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Kim Jong Il look-alike admits it may be time to hang up his dark glasses

Prakash Singh / AFP - Getty Images

South Korean Kim Young-Shik, a lookalike of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, shows newspaper clippings in his shop in Seoul on Dec. 26, 2011.

Prakash Singh / AFP - Getty Images

Kim Young-Shik poses in front of his print shop in Seoul on Dec. 26, 2011.

He's been cursed in the street, appeared in a movie and perfected the wave of North Korea's "Dear Leader". Now Kim Jong Il's leading look-alike feels that part of himself died along with the late ruler, Agence France Presse (AFP) reports.

South Korean shopkeeper Kim Young-Shik has been impersonating Kim Jong Il for over 15 years, making appearances in advertisements and at birthday parties and even singing at weddings. 

NBC News' Ian Williams visited the pot-bellied pseudo dictator at his shop in Seoul just over a year ago, when the signs were already looking ominous for his acting career. Now, he wistfully admits that it may be time to hang up his dark glasses, and for a younger man to step forward to play the role of the new "Great Leader", Kim Jong Un.

"I feel very empty," he told AFP. "I'd like to do more acting as Kim Jong Il, but they'll find someone new for Jong Un. They asked if my son looked like him but he doesn't or I would have sent him to an audition,'' he said.

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The North Korean leader has a Seoul brother in the South, who, until recently, made a very good living impersonating the Dear Leader. NBC's Ian Williams reports in December, 2010.


News of the North Korean leader's death sparks tears from his followers and concerns around the world as power is handed over to his successor.