From a stoned surfer to a gay rights activist and politician, Sean Penn has had a long and varied career. It’s not surprising, considering that it started all the way back in 1974 with a tiny role in Little House on the Prairie.
Despite his early start, it was only once he broke into film in the 80s, with memorable performances in Taps and Fast Times at Ridgemont High, that he started coming to people’s attention.
His work has ensured that we know exactly who Sean Penn is today, but here are a few facts about the actor you might not have known.
- Penn didn’t have to audition for his role in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. He landed the part after a quick chat before his scheduled audition.
- His parents were both actors; and so are his children, Dylan and Hopper.
- The love for film clearly runs in the family: his younger brother Chris was also an actor. You may remember him from his roles in Reservoir Dogs and Footloose.
- There may be a lot of actors in the family, but his older brother chose a slightly different path: Michael Penn is a singer-songwriter.
- Penn was often associated with the Brat Pack in the ‘80s. You can read about them here.
- There are two Oscars decorating his mantelpiece (or wherever he chooses to keep them): one for Mystic River and one for Milk. Both awards were for the category “Best Actor”.
- Past loves include Robin Wright (House of Cards) and Madonna – both of whom he married. Other ladies in his life included actresses Elizabeth McGovern and Charlize Theron, as well as singer Jewel.
- He’s also worked behind the camera, making his directorial debut in 1991 with the film The Indian Runner.
- Until 2000 no actor, except for Woody Allen himself, had ever been nominated for an Oscar for an Allen-directed film. Penn changed that in 2000 when he was nominated for Sweet and Lowdown.
- His next role will be as the seventh POTUS, Andrew Jackson, in the green-lighted HBO mini-series American Lion.
Watch Sean Penn in your Sunday night movie, The Gunman, on 10 April at 20:05 on M-Net.