Sean Penn

Sean Penn

Infobox actor

imagesize = 175px
caption = Penn filming "Milk", 2008
birthdate = birth date and age|1960|08|17
birthplace = Santa Monica, California
birthname = Sean Justin Penn
yearsactive = 1974-present
academyawards=Best Actor
2003 "Mystic River"
goldenglobeawards = Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
2004 "Mystic River"
awards = Berlin Silver Bear for Best Actor
1996 "Dead Man Walking"
Best Actor Award - Cannes Film Festival
1997 "She's So Lovely"
Venice Volpi Cup for Best Actor
1998 "Hurlyburly"
2003 "21 Grams"
spouse = Madonna (1985–1989)
Robin Wright Penn (1996–present)

Sean Justin Penn (born August 17, 1960) is an Academy Award- and Golden Globe-winning American film actor and director. In 2004, he was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. [cite press release | url = | title = Academy Invites 127 to Membership | publisher = Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences | date = 28 June 2004]


Early life

Penn was born in Los Angeles County, California, [California Births, 1905-1995 [] ] the son of Leo Penn, an actor and director, and Eileen Ryan (née Annucci), an actress. He has one living brother, musician Michael Penn. Another brother, actor Chris Penn, died in 2006. His paternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Lithuania and Russia. [ "Jews Flop in Big Oscar Award Wins"] . Jewish 5 March 2004.] [ [ "Sean Penn Genealogy"] .] Penn's mother is a Roman Catholic of Italian and Irish descent.Kelly, Richard T. [ "Sean Penn: His Life and Times"] . Canongate U.S. 2004. ISBN 1841956236.] According to Penn's mother, Leo Penn may have had distant Spanish ancestry, as the family's surname was originally "Piñón". Penn was raised in a secular home and is an Agnostic. [ [ "Sean Penn"] . Celeb Atheists.]


Penn appeared in a 1974 episode of "Little House on the Prairie" as a then blonde-haired extra because his father, Leo, directed some of the episodes. Penn launched his career with the 1981 film "Taps," followed a year later with the comedy "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (in the role of Jeff Spicoli), and has since starred in over forty movies. In 1983, Penn turned in one of his best early performance as Mick O'Brien, a troubled youth in the drama "Bad Boys". It earned Penn favorable reviews and jump started his career as a serious actor.

In 1985, Penn gave a memorable performance in the role of Andrew Daulton Lee in "The Falcon and the Snowman". Lee was a former drug dealer by trade, convicted of espionage for the Soviet Union and was originally sentenced to life in prison. Lee was paroled in 1998. According to an April 8, 2005, interview in "The Guardian", Penn later hired Lee as his personal assistant, partly because he wanted to reward Lee for allowing him to play Lee in the film, and also because he was a firm believer in rehabilitation and thought Andrew Lee should be reintegrated into society now that he is a free man again. [ [,6737,1454330,00.html "When Sean's having fun, it's hard to imagine having more fun"] . Guardian Unlimited. 8 April 2005.]

In 1986 he starred in the drama "At Close Range", opposite Christopher Walken. The film was based on a true story and gained positive reviews from critics. Fans and critics noticed the change in Penn's body build. Penn appeared very muscular and in shape. It's considered to be the first film to cash in on Penn's status as a sex symbol. The film featured his then wife Madonna's single "Live to Tell". The music video for the song featured clips from the movie. The video played heavily on MTV and the music video helped promote the film.

In April 1987, during the production of "Colors", Sean Penn was arrested for punching a photographer who was taking pictures of him without permission. He served a month in jail for the assault.

In 1991, Penn made his directorial debut with "The Indian Runner", a film based on Bruce Springsteen's song "Highway Patrolman" from the "Nebraska" album. He also directed music videos, such as: Shania Twain's "Dance with the One That Brought You" in 1993 and Peter Gabriel's "The Barry Williams Show" in 2002. He also appeared on an episode of "Viva La Bam" in 2004 with his son, Hopper. He has since directed three more films: "The Crossing Guard" in 1995, "The Pledge" in 2001, and the critically acclaimed "Into the Wild" in 2007.

