Sean Penn Biography

Sean Justin Penn is an Academy award winning American actor, screenwriter and director, known for his films like ‘Mystic River’ and ‘Milk’. If you would like to learn more about his profile, childhood, life and timeline, scroll further.

Quick Facts

Birthday: August 17, 1960

Nationality: American

Famous: Jewish Actors Actors

Age: 59 Years, 59 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Leo

Also Known As: Sean Justin Penn

Born in: Los Angeles County, California, U.S

Famous as: Academy Award Winning Actor

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

political ideology: Democratic


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

U.S. State: California

More Facts

education: Santa Monica High School

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Rarely do we come across an actor who is as famous for his acting skills as for his controversies. Hollywood has seen many stars, but not many are more controversial than Sean Penn. Starting his film career in the 1980s, Penn was all set to make a career in the mighty Hollywood. His life took a turn and he married pop singer Madonna,. What followed was a flailing relation with the paparazzi and issues of domestic instability which even landed him in jail. This was a big deviation from his film career and no one expected what followed. After a break from acting, Penn reinvented himself and came back to Hollywood with a bang. He showed 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. From rubbishing the comments of Tinseltown to criticizing America’s foreign policy, he has constantly remained at the edge of criticism and never failed to create a mighty uproar. In addition to his acting, he is also known for his political activism and humanitarian work.

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Childhood & Early Life
  • Sean Penn was born on August 17, 1960, in Los Angeles, California. He as the second child of director Leo Penn and actress Eileen Ryan. His other 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 neighbourhood friends.
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  • 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’ featuring his then-wife 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 was released in 1991.
  • Coming out of his hiatus, he appeared in the film ‘The Last Party’ and ‘Carlito’s Way’, in 1993. Two years later, he was seen in ‘Dead Man Walking’. The same year, he also released ‘The Crossing Guard’ as a director.
  • 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.
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  • In 2003, he appeared in ‘Mystic River’ directed by Clint Eastwood and finally won an Academy Award for his work. He was also seen in the movie ‘21 grams’.
  • He was seen in ‘The Assassination of Richard Nixon’ in 2004 and 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 garnering many negative reviews.
  • In 2007, his directorial movie ‘Into the Wild’ was released. The film gained a lot of appreciation from the critics and the music of the film became a rage.
  • Penn won another Academy Award for his impeccable portrayal of gay icon Harvey Milk in the biopic ‘Milk’ (2008). He won great praise for his work and also won several other awards.
  • In 2010, he worked in ‘Fair Game’ and the following year, he was seen in ‘The Tree of Life’ which also 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’
Major Works
  • After a string of movies which won him nominations for his work, Penn finally won the Academy Award for his role in the movie ‘Mystic River’. The film was just a beginning to his other creative ventures. 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 in another league. 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 the 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 actress 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.
  • This Oscar Award winning actor is an avid surfer.

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. Dead Man Walking (1995)

  (Crime, Drama)


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)

See the events in life of Sean Penn in Chronological Order

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Last Updated
- July 21, 2017
Sean Penn

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