|Ambassador-at-large for Haiti|
January 31, 2012
Sean Justin Penn
August 17, 1960
Los Angeles County, California, United States
Chris Penn (brother)
Michael Penn (brother)
Sean Justin Penn (born August 17, 1960) is an American actor, film director and political activist. He has won two Academy Awards, for his roles in the mystery drama Mystic River (2003) and the biopic Milk (2008).
Penn began his acting career in television with a brief appearance in a 1974 episode of Little House on the Prairie, directed by his father Leo Penn. Following his film debut in 1981's drama Taps and a diverse range of film roles in the 1980s, including Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Penn garnered critical attention for his role in the crime drama Carlito's Way (1993). He became known as a prominent leading actor with the 1995 drama Dead Man Walking, for which he earned his first Academy Award nomination and the Best Actor Award at the Berlin Film Festival. Penn received another two Oscar nominations for Woody Allen's comedy-drama Sweet and Lowdown (1999) and the drama I Am Sam (2001), before winning his first Academy Award for Best Actor in 2003 for Mystic River and a second one in 2008 for Milk. He has also won a Best Actor Award of the Cannes Film Festival for the Nick Cassavetes-directed She's So Lovely (1997), and two Best Actor Awards at the Venice Film Festival for the indie film Hurlyburly (1998) and the drama 21 Grams (2003).
Penn made his feature film directorial debut with 1991's The Indian Runner, followed by the drama film The Crossing Guard (1995) and the mystery film The Pledge (2001). In 2002, Penn directed one of the 11 segments of 11'09"01 September 11, a compilation film made in response to the September 11 attacks. His fourth feature film, the biographical drama survival movie Into the Wild (2007), garnered critical acclaim and two Academy Award nominations.
In addition to his film work, Penn is known for his political and social activism, most notably his criticism of the Venezuela and Cuba, and his humanitarian work in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Penn also attracted media attention for his previous marriages to Madonna and actress Robin Wright.
- Early life 1
- Acting 2.1
- Directing 2.2
- Personal relationships and violence issues 3
Political and social causes 4
- Criticism of President Bush 4.1
- Hurricane Katrina 4.2
- Support for same-sex marriage 4.3
- Haiti Relief Efforts Following 2010 Earthquake 4.4
- Pakistan 4.5
- Release of Jacob Ostreicher from Bolivian prison 4.6
- Defense of Hugo Chávez 5.1
- Falkland Islands controversy 5.2
- Oscar green card joke 5.3
- Lee Daniels lawsuit 5.4
- Filmography 6
- See also 7
- References 8
- External links 9
Penn was born in Los Angeles County, California, the son of actor and director Leo Penn and actress Eileen Ryan (née Annucci). His older brother is musician Michael Penn. His younger brother, actor Chris Penn, died in 2006. His paternal grandparents were Jewish emigrants from Lithuania and Russia, while his mother is a Catholic of Irish and Italian descent. Penn was raised in a secular home, and attended Santa Monica High School. He began making short films with some of his childhood friends, including actors Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen, who lived near his home.
Penn appeared in a 1974 episode of the Little House on the Prairie television series as an extra when his father, Leo, directed some of the episodes. He launched his film career with the 1981 action-drama Taps, where he played a military high school cadet. A year later, he appeared in the hit comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High, in the role of surfer-stoner Jeff Spicoli, with his character helping popularize the word "dude" in popular culture. In 1983, Penn appeared as Mick O'Brien, a troubled youth, in the drama Bad Boys. The role earned Penn favorable reviews and jump-started his career as a serious actor.
In 1985, Penn played Andrew Daulton Lee in the film The Falcon and the Snowman, which closely followed an actual criminal case. Lee was a former drug dealer by trade, convicted of espionage for the Soviet Union and originally sentenced to life in prison, later being paroled in 1998. Penn later hired Lee as his personal assistant, partly because he wanted to reward Lee for allowing him to play Lee in the film; he was also a firm believer in rehabilitation and thought Lee should be successfully reintegrated into society, since he was a free man again. In 1986, Penn starred in the drama At Close Range which received critical acclaim. He stopped acting for a few years in the early 1990s, having been dissatisfied with the industry, and focused on making his directing debut.
Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor five times, he has won the award twice. The Academy first recognized his work in nominating him for playing a racist murderer on death row in the 1995 drama film Dead Man Walking. He was nominated again for his comedic performance as an egotistical jazz guitarist in the 1999 film Sweet and Lowdown. He received his third nomination after portraying a mentally handicapped father in 2001's I am Sam. Penn finally won for his role in the 2003 Boston crime-drama Mystic River. In 2004, he played a disturbed man bent on killing the president in The Assassination of Richard Nixon. That year, he was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
In 2006, Penn portrayed governor Willie Stark (based on Huey Long) in an adaptation of the classic American novel All the King's Men. The film was a critical and commercial failure, named by a 2010 Forbes article as the biggest flop in the last five years. In November 2008, he earned positive reviews for his portrayal of real-life gay-rights icon and politician Harvey Milk in the biopic Milk, and was nominated for best actor for the 2008 Independent Spirit Awards. The film also earned Penn his fifth nomination and second win for the Academy Award for Best Actor. In 2010, he starred as Joseph C. Wilson in Fair Game, a film adaptation of Valerie Plame's 2007 memoir. He co-starred in the drama The Tree of Life, which won the Palme d'Or at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
In 2015, Penn starred in The Gunman, a French-American action thriller based on the novel The Prone Gunman, by Jean-Patrick Manchette. Jasmine Trinca, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance and fellow Oscar-winner Javier Bardem appear in supporting roles. Penn plays Jim Terrier, a sniper on a mercenary assassination team who kills the minister of mines of the Congo. Terrier's kill shot forces him into hiding. Returning to the Congo years later, he becomes the target of a hit squad himself.
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" and Lyle Lovett's "North Dakota" in 1993, and Peter Gabriel's "The Barry Williams Show" in 2002. He has since directed three more films, all of which were well received by critics: the indie thriller The Crossing Guard in 1995, the mystery film The Pledge in 2001, and the biographical drama survival film Into the Wild in 2007. Penn is currently working on The Last Face, in which he will also star.
Personal relationships and violence issues
Penn was engaged to actress Elizabeth McGovern, his co-star in 1984's Racing with the Moon. Penn's personal life began to attract media attention when he married pop singer Madonna in 1985. The two starred in the panned and much-derided Shanghai Surprise, directed by Jim Goddard, and Madonna dedicated her third studio album True Blue to Penn, referring to him in the liner notes as "the coolest guy in the universe". The relationship was marred by violent outbursts against the press, including one incident when he was arrested for assaulting a photographer on a film set; Penn was sentenced to 60 days in jail in mid-1987, of which he served 33 days. Around the same time, he struck Madonna, his wife at the time, over the head with a baseball bat, although she did not press charges. It was alleged that he had tied Madonna to a chair for nine hours and beat her, with the incident only ending when she escaped to a police station. Penn and Madonna divorced in 1989. In 1988, TMZ reported that Penn would be charged with misdemeanor assault, following an incident in Brentwood, California, in which Penn allegedly kicked a photographer, breaking his camera.
After the end of his first marriage, Penn soon began a relationship with actress Robin Wright, and their first child, a daughter named Dylan Frances, was born in 1991. Their second child, a son whom they named Hopper Jack, was born in 1993.
Penn and Wright separated in 1995 during which time he developed a relationship with Jewel after he spotted her performing on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. He invited her to compose a song for his film The Crossing Guard and followed her on tour.
Penn and Wright reconciled and married on April 27, 1996, and lived in Ross, California. The couple filed for divorce in December 2007, but reconciled several months later, requesting a court dismissal of their divorce case. In April 2009, Penn filed for legal separation, only to withdraw the case once again when the couple reconciled in May. On August 12, 2009, Wright Penn filed for divorce again. The couple's divorce was finalized on July 22, 2010, with the couple reaching a private agreement on child and spousal support, division of assets, and custody of Hopper, who was almost 17 at the time.
Penn dated actress Scarlett Johansson briefly in 2011.
In December 2013 he began dating actress Charlize Theron. The two announced their engagement in December 2014 before Theron abruptly ended their relationship in June 2015.
Penn has been active in supporting numerous political and social causes. On December 13–16, 2002, Sean Penn visited War in Iraq. On December 18, 2006, Penn received the Christopher Reeve First Amendment Award from the Creative Coalition for his commitment to free speech. In August 2008, Penn made an appearance at one of Ralph Nader's "Open the Debates" Super Rallies. He protested the political exclusion of Nader and other third parties. In October 2008, Penn traveled to Cuba, where he met with and interviewed President Raúl Castro. In February 2012, he stood beside Hugo Chávez while Venezuela supported the Syrian government during the 2011–2012 Syrian uprising.
Criticism of President Bush
On October 18, 2002, Penn placed a US$56,000 advertisement in the impeached, and also called Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "villainously and criminally obscene people.". In August 2007, Penn met with Chávez in Caracas for two hours, after which Chávez praised him for urging Americans to impeach Bush. Penn also visited a new film studio on the outskirts of Caracas, though he did not speak publicly.
