Sean Penn Biography

(Best Known for His Roles in the Films: 'Mystic River' and 'Milk')

Birthday: August 17, 1960 (Leo)

Born In: Santa Monica, California, United States

Sean Penn is an American actor and filmmaker. He is as famous for his acting skills as for his controversies. Hollywood has seen many stars, but not many are as controversial as Sean Penn. Starting his film career in the 1980s, Penn was all set to establish a career in Hollywood. However, his life took an interesting turn when he married pop singer Madonna. What followed was a series of controversial events which even landed him in jail. This was a big deviation from his film career. After a break from acting, Penn reinvented himself and made an inspiring comeback. He proved his acting prowess by winning the coveted ‘Academy Award’ twice, for his portrayals in ‘Mystic River’ and ‘Milk.’ He branched into direction with the movie ‘The Indian Runner’ and went on to direct several other successful films. In addition to his acting, he is also known for his political activism and humanitarian work. In 2005, he traveled to New Orleans to aid ‘Hurricane Katrina’ victims. Penn founded the ‘J/P Haitian Relief Organization’ after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. In 2012, he visited the flood-stricken villages of Pakistan which gave him significant media attention.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Sean Justin Penn

Age: 63 Years, 63 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Madonna (m. 1985–1989), Robin Wright (m. 1996–2010)

father: Leo Penn

mother: Eileen Ryan (née Annucci)

siblings: Chris Penn, Michael Penn

children: Dylan Frances Penn, Hopper Jack Penn

Born Country: United States

Quotes By Sean Penn Jewish Actors

Height: 5'8" (173 cm), 5'8" Males

political ideology: Democratic

Ancestry: Irish American, Italian American, Russian American, Lithuanian American

U.S. State: California

City: Santa Monica, California

Childhood & Early Life
Sean Penn was born on August 17, 1960, in Santa Monica, California, USA, to director Leo Penn and actor Eileen Ryan. His two siblings are Michael Penn, a musician, and Chris Penn, an actor who died in 2006.
Raised in a secular home, Penn went to ‘Santa Monica High School’ and was soon making short films with his neighborhood friends.
Continue Reading Below
In 1974, Penn appeared in an episode of the television series ‘Little House on the Prairie’ which had a few episodes directed by his father.
He made his film debut with the movie ‘Taps’ in 1981. The following year, he appeared in the successful comedy film ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High.’
In 1983, he played the character of a troubled youth in ‘Bad Boys,’ winning appreciation for his acting skills.
In 1985, Penn was seen in ‘The Falcon and the Snowman.’ The next year, he appeared in the drama film ‘At Close Range,’ which featured Madonna’s single, ‘Live to Tell.’
He took a break from his acting career to work as a director during the early-1990s. His first film as a director was ‘The Indian Runner’ which released in 1991.
Coming back from a hiatus, he appeared in films, such as ‘The Last Party’ and ‘Carlito’s Way’ in 1993. Two years later, he was seen in ‘Dead Man Walking.’ The same year, he worked as a director in ‘The Crossing Guard.’
The year 1997 was a productive one for Penn. He was seen in several movies like ‘Loved,’ ‘She’s So Lovely,’ ‘U Turn,’ ‘The Game,’ and ‘Hugo Pool.’
For his portrayal of ‘Emmett Ray’ in Woody Allen’s ‘Sweet and Lowdown’ in 1999, he received an ‘Academy Award’ nomination. He was also seen in a small role in ‘Being John Malkovich.’
His next film ‘I am Sam’ was released in 2001 and his work in the film received immense critical appreciation. His third directorial venture ‘The Pledge’ released the same year.
Continue Reading Below
In 2003, he appeared in ‘Mystic River’ which was directed by Clint Eastwood. Penn won an ‘Academy Award’ for his work in the film. He was also seen in the movie ‘21 Grams.’
He was seen in ‘The Assassination of Richard Nixon’ in 2004. The same year, he was invited to be a member of the ‘Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.’
Two years later in 2006, he played ‘Governor Willie Stark’ in the film adaptation of the novel ‘All the King’s Men.’ The film was a commercial failure and received negative reviews from the critics.
In 2007, his directorial movie ‘Into the Wild’ was released. The film received a lot of appreciation from the critics, and the film’s music became popular.
Penn won another ‘Academy Award’ for his impeccable portrayal of gay icon Harvey Milk in the biopic ‘Milk’ (2008). He received praises for his work, and also won several other awards.
In 2010, he worked in ‘Fair Game.’ The following year, he was seen in ‘The Tree of Life’ which won him awards at the ‘Cannes Film Festival.’
In 2013, he worked in movies, such as ‘Gangster Squad’ and ‘The Secret Life of Walter Willy.’
In 2015, he was seen in the action thriller film ‘The Gunman.’ He also voiced a character in the 2016 animated film ‘The Angry Birds Movie.’
‘Atria Books’ published Penn's novel ‘Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff’ on March 2018. In 2019, he played the role of ‘Dr. William Chester Minor’ in the biographical drama film ‘The Professor and the Madman.’
Continue Reading Below
Major Works
After a string of movies, which won him nominations at various award ceremonies, Penn finally won the ‘Academy Award’ for his role in the movie ‘Mystic River.’ The film received great critical appreciation and garnered $156,822,020 at the box office.
‘Milk’ was one of his most significant works and established him as a bankable actor. The movie also won him several awards, including the ‘Academy Award’ for ‘Best Actor.’
Awards & Achievements
In 2003, Penn won the ‘Academy Award’ for ‘Best Actor’ for his role in the film ‘Mystic River.’
He won his second ‘Academy Award’ for ‘Best Actor’ for his critically acclaimed portrayal of a gay politician in the movie ‘Milk’ in 2008.
Personal Life & Legacy
Penn was engaged to Elizabeth McGovern. However, he went on to marry Madonna in 1985. After being charged for domestic violence, the couple divorced in 1989.
He dated actor Robin Wright—and the couple had two children, a daughter named Dylan Frances and a son named Hopper Jack—before getting married in 1996. The couple divorced in 2010.
Penn began dating actor Charlize Theron on December 2013. The two had announced their engagement on December 2014. However, Theron ended their relationship on June 2015.
This Oscar Award-winning actor is an avid surfer.

Sean Penn Movies

1. Bad Boys (1983)

  (Thriller, Crime, Drama)

2. Mystic River (2003)

  (Crime, Drama, Thriller, Mystery)

3. Into the Wild (2007)

  (Drama, Adventure, Biography)

4. The Game (1997)

  (Thriller, Drama, Mystery)

5. Carlito's Way (1993)

  (Drama, Crime, Thriller)

6. 21 Grams (2003)

  (Thriller, Drama, Crime)

7. I Am Sam (2001)


8. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

  (Comedy, Drama)

9. Dead Man Walking (1995)

  (Crime, Drama)

10. The Thin Red Line (1998)

  (Drama, War)


Academy Awards(Oscars)
2009 Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role Milk (2008)
2004 Best Actor in a Leading Role Mystic River (2003)
Golden Globe Awards
2004 Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama Mystic River (2003)

Follow Sean Penn On:

See the events in life of Sean Penn in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Sean Penn Biography
- Editors,

People Also Viewed

Leo Penn Biography
Leo Penn
Macaulay Culkin Biography
Macaulay Culkin
Timothée Chalamet Biography
Timothée Chalamet
Alan Ritchson Biography
Alan Ritchson
Jodie Foster Biography
Jodie Foster
Dwayne Johnson Biography
Dwayne Johnson
Leonardo DiCaprio Biography
Leonardo DiCaprio
Katt Williams Biography
Katt Williams