Kim Nam-Gil was born on March 13, 1981 in South Korea. His immediate family consists of his parents and one brother. Kim Nam-Gil graduated from Han Yeong High School. He then went to Myeong Ji college (a two year college) and majored in "Theatre and Movies". He eventually dropped out of college and did not complete his studies. Since working in the entertainment world professionally, Nam-Gil has worked under Star J Entertainment Management Company. Nam-Gil's various hobbies include playing the flute, tap dancing, water skiing, and Taekwondo.
Nam-Gil first debuted on television with a minor role in the 1998 KBS drama "School 1" (as the character Min-soo). Five years later, Nam-Gil would win the 31st audition for MBC Television. He then performed in various minor roles for MBC. Meanwhile, in 2005, Kim Nam-Gil changed his name to the seemingly more exotic name of "Lee Han." In 2006, Kim Nam-Gil made the bold decision to accept his first lead role in the controversial, but critically praised independent film, "No Regret". Kim Nam-Gil played the homosexual character Song Jae-min in "No Regret". Although the film "No Regret" received high praise from movie critics & film festivals, it failed to boost Kim Nam-Gil's popularity or lead to immediate stardom. Instead, Kim Nam-Gil took more supporting roles in television dramas and commercial films.
Prior to the release of the 2008 film "Public Enemy Returns," Kim Nam-Gil stopped using his stage name "Lee Han" and reverted back to his birth name. Nam-Gil made this decision after receiving advice from Kang Woo-Suk (the director of "Public Enemy Returns"). Later in 2008, Nam-Gil received his first leading role in a major commercial film - "Portrait of a Beauty." This was also the first time Nam-Gil acted in a historical film. His experience from "Portrait of a Beauty" would reap benefits later when he would act in the historical MBC drama "The Great Queen Seondeok." Although Kim Gyu-Ri garnered most of the attention for "Portrait of a Beauty," Nam-Gil's strong performance did not go unnoticed.
In 2009, Kim Nam-Gil was cast in the MBC drama "The Great Queen Seondeok" as Bi-dam. The production company felt the character of Bi-dam was somewhat the secret weapon in securing the success of the television series. The production company proceeded to promote his character to Korean media outlets and press agencies. The pressure from this move caused Kim Nam-Gil to stress over his upcoming performance. During this time, Nam-Gil researched his character by observing comic book characters like Han Bi Kwang from "Yeol Hyeol Kang Ho", Musashi Miyamoto from "Vegabond" and Kang Baek Ho from "Slam Dunk." His research did prove successful as the drama series "The Great Queen Seondeok" became the most watched drama series of 2009, regularly receiving ratings in excess of 40%. With the runaway success of "The Great Queen Seondeok," Kim Nam-Gil's popularity also skyrocketed. He was frequently voted the sexiest man by Korean women, received many commercial endorsement offers, and flooded with scenarios for various upcoming films and drama series.
Kim Nam-Gil has stated his role model for an actor is Jeong Jae-Yeong, whom Kim Nam-Gil worked with in "Public Enemy Returns" and also graduated from the same high school. His other favorite actor is actress Kim Hye-Su, whom Kim Nam-Gil worked with in "Modern Boy." Kim Hye-Su often gave advice on how to act and think as an actor, while filming "Modern Boy." Kim Nam-Gil has also stated that his ideal woman type is someone like Lee Yo-Won and how she she takes care of her baby.
Kim Nam-Gil started his mandatory 2 year military service on July 15th, 2010. Because of this, SBS drama "Bad Guy," which stars Kim Nam-Gil, was shortened from 20 episodes to 17 episodes.