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 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 pocket– those who bathe in the moisture of your soiled and blood-soaked underwear– can take that noise and shove it." He won the contest with 10,000,000 points to Colbert's 1. On December 7, 2007, Penn said he supported Ohio Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich for U.S. President in 2008, and criticized Bush's handling of the Iraq war. Penn questioned whether Bush's twin daughters supported the war in Iraq.
In September 2005, Penn traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana to aid Hurricane Katrina victims. He was physically involved in rescuing people, although there was criticism that his involvement was a PR stunt as he hired a photographer to come along with his entourage. Penn denied such accusations in an article he wrote for The Huffington Post. Director Spike Lee interviewed Penn for his documentary about Hurricane Katrina, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.
Support for same-sex marriage
On February 22, 2009, Penn received the Academy Award for Best Actor for the film Milk. In his acceptance speech, he said: "I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren's eyes if they continue that way of support. We've got to have equal rights for everyone!"
Haiti Relief Efforts Following 2010 Earthquake
- Sean Penn at the Internet Movie Database
- Sean Penn at the Internet Broadway Database
- Interview, April 8, 2005Guardian
- magazine interview/profileEsquire
- San Francisco ChronicleSean Penn's visit to Iran at the
- Smiles for Smirks by Sean Penn, The Huffington Post, April 21, 2009
- Sean Penn on Managing a Tent Camp of 55,000 Displaced Haitians – video report by Democracy Now!
"Sean Penn Biography (1960-)". FilmReference.com. Retrieved 2014-01-13.
Sean Justin Penn; born August 17, 1960, in Santa Monica (some sources cite Burbank or Los Angeles), CA...
- "California Births, 1905–1995". Familytreelegends.com. August 17, 1960. Retrieved January 23, 2009.
- Jews Flop in Big Oscar Award Wins. Jewish Journal.com. March 5, 2004.
- Sean Penn Genealogy.
- Kelly, Richard T. (2004). Sean Penn: His Life and Times.
- According to Penn's mother, Leo Penn may have had distant Sephardic Jewish ancestry, as his family's surname was originally "Piñón".
- Abramowitz, Rachel (January 6, 2002). "Don't Get Him Started". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
- Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 1999
- When Sean's having fun, it's hard to imagine having more fun. Guardian Unlimited. April 8, 2005.
- "Academy Invites 127 to Membership" (Press release). Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. June 28, 2004. Archived from the original on June 30, 2004.
- Pomerantz, Dorothy. Hollywood's Biggest Flops: Big-name stars weren't enough to save these box-office bombs, Forbes, January 22, 2010.
- Maxwell, Erin (December 3, 2008). "Spirit Award nominees announced". work. Retrieved January 23, 2009.
Sean Penn film directorial venture reviews:
- The Crossing Guard Nytimes
- Film: Bad Boy
- The Pledge Nytimes.com
- Sydney Morning HeraldInto the Wild
- "Madonna's love history". The Daily Telegraph (UK). October 15, 2008. Retrieved April 14, 2011.
- Ciccone, Christopher (2008). Life with My Sister Madonna, Simon & Schuster, pp. 144–150. ISBN 1-4165-8762-4.
- Pisani, Louisa (March 14, 2015). "Why would anyone want to date Sean Penn?".
- Boshoff, Alison (March 1, 2009). "Is Madonna still in love with Sean Penn, the man who beat her up with a baseball bat?".
- Smith, Olivia (February 19, 2010). "Sean Penn to be charged with battery, vandalism; could land actor in jail for year and a half".
- Schillaci, Sophie. "'"Jewel Reveals Pre-Fame Relationship With Sean Penn: 'I Liked His Mind. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
- Storey, Kate (September 30, 2013). "Penn kids ready to break out". New York Post. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- White, Nicholas (December 27, 2007). "Sean Penn and Robin Wright Penn Divorcing".
- "Sean Penn Files for Legal Separation". People. April 29, 2009. Retrieved September 16, 2009.
- Reaney, Patricia (April 9, 2008). "Sean Penn, wife Robin end divorce proceeding". Reuters.
- "Sean Penn withdraws separation filing".
- Lee, Ken (August 18, 2009). "Robin Wright Penn Files for Divorce".
- Silverman, Stephen M. (August 17, 2009). "Robin Wright Penn Relishes Her New Independence".
- Oh, Eunice (August 4, 2010). "Sean Penn and Robin Wright Finalize Their Divorce".
- "'"The real reason behind Scarlett Johansson and Sean Penn's split... Commitment-phobe actor 'did not want to be tied down. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- "Driving him crazy! Sean Penn enjoys a passionate kiss from Charlize Theron behind the wheel in LA".
