Best known for his starring role as Kumar Patel in "Harold & Kumar" film series, Kal Penn was no stranger to acting since his school years. Attending the Freehold Regional High School District's Performing Arts High School, he participated in the school's theater productions. He did so too when studying at the UCLA's prestigious School of Theatre, Film and Television. Performing in several school's productions in the 1990s, he simultaneously landed guest roles on TV series, including "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", "Spin City" and "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch".
Making his big screen debut in the 1998 "Express: Aisle to Glory", Penn had since starred in "American Desi" (2001), "National Lampoon's Van Wilder" (2002), and "Love Don't Cost a Thing" (2003). His breakthrough in film approached after he was tapped to portray Indian American student Kumar Patel in comedy feature "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" (2004). He also reprised his role in its sequels "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay" (2008) and "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas" (2011). Besides the film franchises, Penn also had starring roles in "Superman Returns" (2006) as well as "National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj" (2006).
Big screen aside, Penn had appeared in a bunch of TV series, like "ER", "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit", "24", also "How I Met Your Mother". One TV show that made him popular was FOX's medical drama "House", in which he starred as Dr. Lawrence Kutner.
Penn, who was born Kalpen Suresh Modi on April 23, 1977 in Montclair, New Jersey, is also actively involved in politics. Back in 2009, he joined the Obama administration as an Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. He briefly resigned in 2010 to make a comeback to acting and returned to the White House Office of Public Engagement as an Associate Director. In July 2011, he left the White House for one more time and has since returned.