Kim Jong Il, North Korea's supreme leader who ruled over one of the poorest countries in the world, died Saturday of heart failure.
The 69-year-old was known for decadent and eccentric tastes and for outlandishly stretching the truth about his personal history and prowess. Here is a look at some of the most famous and controversial facts and fables about Kim Jong Il.
|Kim the Movie Buff|
Kim was a major film buff, and reportedly owned 10,000 to 20,000 DVDs, many of which were Hollywood films. Some of his favorite movies include the 1980s slasher flick "Friday the 13th," the Sylvester Stallone action flick "Rambo" and the Japanese classic "Godzilla."
He was also a major fan of Hong Kong action cinema, according to the Guardian newspaper. And the BBC said he considered Elizabeth Taylor one of his favorite actresses.
|Kim the Kidnapper|
In 1978 famed South Korean film director Shin Sang-ok was kidnapped while investigating the disappearance of his wife, actress Choe Eun-hui, in Hong Kong. The BBC reported that agents took him to Pyongyang where he was kept in a prison for four years and then released to reunite with Choe.
Kim had reportedly ordered the kidnappings to utilize the director and star to revitalize North Korea's film industry.
While held in North Korea, the two released seven films, including "Pulgasari," a giant-creature feature in the vein of "Godzilla." Kim is listed as executive producer on all of his films.
In 2003, Shin told The Guardian: "Even though we criticized some things, he wanted us to be honest. Others would have been killed for speaking so honestly."
Eventually the couple escaped to Vienna.
|Kim the Decadent Traveler|
Though he rarely left his isolated country, Kim reportedly had a fear of flying, so would always travel by private armored train when he would go on state visits to Russia and China. He reportedly died on such a train Saturday.
Konstantin Pulikovsky reported after spending time with Kim on his train that one could "order any dish of Russian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and French cuisine," and that live lobsters were shipped to the train as Kim trekked across Siberia. Meanwhile, an estimated 2 million North Koreans starved to death during the mid-1990s.
|Kim the Drinker|
Kim was a big fan of wine and the cognac Hennessey. The leader had cases of Bordeaux and Burgundy red wines flown from Paris, according to Pulikovsky, and was one of Hennessey's best customers, reportedly spending more than $800,000 on the cognac per year.
|Kim the Golfer|
An avid golfer, Kim reportedly picked up a golf club in 1994 and shot a 38-under par on a regulation 18-hole golf course -- including no fewer than 11 holes in one. This would have put the increasingly frail Kim head and shoulders above the world's best, if the state media reports about Kim's game were to be believed.
|Kim the Artist|
According to Kim's official biography, he composed six operas over two years and also enjoyed staging elaborate musicals.
In 2009, the KCNA news agency reported that Kim had directed a staging of "Yevgeny Onegin," Tchaikovsky's opera of Pushkin's classic novel in verse. Kim reportedly said that it was staged to give the North Korean people a "better understanding of the world culture."
|Birth of Kim|
Although Kim was born in Siberia while his father Kim Il-sung was living in exile in the former U.S.S.R, the official North Korean account says that the man referred to as "Dear Leader," "our Father" and "the General" was born in a log cabin on North Korea's highest mountain, Mount Paektu, in February 1942.
Legend goes that the future leader's birth was marked by a double rainbow and a bright star in the sky.
|Kim the Romancer|
Although there are no official documents on his marriages, Kim is believed to have only married once, to Kim Young-sook, the daughter of a high-ranking military official.
It is believed that he had three mistresses: Song Hye-rim, a film actress; Ko Young-hee, a Japanese-born Korean dancer who gave birth to his sons Kim Jong-chul and Kim Jong-un; and Kim Ok, his personal secretary for decades.
Kim's signature song "No Motherland Without You," with the lyrics "We cannot exist without you, Comrade Kim Jong-il! The motherland cannot exist without you!" repeated, is often piped from loudspeakers in the city of Pyongyang.
|Kim Goes Hollywood|
Kim gained notoriety on the world stage in the early 2000s when North Korea was listed alongside Iraq and Iran as part of the "axis of evil" by the Bush administration.
He gained fame in popular culture, however, as the villain in "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone's marionette action-satire "Team America: World Police."
Voiced by Parker, Kim's character was bent on world destruction, but showed a tender side when singing the ballad "I'm So Ronery."