Lee Sung-jae debuted in 1995 through the MBC series The Love of Two Women. Shortly after, he launched his film career in the hit 1998 movie Art Museum by the Zoo, which earned him multiple Best New Actor trophies. The following year, he starred in the back-to-back successful films Ghost in Love and Attack the Gas Station, with the latter winning him the Most Popular Actor for Film trophy at the 36th Baeksang Arts Awards. In 2000, he headlined Bong Joon-ho’s directorial debut, the indie dark comedy Barking Dogs Never Bite. In 2002, he took a turn as a villain to Sol Kyung-gu’s character in the action film Public Enemy. His other remarkable movies are 2006’s Daisy with Jeon Ji-hyun and Jung Woo-sung, and 2010’s Natalie, which was Korea’s first homegrown live-action 3D film. He has since then mostly focused on television, starring in several memorable dramas such as JTBC’s A Wife’s Credentials in 2012 and MBC’s Goodbye to Goodbye in 2018. In 2021, he appeared in the high-rating Channel A mystery-melo Show Window: The Queen’s House.

Lee Sung-jae attended Dongguk University. He and his wife Kim Jin-sook have two daughters together.