Penn will star in Gus Van Sant's bio-pic "Milk", as real life gay rights icon Harvey Milk; the film is scheduled for a late 2008 release.

Personal life

Penn was supposedly engaged to actress Elizabeth McGovern, his co-star in 1984's "Racing with the Moon", after which he dated Susan Sarandon. Penn's personal life began to attract media attention when he married pop star Madonna in 1985. The relationship was marred by violent outbursts against the press, including one incident for which he was arrested for beating a photographer. It is also suggested that when Penn discovered the paparazzo in his hotel room, he hung him by his ankles from the ninth-floor balcony.Somaiya, Ravi. [ "Mister Congeniality"] . The Times. 17 December 2007.] Madonna dedicated her third studio album, "True Blue" to Penn, referring to him in the liner notes as "the coolest guy in the universe". Later in the marriage, Penn was charged with felony domestic assault, a charge for which he pleaded to a misdemeanor. Penn and Madonna divorced in 1989.

He soon began a relationship with Robin Wright, and their first child, Dylan Frances, was born in 1991. Their second child, Hopper Jack, was born in 1993. Penn and Wright married in 1996 and lived in Ross, California. On December 27, 2007, the couple's representative announced that the Penns were divorcing.White, Nicholas. [,,20168386,00.html "Sean Penn and Robin Wright Penn Divorcing"] . People. 27 December 2007.] However, on April 9, 2008, it was announced that the couple had ended their divorce proceedings. [Yahoo. [ "Sean Penn, wife Robin end divorce proceeding"] ]

During a separation from Wright in the mid 1990s, Penn dated singer and songwriter Jewel. He was also the director of the original video for Jewel's hit song "You Were Meant for Me". [ "Sean Penn Bio"] .]

He is good friends with Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich and he introduced the band at their MTV Icon Induction Ceremony in 2003.

On April 10, 2003, Penn's 1987 Buick Grand National was stolen in Berkeley, California with two firearms in the trunk. Sean also has a 1968 Chevrolet El Camino.

Along with Johnny Depp, Mick Hucknall, and John Malkovich, Penn is a part-owner of the Parisian restaurant-bar Man Ray.

His younger brother, Chris, famous for playing "Nice Guy Eddie" in "Reservoir Dogs", died from an enlarged heart (drug induced) in his Santa Monica condominium on January 24, 2006.

Political and social causes:

Criticism of President Bush

On October 18, 2002, Penn placed a US$56,000 advertisement in the "Washington Post" asking President George W. Bush to end a cycle of violence. It was written as an open letter and referred to the planned attack on Iraq and the War on Terror.Bowles, Scott. [ "Sean Penn plays politics"] . USA Today. 18 September 2006.] In the letter, Penn also criticized the Bush administration for its "deconstruction of civil liberties" and its "simplistic and inflammatory view of good and evil." [] Penn visited Iraq briefly in December 2002.

This advertisement was cited as a primary reason for the development of his friendship with Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. Hugo Chávez has also used and read aloud an open letter Sean Penn wrote to President Bush in one of his recent televised speeches. The letter condemned the Iraq War, called for President Bush to be impeached, and also called President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "villainously and criminally obscene people".James, Ian. [ "Sean Penn Praised by Venezuela's Chavez"] . 2 August 2007.] Chávez also said in the same televised speech "Welcome to Venezuela, Mr. Penn. What drives him is consciousness, the search for new paths," and also "He's one of the greatest opponents of the Iraq invasion."

On August, 2007, Penn met with Hugo Chávez in Caracas for two hours. Chávez praised his bravery in urging Americans to impeach President Bush. Chávez also said Penn "made great films" and that he was "well-informed". Penn also visited a new film studio on the outskirts of Caracas, though he did not speak publicly.

