17 August 1960
Santa Monica, California, USA
5' 8" (1,73 m)
17 August 1960
Santa Monica, California, USA
5' 8" (1,73 m)
Sean Penn is a powerhouse film performer capable of intensely moving work, who has gone from strength to strength during a colourful film career, and who has drawn much media attention for his stormy private life and political viewpoints.
Sean Justin Penn was born in Los Angeles, California, the second son of actress Eileen Ryan (née Annucci) and director, actor, and writer Leo Penn. His brother was actor Chris Penn. His father was from a Lithuanian Jewish/Russian Jewish family, and his mother is of half Italian and half Irish descent.
Penn first appeared in roles as strong-headed or unruly youths such as the military cadet defending his academy against closure in Taps - Más allá del honor (1981), then as fast-talking surfer stoner Jeff Spicoli in Aquel 'excitante' curso (1982).
Fans and critics were enthused about his obvious talent and he next contributed a stellar performance alongside Timothy Hutton in the Cold War spy thriller El juego del halcón(1985), followed by a teaming with icy Christopher Walken in the chilling Hombres frente a frente (1986). The youthful Sean then paired up with his then wife, pop diva Madonnain the woeful, and painful, Shanghai Surprise (1986), which was savaged by the critics, but Sean bounced back with a great job as a hot-headed young cop in Colors: Colores de guerra (1988), gave another searing performance as a US soldier in Vietnam committing atrocities in Corazones de hierro (1989) and appeared alongside Robert De Niro in the uneven comedy Nunca fuimos ángeles (1989). However, the 1990s was the decade in which Sean really got noticed by critics as a mature, versatile and accomplished actor, with a string of dynamic performances in first-class films.
Almost unrecognisable with frizzy hair and thin rimmed glasses, Penn was simply brilliant as corrupt lawyer David Kleinfeld in the Brian De Palma gangster movie Atrapado por su pasado (1993) and he was still in trouble with authority as a Death Row inmate pleading with a caring nun to save his life in Pena de muerte (1995), for which he received his first Oscar nomination. Sean then played the brother of wealthy Michael Douglas, involving him in a mind-snapping scheme in The Game (1997) and also landed the lead role of Sgt. Eddie Walsh in the star-studded anti-war film La delgada línea roja (1998), before finishing the 1990s playing an offbeat jazz musician (and scoring another Oscar nomination) in Acordes y desacuerdos (1999).
The gifted and versatile Sean had also moved into directing, with the quirky but interesting Extraño vínculo de sangre (1991), about two brothers with vastly opposing views on life, and in 1995 he directed Jack Nicholson in Cruzando la oscuridad (1995). Both films received overall positive reviews from critics. Moving into the new century, Sean remained busy in front of the cameras with even more outstanding work: a mentally disabled father fighting for custody of his seven-year-old daughter (and receiving a third Oscar nomination) for Yo soy Sam (2001); an anguished father seeking revenge for his daughter's murder in the gut-wrenching Clint Eastwood-directed Mystic River (2003) (for which he won the Oscar as Best Actor); a mortally ill college professor in 21 gramos(2003) and a possessed businessman in El asesinato de Richard Nixon (2004).
Certainly Sean Penn is one of Hollywood's most controversial, progressive and gifted actors. - IMDb Mini Biography By: firstname.lastname@example.org
Robin Wright (27 April 1996 - 4 August 2010) (divorced) (2 children)
Madonna (16 August 1985 - 14 September 1989) (divorced)
Trade Mark*Known for playing deeply intense yet sympathetic characters prone to violence
Often stars in films that reflect his liberal political views
Frequently plays unsympathetic and cruel characters with a hidden moral center
Intense emotional acting style
He served 32 days in jail in 1987 for hitting an extra.
He and Robin Wright lived together from 1991 until their marriage in 1996. They had two children before their marriage.
They lost their home in the Malibu fire in November 1993.
Appeared with his brother Chris Penn in Hombres frente a frente (1986), in which their actress mother, Eileen Ryan, played their grandmother.
Listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1984" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 36.
Ranked #76 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
Son of Leo Penn and Eileen Ryan.
Middle brother of musician Michael Penn and Chris Penn.
Moved to Marin County (North of San Francisco) to avoid raising his children in Hollywood.
Became a father for the 1st time at age 30 when his girlfriend [now 2nd ex-wife] Robin Wright gave birth to their daughter Dylan Penn on April 13, 1991.
Became a father for the 2nd time at age 32 when his girlfriend [now 2nd ex-wife] Robin Wright gave birth to their son Hopper Penn on August 6, 1993.
