Lee Soon-jae began acting while he was still a university student and has since enjoyed a prolific career. In 1966, he received the Best Theater Actor trophy at the 2nd Baeksang Arts Awards for the stage play Look Homeward, Angel. In 1972, he starred in the film Bun-rye’s Story, which won him Best Actor at the 15th Buil Film Awards. In 1977, he took home another Best Actor trophy at the 13th Baeksang Arts Awards for the film Concentration of Attention. In 1982, he bagged an Excellence Award at the 9th Korea Broadcasting Awards for the KBS series Crisis. In 2004, he scored an Excellence Award at the SBS Drama Awards for The Land. In 2007, he led the popular MBC family sitcom Unstoppable High Kick, in which he was awarded the Daesang at the MBC Entertainment Awards. In 2009, he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the MBC Entertainment Awards for his work in Unstoppable High Kick’s sequel High Kick Through the Roof. In 2018, he was recognized with a second-class Eungwan Order of Cultural Merit by the South Korean government for his outstanding meritorious services in the fields of culture and art.

Lee Soon-jae entered politics as a member of the 14th National Assembly of South Korea from 1992 to 1996. He has a degree in philosophy from the prestigious Seoul National University. He has been married to his wife Choi Hee-jung since 1966.