- Lee, Esther. "Sean Penn, Charlize Theron Split, Break Off Engagement: Breakup Details". Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- Penn, Sean. Sean Penn in Iran. San Francisco Chronicle. August 23, 2005.
- The Creative Coalition Announces Presenters for 2006 Christopher Reeve First Amendment Award and 2006 Spotlight Awards. The Creative Coalition. December 2006.
- "Sean Penn, Val Kilmer, Tom Morello, Cindy Sheehan at Nader/Gonzalez Super Rally in Denver — Ralph Nader for President in 2008". Votenader.org. August 19, 2008. Retrieved January 23, 2009.
- Lacey, Marc (November 26, 2008). "Sean Penn Interviews Raúl Castro". The New York Times. Retrieved January 23, 2009.
- "Exclusive: Venezuela ships fuel to war-torn Syria". Reuters. February 16, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
- Bowles, Scott (September 18, 2006). Sean Penn plays politics. USA Today.
- "Sean Penn Letter to Washington Post". Snopes. Retrieved January 23, 2009.
- Rees, Paul: 'Listen very carefully, I will say this only once', Q, May 2003, pp84-92
- Somaiya, Ravi (October 14, 2007). "Sean Penn: Mr Congeniality".
- James, Ian. Sean Penn Praised by Venezuela's Chavez. Breitbart.com. August 2, 2007.
- "Sean Penn Unloads on Pres. Bush". FOX News. March 27, 2007.
- "Metaphor Alert". New York Post. March 27, 2007.
- "Stephen Colbert vs Sean Penn". Crooks and Liars. March 27, 2007.
- An Open Letter to the President...Four and a Half Years Later Huffington Post.com. March 24, 2007.
- Many celebrities have helped with New Orleans recovery efforts. International Herald Tribune. December 14, 2007.
- Penn's rescue attempt springs a leak. The Sydney Morning Herald. September 5, 2005.
- Penn, Sean (November 30, 2008). "Mountain of Snakes".
- Post Reply (February 22, 2009). "Sean Penn Oscar Speech". Mahalo.com. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
- "Sean Penn: It's time to seize opportunities in Haiti". The World Bank. 3 May 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
- "Haitian Relief Organization". Jphro.org. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
- """Haiti names Sean Penn "ambassador at large. CBS News. January 31, 2012.
- Razaq Khatti (March 24, 2012). "Hollywood visitor: Sean Penn comes to Badin".
- Mahim Maher (March 24, 2012). "Sean Penn comes to Pakistan".
- APP (March 25, 2012). "Actor Sean Penn visits Edhi Centre, Karachi". DAWN.COM. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
- "Orthodox Jewish Captive Jacob Ostreicher Reveals How Sean Penn Nursed Him Back to Health in His Own Home". The Algemeiner. 21 May 2014. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
- Carroll, Rory (March 11, 2010). "Sean Penn: Journalists who call Hugo Chávez a dictator should be jailed". The Guardian (London).
- Hugo Chavez's death draws sympathy, anger
- Dispute: Argentine union to boycott UK ships/ "Falklands dispute: Argentine union to boycott UK ships" . BBC. February 14, 2012.
- "Sean Penn backs Argentina over Falkland Islands". London: The Guardian. February 14, 2012.
- The world can't tolerate anymore ridiculous colonialism,' Sean Penn says after meeting CFK"'".
- "Sean Penn should return his Malibu estate to the Mexicans". London: The Daily Telegraph. February 15, 2012.
- Collins, Lauren (February 15, 2012). "SEAN PENN’S FALKLANDS WAR".
- Topping, Alexandra (February 15, 2012). "Sean Penn hits out at Prince William's Falklands posting".
- Penn, Sean (February 23, 2012). "Sean Penn: The Malvinas/Falklands – diplomacy interrupted". The Guardian (London).
- Watt, Nicholas (February 23, 2012). "Sean Penn calls for Britain to negotiate with Argentina over Falklands". The Guardian (London).
- "'"Sean Penn's outrageous 'joke. CNN. 2015-02-24. Retrieved 2015-03-18.
- "Sean Penn's 'green card' joke sparks controversy at Oscars". CNN. 2015-02-23. Retrieved 2015-03-18.
- "Sean Penn won't apologize for Inarritu green card joke at Oscars". LA Times. 2015-03-09. Retrieved 2015-03-18.
- "Sean Penn surprised by 'flagrant stupidity' of reaction to his Oscars joke". The Guardian. 2015-03-09. Retrieved 2015-03-18.