His son is named after two family friends, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson.
Brother-in-law of Aimee Mann.
Quit smoking for a while on his 40th birthday for health reasons. Prior to that, he was known as one of Hollywood's heaviest smokers, smoking at least four packs of cigarettes a day.
On September 11, 2004, he received the John Steinbeck award at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. The award is given out by the San Francisco Chronicle and benefits San Jose State University. The evening included film clips and discussion with Peter Coyote. The biggest surprise of the night was that Bruce Springsteen (a longtime friend of Sean's and the first recipient of the award) presented it to him.
His paternal grandparents were Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants (their families were from Russia and Lithuania). They ran a Jewish deli in New York for some time. His mother's heritage is half Italian and half Irish.
In October 2002, he bought a $56,000 ad in the Washington Post to publish an open letter to President George W. Bush asking him to slow down the march of war towards Iraq. He wrote it as a father of two children and as a son of a WW II veteran.
His father, Leo Penn, had been blacklisted in the 1950s for his political beliefs.
He and his family moved out of Hollywood to Marin County, north of San Francisco because he was "tired of a lot of aspects of Los Angeles, the main one being raising the kids in a company town".
His car, a limited-edition 1987 Buick Grand National, was stolen in Berkeley months after his return from Iraq. Among the lost contents were 2 guns.
He and director Clint Eastwood discussed the possibility of Sean starring in Deuda de sangre (2002). Though it didn't work out, they got the opportunity to work together later in Mystic River (2003).
Andy Warhol was a guest during his August 16, 1985 marriage to Madonna.
A popular indie-band in The Netherlands is called "Seanpenn".
Briefly engaged to actress-photographer Pamela Springsteen, sister of Bruce Springsteen. The two were both in Aquel 'excitante' curso (1982).
Credits Malcolm McDowell as the best actor with whom he's worked.
As of 2005, the only actor to ever receive a Best Actor nomination for a Woody Allen film, besides Allen himself.
His performance as "Jeff Spicoli" in Aquel 'excitante' curso (1982) is ranked #9 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
Refuses to talk about his ex-wife Madonna in interviews. On her 1989 "Like A Prayer" album, she wrote a song about their failed marriage called "Till Death Do Us Part".
Was in the same acting class as Michelle Pfeiffer at the end of the 70s or early 80s.
Good friends with Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich.
Wife Robin Wright filed papers for divorce after 11 years of marriage on December 21, 2007, citing irreconcilable differences. The couple is seeking joint custody of their two teenage children. In April 2008 they withdrew the petition.
Is an avid surfer.
2008's Jury president of Cannes Film Festival.
He toured Caracas, Venezuela, in August 2007 with President Hugo Chávez,.
Former brother-in-law of Christopher Ciccone, Martin Ciccone, Paula Ciccone, Anthony Ciccone, Melanie Ciccone, Mario Ciccone, and Jennifer Ciccone.
Former son-in-law of Silvio Ciccone.
Milo Ventimiglia listed him as his favorite actor.
He and ex-wife Madonna's birthdays are a day apart.
He is the 9th person to win 2 Academy Awards for Best Actor.
Is very good friends with Robert De Niro. The two share the same birthday and would often throw a joint birthday party together.
In October 2008, he traveled to Cuba where he met with and interviewed President Raúl Castro.
Filed for divorce from Robin Wright, a year after they reconciled after she had filed for divorce in late 2007. [April 2009]
Requested to withdraw the papers he filed for legal separation from Robin Wright. [May 2009]
Lost out to Christopher Atkins for the role of Richard in El lago azul (1980) on the final day of auditions.
His publicist is Mara Buxbaum.
Robin Wright once again filed for divorce. She had previously stated in More magazine that, although they withdrew their divorce papers in early 2009, they are no longer together. [August 2009]
Born at 3:17 PM (PDT).
Flew to Haiti on January 21 2010 to help the relief effort after the earthquake.
Penn's Hombres frente a frente (1986) director James Foley served as best man at Penn and Madonna's wedding (1985).
In June 1987 Penn was sentenced to sixty days for probation violations including reckless driving and assault. The sentence was reduced to thirty-three days "in anticipation of good behavior." Penn served five days, was released to film a movie, and then served out the remainder of his sentence in private jail facilities for which he paid an extra eighty dollars per day.
Was ordered to complete 300 hours of community service and 36 hours of anger management therapy after being charged with misdemeanor vandalism. Penn reportedly kicked a paparazzi in the leg in October 2009 and was initially charged with battery and vandalism. [May 2010]
Is the subject of the song, "Sean Penn Blues", by Lloyd Cole & The Commotions.
