Sean Penn has picked up this year's (04) JOHN STEINBECK AWARD, which honours outspoken artists.

The movie star was presented with his honour by pal Bruce Springsteen, who picked up the award in 1996.

Speaking at a low-key award ceremony in San Francisco, California, earlier this month (10SEP04), Springsteen said, "My friend Sean Penn is very cool. He has a little bit of that 1940s Robert Mitchum cool.

"He risks his coolness with the choices he makes. He never cheats the audience. You know when you see his movies he's gonna show you the goods."

On a personal note, Springsteen admitted he has respected the actor ever since Penn dated his sister: "My admiration even survived his dating my sister - but it was close."

20/09/2004 21:04