South)

S.M. Entertainment

Soo-Man
Lee

Founder

Founder of Korean music behemoth S.M. Entertainment, Lee has been credited as the man who sparked the K-pop industry. Inspired by MTV to launch Korea’s first babyfaced “idol” boy band, H.O.T., he championed upbeat dance music mixed with stylish visuals that had never existed in the country’s pop scene. The group soared, officially launching the “Korean Wave,” a term initially used to describe Chinese fans’ craze for the genre but now expanded to mean the incorporation of Korean culture worldwide. The boom has been followed by successful S.M. acts including Shinhwa, TXVQ, Girls Generation and, its latest phenomena, Exo and NCT. Lee was also an early recruiter of Korean-American and Chinese trainees, which has become an important trend for K-pop to appeal overseas. 

Career

  • S.M. Entertainment
  • S.M. Studio

Education

  • California State University–Northridge (CA, USA)
  • Seoul National University (Korea)

Philanthropy

News from Variety

ESPN's Lee Corso Remembers Burt Reynolds, 'a Nice Guy Who Played Nice Guys'

ESPN's Lee Corso Remembers Burt Reynolds, 'a Nice Guy Who Played Nice Guys'

My earliest memory of Burt was at football practice in 1954. I was a sophomore, and he was a freshman. It was tackling practice. I had to tackle him, and he ran right over my ass. Boom. I said, “Who the hell was that?” and some guy said, “That’s Buddy Reynolds from West Palm Beach.” We all called him Buddy. He was a hell of a runner. I couldn’t handle him.We roomed together on the road, and that’s how we...

MORE NEWS

Deep Dive

Want more information on Soo-Man Lee?

Variety's premium research & data service, Variety Insight, provides a wealth of information around everyone working in entertainment. Access contact information, development slates, ratings, box office, credits and more from the industry's leading source for entertainment data.