Visited Egypt and Libya. [October 2011]
Ranks his good friend Philip Seymour Hoffman as one of the greatest actors of his generation (interview: Piers Morgan Tonight: Episode dated 14 October 2011 (2011)).
Has openly declared that he'd much rather direct movies than act in them (interview: Piers Morgan Tonight: Episode dated 14 October 2011 (2011)).
The longest he has gone without an Oscar nomination if 5 years, between Mystic River(2003) and Mi nombre es Harvey Milk (2008).
Was engaged to Elizabeth McGovern. They met on the set of Adiós a la inocencia (1984).
Directed one Oscar nominated performance: Hal Holbrook in Hacia rutas salvajes (2007).
Attended the Mike Tyson vs Michael Spinks fight at Trump Plaza on June 27th in Atlantic City, New Jersey. [June 1988]
Attended the Venice Film Festival in Italy on Sept. 5th. [September 2003]
Attended the 2008 Cannes Film Festival in France. [May 2008]
Attended the Cesar Film Awards in Paris, France on Feb. 27th. [February 2009]
Release of the book, "Sean Penn: His Life and Times" by Richard T. Kelly.
Attended the 2004 Cannes Film Festival in France. [May 2004]
Attended the BFI London Film Festival (on Oct. 25th) as well as the 2nd Rome Film Festival (on Oct. 24th) to promote his film Into the Wild. [October 2007]
Attended the Cannes Film Festival in France. [May 2011]
Attended the Cannes Film Festival. [May 2000]
Attended the Cannes Film Festival. [May 2001]
Attended the 2003 San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain. [September 2003]
As of 2014, has appeared in four films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: La delgada línea roja (1998), Mystic River (2003), Mi nombre es Harvey Milk (2008) and El árbol de la vida (2011).
One of four people to have achieved the rare feat of winning an acting prize in the three major film festivals: Venice Film Festivel, Cannes Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival. The others to do so are Julianne Moore, Juliette Binoche and Jack Lemmon. Additionally, all four actors have won acting Oscars.
In three consecutive years won acting prizes in the three major film festivals: Berlin Silver Bear Best Actor (Dead Man Walking ) in 1996, Cannes Best Actor (She's So Lovely ) in 1997, and Venice Volpi Cup Best Actor (Hurlyburly ) in 1998 becoming the fastest among the four actors to have accomplished the feat of winning in the aforementioned film festivals.
Received an honorary César award in France for his body of work in 2015, Marion Cotillard presented the award to him. [20 February, 2015].
[Discussing Oliver Stone] I think that his basic pig nature keeps him from doing the best of what he ought to do. And it keeps him from being someone I want to run into. Hollywood is much more creatively corrupt than it is economically [corrupt]. It takes $1 for them to kill their dreams. Their dreams are worth more than $1.
I had a house burn down once, and everything in life burned, except my family, and it was so liberating. I didn't have a bad moment about it. It sort of reinvigorated my interest in a lot of things. I wonder if there should be some kind of anarchy.
I can never get ahead of the game because of the movies I do.
You build a cage based on your sense of the truth and your sense of the aspects of the character that need to tell the story. If you've done your job right, which I've had varying degrees of success doing at different times in my life, then you're able to function very freely within that cage.
I was brought up in a country that relished fear-based religion, corrupt government and an entire white population living on stolen property that they murdered for and that is passed on from generation to generation.
The major studios are by and large banks and they give you what is by and large a loan to make a movie. Like banks, they want their money back plus.
E.L. Doctorow had a quote I've used a lot of times, that the responsibility of the artist is to know the time in which he lives.
I think it's really important to be able to feel your own life, and I had felt so numbed by what had been a kind of surreal saturation of what was going on in the Middle East and what it was going to mean, particularly relative to my kids' future and things like that.
Your life is what you bring to any story. This is a life craft. It's "How do you feel? Who are you? What do you have to say?"
The horror of the Academy Awards is what the press does leading up to it, to make it a popular TV show. Where they'll actually make it like it's an arm- wrestling event between two actors. That becomes very petty, and that's something that's embarrassing to follow up with accepting the invitation to the party.
I've always operated under the notion that audiences don't always know when they're being lied to, but that they always know when they're being told the truth. If there are what I think are unsung truths to be talked about in a film, through a character, through a story, and that dominates the piece, that's the key for me. I think the biggest thing is to not participate in the damaging, lying cinema.
I don't consider myself specifically political, you know? I think of working as an actor as being a human thing. The concerns I have that fall into politics are human concerns.
