77 Facts About Sean Penn


Sean Penn has won Academy Awards for his roles in the mystery drama Mystic River and the biopic Milk.


Sean Penn became known as a prominent leading actor with the drama Dead Man Walking, for which he earned his first Academy Award nomination and the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the Berlin Film Festival.


Sean Penn received another two Oscar nominations for Woody Allen's comedy-drama Sweet and Lowdown and the drama I Am Sam, before winning his first Academy Award for Best Actor in 2003 for Mystic River and a second one in 2008 for Milk.


Sean Penn has won a Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival for the Nick Cassavetes-directed She's So Lovely, and two Volpi Cups for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival for the indie film Hurlyburly and the drama 21 Grams.


Sean Penn made his feature film directorial debut with The Indian Runner, followed by the drama film The Crossing Guard and the mystery film The Pledge ; all three were critically well received.


Sean Penn was born in Santa Monica, California, to actor and director Leo Sean Penn and actress Eileen Ryan.


Sean Penn's father was Jewish, the son of emigrants from Merkine, Lithuania, while his mother was a Catholic of Irish and Italian descent.


Sean Penn was raised in a secular home in Malibu, California, and attended Malibu Park Junior High School and Santa Monica High School, as Malibu had no high school at that time.


Sean Penn began making short films with some of his childhood friends including actors Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen, who lived near his home.


Sean Penn appeared in a 1974 episode of the Little House on the Prairie television series as an extra when his father, Leo, directed some of the episodes.


Sean Penn launched his film career with the action-drama Taps, where he played a military high school cadet.


Sean Penn played Andrew Daulton Lee in the film The Falcon and the Snowman, which closely followed an actual criminal case.


Sean Penn later hired Lee as his personal assistant, partly because he wanted to reward Lee for allowing him to play Lee in the film; Sean Penn was a firm believer in rehabilitation and thought Lee should be successfully reintegrated into society, since he was a free man again.


Sean Penn starred in the drama At Close Range which received critical acclaim.


Sean Penn stopped acting for a few years in the early 1990s, having been dissatisfied with the industry, and focused on making his directing debut.


Sean Penn was nominated again for his comedic performance as an egotistical jazz guitarist in the Woody Allen film Sweet and Lowdown.


Sean Penn received his third nomination after portraying a mentally handicapped father in I am Sam.


Sean Penn finally won for his role in the Boston crime drama Mystic River.


In 2004, Sean Penn played Samuel Bicke, a character based on Samuel Byck, who in 1974 attempted and failed to assassinate President Richard Nixon, in The Assassination of Richard Nixon.


In November 2008, Sean Penn earned positive reviews for his portrayal of real-life politician and gay rights icon Harvey Milk in the biopic Milk, and was nominated for Best Actor for the 2008 Independent Spirit Awards.


In Fair Game, Penn starred as Joseph C Wilson, whose wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a CIA agent by Bush advisor Scooter Libby in retaliation for an article Wilson wrote debunking Bush's claim that Iraq was building a nuclear bomb as a rationale for invading the country.


Sean Penn co-starred in the drama The Tree of Life, which won the Palme d'Or at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.


In 2015, Sean Penn starred in The Gunman, a French-American action thriller based on the novel The Prone Gunman, by Jean-Patrick Manchette.


In 2021, Sean Penn portrayed Jack Holden, an actor based on William Holden, in the comedy-drama Licorice Pizza.


Sean Penn made his directorial debut with The Indian Runner, a crime drama film based on Bruce Springsteen's song "Highway Patrolman", from the album Nebraska.


Sean Penn has since directed three more films, all well received by critics: the indie thriller The Crossing Guard, the mystery film The Pledge, and the biographical drama survival film Into the Wild.


Sean Penn claimed that he no longer had "a generic interest in making films", and being a writer will "dominate my creative energies for the foreseeable future".


Sean Penn was engaged to actress Elizabeth McGovern, his co-star in Racing with the Moon.


Sean Penn met singer-songwriter Madonna on set of her "Material Girl" music video in January 1985.


In January 1989, Madonna filed for divorce again and reportedly withdrew an assault complaint against Sean Penn following an incident at their Malibu, California, home during the New Year weekend.


Sean Penn was alleged to have struck Madonna on multiple occasions during their marriage.


In 1989, Sean Penn began dating actress Robin Wright, and their first child, a daughter named Dylan Frances, was born April 13,1991.


Sean Penn invited her to compose a song for his film The Crossing Guard and followed her on tour.


Sean Penn reconciled with Wright and they married on April 27,1996.


In December 2013, Sean Penn began dating South African actress Charlize Theron.


Sean Penn began a relationship with Australian actress Leila George in 2016.


