South Korean actress Choi Eun-hee – who was once kidnapped by North Korea in the 1970s and forced to create propaganda films before escaping – has died.
Her family confirmed news that the actress had passed at 92 from a chronic disease.
“My mother passed away when she went to hospital for kidney dialysis [Monday] afternoon,” the actress’ son, director Shin Jeong-gyun, told Yonhap News Agency.
In 1947, Choi began acting and became one of the three most-popular stars in South Korea during the 1960s and 1970s.
Her films caught on with movie fans and even reached Kim Jong Il, whose father Kim Il Sung was the dictator of North Korea during the era.
Because Kim Jong Il loved Hollywood films, he made his agents kidnap Choi in 1978. She was then taken back to North Korea.
While searching for Choi, Shin Sang-ok – the actress’ ex-husband – was also kidnapped while searching for the star.
Choi and Shin were kidnapped for eight years and forced to star in 17 movies.
The actress even received a Best Actress award at the Moscow Film Festival for one of the movies made during her captivity called Sault.
Films Choi starred in during her time in exile included one based on a play made by Kim Il Sung and a North Korean interpretation of Godzilla.
The couple even tried to trick Kim Jong Il into confessing he kidnapped them in a recording, reports the South China Morning Post.
In 1986, the duo were trusted enough to travel to Vienna, Austria where they escaped to the US embassy for political asylum while promoting their movies, reports the BBC.
After 10 years of exile, the estranged couple finally went back to South Korea.
North Korea has always denied holding Choi and Shin hostage, alleging that the couple travelled to Pyongyang for sanctuary.
The 2016 documentary The Lovers and the Despot told Choi and Shin’s story.
Choi also wrote a biography called Confessions.