Kim Hee-chul (Hangul: 김희철; hanja: 金希澈, born 10 July 1983), simply known as Heechul, is a South Korean singer, actor, and presenter. He is a member of South Korean boy band Super Junior and its subgroup, Super Junior-T. On 1 September 2011, Heechul enlisted for his mandatory military service. He served as a public service worker for 23 months, after undergoing four weeks of basic training at the Nonsan military camp in Chungcheongnam-do Province. He completed his military service on August 30, 2013.
Kim was discovered at Starlight Casting System October 2002 where he auditioned with his friends. Initially, he was placed in a four-member project group called, “Four Seasons”. This group included members Jaejoong, Yunho, and Kangin. They never debuted as Jaejoong and Yunho joined boy band TVXQ, who debuted in December 2003. Kim and Kangin joined ten other trainees and formed the group Super Junior 05, being the first generation of the rotational boy band Super Junior.
Other activities before his debut include modeling, acting, and VJing. He made his first appearance on TV starring in the teen drama Banolim 2. Like bandmate Kibum, Kim made his first television appearance as an actor before the debut of Super Junior. He starred in the 2005 teen drama, Sharp 2, in which he acted alongside Kibum. Not long afterwards, Kim appeared in an episode of Loveholic as a chef trainee. He was a regular MC for the cable music show Show! Music Tank.
2005-2006: Debut with Super Junior
Kim Heechul officially debut as part of 12-member project group Super Junior 05 on 6 November 2005 on SBS’s music programme Popular Songs, performing their first single, “TWINS (Knock Out)”. Their debut album SuperJunior05 (Twins) was released a month later on 5 December 2005 and debuted at #3 on the monthly MIAK K-pop album charts.
In March 2006, SM Entertainment began to recruit new members for the next Super Junior generation. However, plans changed and the company declared a halt in forming future Super Junior generations. Following the addition of thirteenth member Kyuhyun, the group dropped the suffix “05” and became officially credited as Super Junior. The re-polished group’s first CD single “U” was released on 7 June 2006, which was their most successful single until the release of “Sorry, Sorry” in March 2009.
After the debut of Super Junior, he teamed with Kibum again to star in the sixth season of Nonstop, alternatively known as Rainbow Romance. In 2006, he starred as supporting character Gong Min in Bad Family. In 2007, he starred in family drama Golden Bride as Kim Young-soo. Kim also appeared on variety shows such as Vitamin, Sponge, Xman and Love Letter, as well as radio DJ on SBS Power FM Youngstreet with Park Heebon, till mid-2006.
2007-2008: Sub-group and MC
In 2007, Kim became part of a Super Junior sub-group, Super Junior-T, which debuted on 23 February with the Trot single “Rokuko!!!”. Kim participated in Super Junior’s second album Don’t Don, the band’s Super Show tour, and filmed Super Junior’s first movie Attack on the Pin-Up Boys.
He substituted for Andy of Shinhwa on SBS music programme Inkigayo on numerous occasions and became permanent host. He hosted the programme with Ku Hye Sun from 23 April 2006 to 18 February 2007, and with Jang Keun-suk from 25 February to 7 October 2007, then with Song Ji-hyo between 11 November 2007 and 4 May 2008.
In 2008, Kim debut as musical actor starring as Sonny, rotating with Kangin in Xanadu. It played from 9 September to 23 November 2008 at Doosan Art Center, Yeonji-dong in Seoul. Auditions and casting were done via a reality television programme, To Be Kangin and Heechul, which also served to promote the musical.
Kim was on a TV show called Joahseo or Good Daddy, where he and three other celebrities, including Lee HongKi from FT Island, learned to be good fathers by caring for a “daughter”. He was also in Band of Brothers with benad mate Kangin, and label mates Jungmo and Jay of TRAX. Where the band paid tribute to different groups during their showcase at the end of the program.
Kim co-MC the 2009 Dream Concert with Song Ji-hyo, which was held at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on 10 October.
After the 55-episode drama Loving You Ten Million Times ended in early 2010, from where he released his first solo single, “First Star” (초별, Chobyul) from the drama’s OST on 6 November 2009. Heechul returned to SBS radio as DJ to host radio program, HeeChul’s Young Street. The show went on-air on 29 March 2010 and mark his first comeback as a DJ in four years, but left mid-2011. In May 2010, he joined as a regular cast member on Family Outing 2, however the show was cancelled two months later due to low ratings.
On October 9, 2010, he created a personal Facebook, which collected 5,000 friend requests within 5 minutes. He was also a worldwide trending topic on Twitter for four days (from 9 Oct 2010 to 12 Oct 2010).
2011-present: M&D and military enlistment
Kim formed a project group, M&D, with label mate, Kim Jungmo of TRAX in 2011. M&D stands for “midnight and dawn”, and also the hometowns of Jungmo and Heechul, “Miari and Dangae-dong”. The music video of their debut track, “Close Ur Mouth”, directed by Heechul, was released on 23 June 2011. Heechul wrote the lyrics while Jungmo wrote and played all the instruments for the song. They performed their debut stage at Mnet’s summer awards ceremony, 20’s Choice on 7 July 2011.
He was one of the four MCs on the Radio Star segment of Golden Fishery on MBC and band mate Kyuhyun took over for him when he enlisted. and Secret of Saturday Freedom on KBS.
On 1 September 2011, Kim enlisted for his mandatory military service. He is serving as a public service worker for 23 months, after undergoing four weeks of basic training at the Nonsan military camp in Chungcheongnam-do Province. He completed his military service on August 30, 2013.
On 27 September 2011, the single “Breakups are So Like Me” by Kim Jang-hoon was released, which featured Heechul, who also starred in the music video. It was completed the day before his enlistment, hence his parts during the performance on Music Bank and Show! Music Core, was filled in by bandmates, Yesung, Eunhyuk and Shindong, who performed with Kim Jang Hoon.
In January 2014, it was announced that Heechul will become an on-screen couple with Puff Guo from the Taiwanese girl group Dream Girls on Global Edition: We Got Married reality show. The show premiered in March 2014 and the first episode is aired on April 5, 2014.
Heechul was cast in the role of an elite detective for the 2014 tvN drama, Flower Grandpa Investigation Unit, to air its first episode on May 9, 2014. The first script reading was held on April 2, where they ran into hilarious problems with age and seniority and the actors’ respective roles.
On 10 August 2006, Heechul was involved in a car accident while heading back to Seoul from Mokpo after attending the funeral of fellow Super Junior member Donghae’s father. The tires malfunctioned while his car attempted to switch lanes. Heechul fractured his left leg in five places, including his femur, knee, and ankle, requiring him to be in surgery for six hours. He also sustained other injuries, including a tear in his tongue which required stitches.
Heechul was advised to stop all activities for a period of twelve weeks. He was released from the hospital on 13 September 2006 but he continued to receive out-patient care. He returned to the hospital to have a second surgery to remove some of the iron rods in his leg on October 10 and briefly returned to work in late October to film the final three episodes of an MBC youth sitcom while still in a cast and on a wheelchair. He made his comeback on 25 November of the same year during the Mnet KM Music Festival (MKMF) Awards. In late December Heechul officially returned to individual activities such as variety show appearances and hosting appearances.
In 2007, Heechul started to perform regularly despite still having a few rods that the doctors had attached to his leg. In late April and May 2007, he had recovered enough to be able to take part in Super Junior’s strenuous dance routines. The remaining rods in his leg were removed in 2008.