On June 10, 2005, Penn made a visit to Iran. Acting as a journalist on an assignment for the "San Francisco Chronicle", he attended a Friday prayer at Tehran University. [Penn, Sean. [ "Sean Penn in Iran"] . San Francisco Chronicle. 23 August 2005.]

On January 7, 2006, Penn was a special guest at a forum hosted by the Progressive Democrats of America. He was joined by author and media critic Norman Solomon, Democratic congressional candidate Charles Brown, and activist Cindy Sheehan. The "Out of Iraq Forum" was attended by 200 individuals and took place in Sacramento, California. The program was moderated by Bill Dursten, President of the Sacramento Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility. The forum was held at a SEIU union hall and was organized to promote the anti-war movement calling for an end to the War in Iraq.

In 2005, Penn appeared at the ACLU of Northern California's annual Bill of Rights Day Celebration to present Sister Helen Prejean with the Chief Justice Earl Warren Civil Liberties Award for her work opposing the death penalty.

On April 19, 2007, Penn appeared on "The Colbert Report" and had a "Meta-Free-Phor-All" versus Stephen Colbert that was judged by Robert Pinsky. This stemmed from some of Penn's criticisms of President Bush. His exact quote was "We cower as you point your fingers telling us to support our troops. You and the smarmy pundits in your pocketndash those who bathe in the moisture of your soiled and blood-soaked underwearndash can take that noise and shove it." [cite web| url =,2933,261587,00.html | title = Sean Penn Unloads on Pres. Bush | publisher = FOX News | date = 2007-03-27] [cite web| url = | title = Metaphor Alert | publisher = New York Post | date = 2007-03-27] He won the contest 10,000,000, to Stephen Colbert's 1. [cite web| url = | title = Stephen Colbert vs Sean Penn | publisher = Crooks and Liars | date = 2007-03-27]

On December 7, 2007, Penn said he is supporting Ohio Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich for U.S. President in 2008, and criticized President Bush's handling of the Iraq war. Penn questioned whether Bush's twin daughters supported the war in Iraq. [ [ "An Open Letter to the President...Four and a Half Years Later"] Huffington 24 March 2007.]

Hurricane Katrina

In September 2005, Penn traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana, to aid Hurricane Katrina victims. He was physically involved in rescuing people [ [ "Many celebrities have helped with New Orleans recovery efforts"] . International Herald Tribune. 14 December 2007.] although there have been criticisms his involvement was merely a PR stunt as he hired a photographer to come along with his entourage. [ [ "Penn's rescue attempt springs a leak"] . The Sydney Morning Herald. 5 September 2005.]

He was and is supported by best-selling author Douglas Brinkley, a professor of history at Tulane University and archival historian for the city. The two were seen on CNN coverage September 2, 2005, as Penn, seemingly exhausted, gave an impromptu interview about what he was seeing and doing, and obviously critical of the response until that time, stating that at that time he felt there was only "about one-fifth" the assistance and resources there that needed to be.Fact|date=December 2007

Director Spike Lee interviewed Penn for his documentary "", about Hurricane Katrina.

Filmography and awards

On December 18, 2006, Penn received the Christopher Reeve First Amendment Award from the Creative Coalition. [ [ " The Creative Coalition Announces Presenters for 2006 Christopher Reeve First Amendment Award and 2006 Spotlight Awards"] . The Creative Coalition. December 2006.]

As actor

As director


External links

*imdb name|0000576|Sean Penn
* [ Sean Penn's visit to Iran at the San Francisco Chronicle]
* [,6737,1454330,00.html "Guardian Unlimited" Interview, 8 April 2005]
* [ Sean Penn's "Metaphor Off" vs Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report, April 19, 2007]
* [ "Esquire" magazine interview/profile]
* [ Sean Penn's Upcoming film]

NAME=Penn, Sean
SHORT DESCRIPTION=American actor, director
DATE OF BIRTH=17 August 1960
PLACE OF BIRTH=Santa Monica, California

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Look at other dictionaries:

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