The bigger issue is that it's an absolutely stupid notion that you should take the title of someone's profession and attach it to what they should not do. It has nothing to do with citizenry.
There's an interesting parallel between Bush [George W. Bush] and Richard Nixon. While Nixon was clearly a superior statesman and in many ways a more intelligent politician, what they share is a kind of boldness in how they emote their insecurities. What we're finding with George Bush, part of what's familiar to people and that adds to his likability for many, is that there's a commonality of deep insecurity and his handling it with a kind of bravado. What they both did is handle things with a similar certainty - certainty being the "disease of kings".
If the primary statement of the film is that if you have good abs it's OK to kill people, I pass.
 Nic Cage [Nicolas Cage] is no longer an actor. He's more like a performer.
[on his marriage to Madonna] She was in the process of becoming the biggest star in the world. I just wanted to make my films and hide. I was an angry young man. I had a lot of demons and don't really know who could've lived with me at the time. I was just as badly behaved as her, so I can't point the finger of blame.
I became an actor because of Robert De Niro.
(on his role in El asesinato de Richard Nixon (2004)) It was the hardest thing I've ever done. My wife thinks it's the best. I don't call it my best, because either I've done something well or I haven't. I think I did this one well. I'd go back and fix some things in everything I've done. Usually, if I've done something really well, I'd only re-shoot half the film.
[on Madonna] I met her on the shoot of that video ["Material Girl"]. Madonna had done "Like a Virgin", so she was a phenom, but nothing could have told anybody what would happen next. I describe that marriage as loud. That's how I remember it. And frankly, I don't recall having a single conversation in four years of marriage. I've talked to her a couple of times since, and there's a whole person there. I just didn't know it.
This might be the last thing anybody would see, but I'm probably shy. I've never gone to a party where I didn't drink alcohol. I have a great time, but I'm not comfortable. My straight nature is not very social. That doesn't mean I haven't caught myself being terribly arrogant.
With the Academy Awards, if you're standing there and looking out, you're not going to see many people who can find their butt with their hand.
I don't like any directors. I don't get along with any of them. Mostly I think they're a bunch of whiny people without any point of view. So I don't want to be around them at six o'clock in the morning with make-up and bells on. And I'm probably the same way for the actors on my set - but that's their problem.
[interview with Lynn Darling, 1991] The Madonna stuff just made it clear. After it was over, I could see what was left that I was in control of. I'm very fond of my ex-wife, but at 24, I didn't realize the difference between a great first date and a lifetime commitment.
[on Clint Eastwood] He's one of the few legends who isn't a disappointment.
[on how selections will be made while being the head jury member at Cannes in 2008] The best way to be honest is to try to emancipate ourselves from the effects of fashion, to try to find what will stay with us forever. We've got to do the opposite of the Academy that gives out the Oscars, where manipulation and very good marketing are rewarded.
[2008, on his love of road trips] I've been a road-rat since I got my drivers license at 16, so I've probably gone across America 20 times.
[backing Woody Harrelson for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar] The Messenger (2009) is one of those rare platforms for a familiar American actor to reinvent himself. Woody Harrelson conjures a heart and presence of previously untapped immensity and emotional power. He deserves a BIG nod. He's done the hardest thing an actor can do. He's made something new.
Let's face it. I'm a person that feels pretty alienated from the rest of the world and never felt understood by anyone.
(On Daniel Day-Lewis): He may very well be the greatest actor ever recorded to the screen.
[on Woody Allen] didn't ask to see or know anything [about my character] until he rolled the camera. His feeling is that the best, complete thing he's going to get is going to come out of the actor's instinct. And what he finds out on day one is whether or not he cast it well.
I do think that, in general, the standard of aspiration is low. Very low. And mostly they're just doing a bunch of monkey-fuck-rat movies, most actors and actresses. And I blame them just as much as I do the business. I know everybody wants to make some money, everybody's got a modeling contract, everybody's selling jewelry and perfume. I'm blinded by it.
In my teens, I fell in love with the movies. And so when I got involved I was a genius in terms of how the movies that were made in the generation that inspired me got made. But the financing wasn't there to do 'em anymore. Trauma. I'm caught in a business that I'm in love with the idea of - the whole process that's possible. Only now they're not making movies - they're representing them.
[on decadence in Hollywood culture] I think you're talking about a human weakness that's pervasive in all cultures of business, whether it be Hollywood or others. They talk about the drug culture, for example, in Hollywood. I've never gone anywhere that I didn't see a similar drug culture. We look everywhere to try and make a darkened penny a shiny one, and you're going to have both in your pocket.