- Rose, Lacey. Empire's' "Batshit Crazy" Behind-the-Scenes Drama: On the Set of TV’s Hottest Show"'". Retrieved 23 September 2015.
- Gardner, Eriq. "Sean Penn Files $10 Million Defamation Lawsuit Against 'Empire' Co-Creator Lee Daniels". Retrieved 23 September 2015.
In an interview published September 16, 2015 director and showrunner Lee Daniels responded to criticism about Terrence Howard's continued career in light of his domestic issues by referencing Penn's history of domestic violence saying "[Terrence] ain't done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden he's some f—in' demon." In response Penn launched a $10 million defamation suit against Daniels alleging that he had never been formally arrested for or charged with domestic violence.
Lee Daniels lawsuit
This caused some people to be offended by the comments, deeming them racist towards Latin Americans, and offensive to those who attempt to legally immigrate into the United States. Iñarritu said that it was a joke between him and Penn, who worked together on 21 Grams, and that he found it "hilarious". Penn later went on record defending his comments, saying, "I have absolutely no apologies. In fact, I have a big fuck you for every...anybody who is so stupid not to have gotten the irony when you've got a country that is so xenophobic. If they had their way, you wouldn't have great filmmakers like Alejandro working in this country. Thank God we do."
At the 87th Academy Awards, Penn presented the award for Best Picture. Before presenting the award to Mexican Alejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman, Penn questioned, "Who gave this son of a bitch his green card?" .
Oscar green card joke
Penn later claimed that he had been misrepresented by the British press and that his criticism of "colonialism" was a reference to the deployment of Prince William as an air-sea rescue pilot, describing it as a "message of pre-emptive intimidation". He claimed that the Prince's posting meant "the automatic deployment of warships", and stated: "My oh my, aren't people sensitive to the word 'colonialism', particularly those who implement colonialism." In a piece written in The Guardian, Penn wrote that "the legalisation of Argentinian immigration to the Malvinas/Falkland Islands is one that it seems might have been addressed, but for the speculative discovery of booming offshore oil in the surrounding seas this past year". He further wrote that "irresponsible journalism" had suggested "that I had taken a specific position against those currently residing in the Malvinas/Falkland Islands, that they should either be deported or absorbed into Argentine rule. I neither said, nor insinuated that".
The comments were taken as support of Argentina's claim to the islands and evoked strong reactions in the British media, with one satirical article in The Daily Telegraph requesting that Penn "return his Malibu estate to the Mexicans". Lauren Collins of The New Yorker wrote: "As of today, Sean Penn is the new Karl Lagerfeld—the man upon whom, having disrespected something dear to the United Kingdom, the British papers most gleefully pile contempt".
In February 2012, Penn met with the President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in Buenos Aires where he made a statement on the long-running dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the Falkland Islands, saying: "I know I came in a very sensitive moment in terms of diplomacy between Argentina and the UK over the Malvinas islands. And I hope that diplomats can establish true dialogue in order to solve the conflict as the world today cannot tolerate ridiculous demonstrations of colonialism. The way of dialogue is the only way to achieve a better solution for both nations."
Falkland Islands controversy
In March 2010, Penn called for the arrest of those referring to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez as a dictator. The two were friends, and when Chávez died, Penn said: "Venezuela and its revolution will endure under the proven leadership of Vice President (Nicolás) Maduro. Today the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion. I lost a friend I was blessed to have."
Defense of Hugo Chávez
Penn is believed to have played a role in getting American entrepreneur Jacob Ostreicher released from a Bolivian prison in 2013, and was credited by Ostreicher for having personally nursed him back to health upon his release.
Release of Jacob Ostreicher from Bolivian prison
Penn gained significant attention in the Pakistan media when he visited Karachi and Badin in 2012. On 23 March 2012, he visited flood-stricken villages of Karim Bux Jamali, Dargah Shah Gurio and Peero Lashari in Badin District. He was accompanied by US Consul General Willian J. Martin and distributed blankets, quilts, kitchen items and other goods amongst flood survivors. On 24 March 2012, Penn also visited Bilquis Edhi Female Child Home and met Pakistan’s iconic humanitarian worker Abdul Sattar Edhi and his wife, Bilquis Edhi. He also laid floral wreaths and paid respect at the shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi.
 as Ambassador-at-Large for Haiti, the first time that a non-Haitian citizen has been designated as such in the country's history. Penn received the designation on January 31, 2012.Michel Martelly Due to his visibility as an on-the-ground advocate for rescue and aid efforts in the aftermath, Penn was designated by president  which has been running a 55,000 person tent camp.