In October 1985, Sean Penn pled no contest to charges that he assaulted two journalists when they tried to photograph him and Madonna in Nashville in June 1985.


Sean Penn was fined $50 on each of two misdemeanor charges of assault and battery.


In January 1986, Sean Penn was charged for allegedly assaulting Leonel Borralho, Macau correspondent for the Hong Kong Standard newspaper, after he photographed Madonna and Sean Penn as they arrived at their hotel room.


In June 1986, Sean Penn was charged with misdemeanor battery for assaulting songwriter David Wolinski at Helena's nightclub in Los Angeles.


Wolinski said Sean Penn accused him of trying to kiss Madonna.


Sean Penn was sentenced to 60 days in jail for this assault and reckless driving in June 1987, of which he served 33 days.


In May 2010, Sean Penn pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge stemming from an altercation with photographer Frank Mateljan in October 2009.


Sean Penn was sentenced to perform 300 hours of community service and undergo 36 hours of anger management counseling.


Sean Penn has been outspoken in supporting numerous political and social causes.


On January 7,2006, Sean Penn was a special guest at the Progressive Democrats of America, where he was joined by author and media critic Norman Solomon and activist Cindy Sheehan.


On December 18,2006, Sean Penn received the Christopher Reeve First Amendment Award from the Creative Coalition for his commitment to free speech.


Sean Penn protested against the political exclusion of Nader and other third parties.


In October 2008, Sean Penn traveled to Cuba, where he met with and interviewed President Raul Castro.


In 2021, Sean Penn denounced cancel culture, describing it as "ludicrous".


On October 18,2002, Penn placed a $56,000 advertisement in The Washington Post asking then President George W Bush to end a cycle of violence.


In one of his televised speeches, Chavez used and read aloud an open letter Sean Penn wrote to Bush.


On December 7,2007, Penn said he supported Ohio Congressman Dennis J Kucinich for US president in 2008, and criticized Bush's handling of the Iraq war.


Sean Penn questioned whether Bush's daughters, Jenna and Barbara, supported the war in Iraq.


In September 2005, Sean Penn traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana, to aid Hurricane Katrina victims.


Sean Penn was physically involved in rescuing people, although there was criticism that his involvement was a PR stunt as he hired a photographer to come along with his entourage.


Sean Penn denied such accusations in an article he wrote for The Huffington Post.


In 2012, at the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, Sean Penn received the Peace Summit Award.


On February 22,2009, Sean Penn received the Academy Award for Best Actor for the film Milk.


Sean Penn gained significant attention in the Pakistan media when he visited Karachi and Badin in 2012.


Sean Penn was accompanied by US Consul General William J Martin and distributed blankets, quilts, kitchen items and other goods amongst flood survivors.


On March 24,2012, Sean Penn visited Bilquis Edhi Female Child Home and met Pakistan's iconic humanitarian worker Abdul Sattar Edhi and his wife, Bilquis Edhi.


Sean Penn laid floral wreaths and paid respect at the shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi.


Sean Penn is believed to have played a role in getting American entrepreneur Jacob Ostreicher released from a Bolivian prison in 2013, and was credited by Ostreicher for having personally nursed him back to health upon his release.


Sean Penn is the founder of the nonprofit organization Community Organized Relief Effort, which has distributed aid to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew as well as administering free COVID-19 tests in the US amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


In October 2020, Sean Penn tweeted in support of Armenia with regard to the Nagorno-Karabakh war between Armenia and Azerbaijan.


Sean Penn spent time in Ukraine filming a documentary about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Sean Penn attended press briefings in Kyiv, met with officials and spoke to journalists and military personnel about the Russian invasion.


In March 2010, Sean Penn called for the imprisonment of journalists who referred to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as a dictator.


Sean Penn's remarks received backlash from conservative and libertarian media sources, including National Review and Reason.


Actress Maria Conchita Alonso, who co-starred with Penn in Colors, issued an "Open Letter to Sean Penn", attacking his views on Chavez.


Sean Penn later claimed that he had been misrepresented by the British press and that his criticism of "colonialism" was a reference to the deployment of Prince William as an air-sea rescue pilot, describing it as a "message of pre-emptive intimidation".


At the 87th Academy Awards in 2015, Sean Penn presented the award for Best Picture.


Sean Penn dropped the lawsuit in May 2016 after Daniels retracted his statement and apologized.


Sean Penn has appeared in more than 50 films and won many awards during his career as an actor and director.


Sean Penn has won two Academy Awards for Best Actor for Mystic River and Milk, and was nominated three more times in the same category for Dead Man Walking, Sweet and Lowdown, and I Am Sam.


Sean Penn received a Directors Guild of America nomination for directing Into the Wild.