- 10:25 AM, Feb 28
Labeled "a human tempest and an actor of sizable gifts" by The New York Times, Sean Justin Penn is probably the only actor of Hollywood to gain such contrasting remark due to his bad temper and extraordinary acting talent. Aside from the ruckus he had caused toward the media, he is really one of America's best thespians for his capability of presenting any kind of roles in convincing manner so that his characters really go deep into the mind and heart of every audience. Lots of prestigious awards along with considerable recognition he has acquired throughout his career are the sufficient proof to point out that he indeed deserves all the huge accolades addressed to him.
A unique blend of Irish, Lithuanian, Russian, and Jewish ancestry, Sean was born on August 17, 1960 in Santa Monica, California as the second son of late director Leo Penn and actress Eileen Ryan. He was raised along with his two brothers, Chris Penn and Michael Penn, in different parts of California's San Fernando Valley before the family ultimately settled in Malibu. Being familiar to entertainment industry since he was merely a child, this blue-eyed boy gradually developed a deep love for acting which later led to a decision to enter the Los Angeles Repertory Theater Company, skipping his study of Auto Mechanics and Speech at Santa Monica College for two years. Conducted some physical works in the backstage, such as cleaning and carrying things, he eventually managed to be an assistant to actor/director Pat Hingle and even had the chance to direct a one-act play entitled "Terrible Jim Fitch."
Also polishing his acting skills under the guidance of veteran drama instructor, Peggy Feury, Sean took advantage of his father's profession to make his first screen appearance at age 19 through an unaccredited role in "The Voice of Tinker Jones", one of the episodes of famous TV series "Little House on The Prairie" (1974-1983) that Leo directed. He repeated the same formula when taking a one-line part in an episode of "Barnaby Jones" (1973-1980) and "Hellinger's Law" (1981) before acquired a supporting role in an acclaimed TV movie, "The Killing of Randy Webster" (1981). Intended to be independent in developing his career and to find better opportunity, the aspiring actor then headed for New York where he successfully encountered his film debut in Harold Becker's drama flick entitled "Taps" (1981) alongside Tom Cruise.