Sean Penn

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sean Penn (2013)

Sean Justin Penn [ ʃɔːn pɛn ] (born August 17, 1960 in Santa Monica , California ) is a multi-award-winning American actor , film director and screenwriter . He is regarded as one of the outstanding character actors in contemporary American film . As an actor, he was twice awarded an Oscar ; He was nominated for Best Actor three more times .


His father Leo Penn was a director , his mother Eileen Ryan an actress. It was clear to Sean from early childhood that he too would become an actor. His younger brother, Chris Penn , who died on January 24, 2006 , was also an internationally known actor. His older brother Michael Penn is a musician .

Together with his brother Chris and his friends Charlie Sheen , Emilio Estevez (both sons of Martin Sheen ) and Rob Lowe , he made numerous Super 8 short films in his youth . After high school he took acting lessons and worked on the side at the Group Repertory Theater in Los Angeles , not as an actor, but as an errand boy and assistant.

He made his debut on Broadway in the play Heartland . Hollywood soon became aware of Penn. In his first movie, The Cadets of Bunker Hill , he stood alongside Tom Cruise in front of the camera in 1981 . Because of his perfectionism and the meticulous preparation for his roles, he was also referred to as "Sean De Niro" (based on Robert De Niro as one of the most famous representatives of method acting ).

He had his first successes with the high school comedy I think I'm standing in the forest and with Dennis Hopper's socially critical police film Colors . His breakthrough came with films such as Carlito's Way , for which he received a Golden Globe nomination, and with Dead Man Walking - His Last Walk by Tim Robbins , an appeal against the death penalty that earned him an Oscar nomination. In 1999 and 2001 he was nominated for an Oscar for his leading roles in Woody Allen's comedy Sweet and Lowdown and in the disabled drama I Am Sam by Nick Cassavetes .

Penn also made a name for himself as a director. In 2000 he filmed the Dürrenmatt -novel The promise (The Pledge) with Jack Nicholson , 2007 reportage Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer . After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 , he made contributions to the episode film 11'09 "01 - September 11 with ten other directors . For his portrayal of the personal tragedy of a single old man (portrayed by the then 84-year-old Ernest Borgnine ) who did the Faced with attacks, he was heavily criticized.

Robin Wright and Sean Penn

Penn is considered a critic of Hollywood and a public shy. For many years he stayed away from the Academy Awards in protest against the film industry. When he received his fourth nomination for Mystic River in 2004 , he was forgiving and appeared at the request of his friend Clint Eastwood to the celebrations. Contrary to general expectations, he received the Oscar for best leading actor and was visibly touched.

In May 2008 he was the jury president at the 61st Cannes Film Festival . The following year, he received his second Oscar for Best Actor for his portrait of Harvey Milk in Gus Van Sant's biography Milk .

After marrying the pop singer Madonna in 1985, Penn was increasingly in the limelight. He developed a tense relationship with paparazzi in particular , for example attacking a paparazzo and holding another out of the window of a hotel. Madonna dedicated her album True Blue to him . In 1987 he was jailed for 60 days after a brawl and reckless driving. His cell neighbor there was serial killer Richard Ramírez , who was later sentenced to death . His marriage to Madonna was divorced in 1989. From 1996 to 2010 he was married to actress Robin Wright , with whom he has two children. His daughter Dylan is a model and actress. He named his son Hopper Jack after Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson .

Sean Penn was also a close friend of the author and poet Charles Bukowski , at whose funeral (1994) he was one of the pallbearers.

From December 2013 to June 2015, Penn was in a relationship with South African actress Charlize Theron .

Penn made negative headlines with a statement at the 2015 Academy Awards , Penn joked shortly before announcing the Best Picture Award winner, which went to Birdman ; "Who gave this son of a bitch his green card?" Penn addressed these words indirectly to the director of the film, Alejandro González Iñárritu , who is from Mexico. Iñárritu took this sentence as a joke, but Penn was still sharply criticized. Many felt the joke was racist against Latinos. Penn did not apologize for the sentence, instead he defended his statement as irony and described his critics as "flagrantly stupid".

In October 2015, Sean Penn and the Mexican actress Kate del Castillo , who is said to have initiated the meeting, met the leader of the Sinaloa cartel , El Chapo , in the Mexican jungle to conduct an interview with him. Guzmán escaped from a Mexican prison in July 2015 and was wanted worldwide. Penn was particularly criticized for the interview in the United States. Guzmán was arrested in January 2016.

In 2016 he received his second invitation to compete at the 66th Cannes International Film Festival as a director for The Last Face .

Social Commitment

Penn became involved against the Bush administration , among other things because of the Iraq invasion (Third Gulf War) and the threats of war against Iran . He is a member of “Not in our Name” (NION), a community movement of cultural greats that speaks out against war and reprisals .

He is a member of the advisory board and supporter of the marine conservation organization Sea Shepherd , which campaigns against whale , shark and seal hunting , among other things .

In early 2011, Penn was proposed by Hugo Chavez , President of Venezuela , as a possible US ambassador to the South American country. Chavez called Penn a "friend".

After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti , Penn founded the aid organization JP / HRO. On the site of a former golf course, he and his aid organization run a refugee camp, where 55,000 residents are at times. For this commitment he was awarded the Peace Summit Award of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in April 2012 .


As a performer

As a director


Sean Penn while filming Milk , 2008

Academy Awards ( Oscar )


  • 2004: Best Actor (Mystic River)
  • 2009: Best Actor (Milk)


  • 1996: as best leading actor (Dead Man Walking)
  • 2000: as best leading actor (Sweet and Lowdown)
  • 2001: as best leading actor (I am Sam)

Golden Globe


  • 2004: Best Actor in Mystic River


  • 1994: for Best Supporting Male Role in Carlito's Way
  • 2009: Best Actor in Milk


Cannes International Film Festival

Venice International Film Festival


Zurich Film Festival

Chlotrudis Award

  • 1996: Chlotrudis Award for Best Actor in Dead Man Walking
  • 2001: Nominated for Best Actor in Sweet and Lowdown

Producers Guild of America Awards

The Producers Guild of America Award in 2010 Penn was the first person with the Stanley Kramer Award excellent.

Golden Raspberry

With all the positive awards, Penn was also nominated for the Golden Raspberry in 1987 for the worst male leading actor in Shanghai Surprise . He finished fourth in the end.


  • Sean Penn: Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff: A novel Atria Books, New York 2018, ISBN 978-1501189043 (originally published as an audio book under the pseudonym Pappy Pariah )
  • Richard T. Kelly: Sean Penn. The authorized biography. riva, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-86883-159-7 (English original edition: Sean Penn: His Life and Times. Faber and Faber Limited, 2004)
  • Ben Kaufmann: 'An Aggregate of Every Moment Before.' American forms of uprooting and uprooting in Sean Penn's films. nomos, Baden-Baden 2017, ISBN 978-3-8487-4101-4

Web links

Commons : Sean Penn  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Similarly: "As an actor, Sean Penn is the only one who could inherit Robert De Niro.", Georg Seeßlen : Sean Penn - The Tramp in epd Film 1.2008, p. 16 ff.
  2. Seeßlen, op. a. O .: "Talented director".
  3. Seeßlen, op. a. O.
  4. Ravi Somaiya: Sean Penn: Mr Congeniality. The Daily Telegraph . October 14, 2007. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
  5. Shelby Grad: Sean Penn's unlikely pen pal: 'Night Stalker' