Sean Penn (born 17.8.1960) is an Oscar-winning American actor and film director.
Childhood: Sean Penn was born to Leo and Eileen Penn in Los Angeles County, California. His father was an actor and a director and his mother was an actress. Sean's brother Chris, an actor, died in 2006. His brother Michael is a musician.
Career: In 1974, Sean Penn appeared in an episode of Little House on the Prairie. His father was in the director's chair at the time.
In 1981, Penn launched his film debut, when he starred in Taps, which also featured Tom Cruise and Timothy Hutton. The following year, he appeared in Cameron Crowe's Fast Times at Ridgemont High. The popular comedy also starred Pheobe Cates, Nicolas Cage, Forest Whitaker and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
1983's Bad Boys saw Sean Penn give one of his best performances, playing a troubled youth. Two years later, he gave another memorable performance in The Falcon and the Snowman, playing the real-life character of Andrew Daulton Lee, a former drug dealer convicted of espionage. Once again, he was sharing the screen with Timothy Hutton. In 1998, when Anthony Daulton Lee was released from jail, Sean Penn hired him as his personal assistant to repay him for allowing him to play Lee in the film, and to help rehabilitate him into society.
Penn then starred opposite Christopher Walken in At Close Range. The film also starred Madonna, to whom he was married at the time.
In 1995, Sean Penn was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for the first time when he played a racist murderer on death row, in Tim Robbins' Dead Man Walking. Four years later, he was recognised for his performance in Woody Allen's Sweet and Lowdown. In 2001's I Am Sam, he played a mentally-handicapped father, with Michelle Pfeiffer, Laura Dern and Dakota Fanning and was nominated once more. It was in 2003 that Sean Penn finally won the award for his role in Clint Eastwood's Mystic River, with Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne and Laura Linney. Penn was nominated for the Best Actor award again for his role in The Assassination of Richard Nixon in 2004. The film also starred Naomi Watts, Don Cheadle and Jack Thompson. In 2008, Sean Penn won his second Oscar for his role playing the gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk, in the Gus Van Sant-directed Milk, alongside Josh Brolin and Emile Hirsch.
Sean Penn's directorial debut came in 1991 with the Indian Runner. The film was based on a Bruce Springsteen song, 'Highway Patrolman' and starred Viggo Mortensen, Dennis Hopper and Patricia Arquette. He went on to direct three more films, The Crossing Guard in 1995 (starring Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Houston), The Pledge in 2001 (with Jack Nicholson again and Benicio Del Toro) and Into the Wild in 2007 (with Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden and Vince Vaughn).
Penn also directed music videos for Shania Twain ('Dance With the One That Brought You') and Peter Gabriel ('The Barry Williams Show').
Personal Life: Sean Penn has dated a number of high profile women, including Elizabeth McGovern and Susan Sarandon.
Penn was married to the singer and actress Madonna. They divorced in 1989. Sean Penn then began a relationship with Robin Wright. They had a daughter together, named Dylan Thomas, then a son named Hopper Jack. Sean and Robin married in 1996. Their relationship has seen a number of turbulent periods. They originally split in 2007 and eventually filed for divorce in 2009.
During a separation from his wife, Sean Penn dated the singer Jewel.
Sean Penn co-owns a restaurant in Paris, named Man-Ray, with Johnny Depp, John Malkovich and Mick Hucknall.
Biography by Contactmusic.com