Baek Yoon-shik made his debut in 1970 on KBS TV. In the coming years he would appear in four films, taking lead roles in his debut Excellent Guys and in romantic comedy Only With You with Seo Mi-kyung, a young star of the time. He also studied in the film and theater department at Chung-Ang University's graduate school.
Nonetheless, his film career appeared to end in the 1970s and he became known thereafter as a TV actor. In the late 1990s and early 2000s he attained a certain degree of visibility in TV dramas such as Moon Over Seoul (1994, with Han Suk-kyu and Choi Min-shik) and Jang Hee-bin (2002, with Kim Hye-soo).
In 2003, however, Baek's career was revived in spectacular fashion with a major role in Jang Jun-hwan's acclaimed debut feature Save the Green Planet. Playing an arrogant company executive -- believed by the film's hero to be an alien from Andromeda -- Baek's performance won him a Best Actor Award from the 2003 Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival, as well as numerous best supporting actor mentions from local awards ceremonies. He quickly became sort of a cult figure among younger cinephiles.
Following on this success, Baek went on to appear in several more high-profile films, including a memorable role in Choi Dong-hoon's caper film The Big Swindle and a showstopping performance as intelligence chief Kim Jae-gyu in Im Sang-soo's controversial drama The President's Last Bang.
The year 2006 turned out to be a particularly prolific year for Baek, as he took leading and supporting roles in four films. (It was a profitable year as well, with his fee rising to $400,000 per film -- just a shade below that of the top stars) Of these four, Choi Dong-hoon's Tazza proved to be a runaway hit, selling close to 7 million tickets.
Baek is married with two sons, the elder of whom is young actor Baek Do-bin (Seducing Mr. Perfect, Tazza).