The following biography
Sean Penn (born August 17, 1960 in Santa
Monica, California) is an American film actor. Penn is the son of
director Leo Penn, who was blacklisted during McCarthyism for refusing
to testify. He has two brothers: actor Chris Penn and musician Michael
Penn launched his career in the film Fast
Times at Ridgemont High in the role of Jeff Spicoli, and has since
starred in over 40 movies and won an Oscar for Mystic River. He has also
been nominated for three other Academy Awards for his roles in the films
I Am Sam, Sweet and Lowdown and Dead Man Walking.
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 has since directed two more
films, both starring Jack Nicholson, The Crossing Guard in 1995 and The
Pledge in 2001.
Penn's personal life has been a volatile
one. He married pop star Madonna in 1985, a relationship marred by
violent outbursts against the press intrusion into his life, including
one incident for which he was arrested. After a divorce in 1989, Penn
started a relationship with Robin Wright, with whom he had two children
before marrying her in 1996.
On October 18, 2002, Penn placed a $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. 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, largely eschewing meetings
with the press.
On April 10, 2003, Penn's limited-edition
1987 Buick Grand National, with two firearms in the trunk, was stolen in
Berkeley, California. Penn came under criticism that his gas-guzzling
car and gun ownership did not jibe with his advocacy of liberal causes.
On June 10, 2005, Penn made an unexpected
visit to Iran and attended Friday praying ceremony in Tehran University,
acting as a journalist on an assignment for the San Francisco Chronicle.
Penn is 5 feet, 8 inches (173 cm) tall.
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July 12, 2004
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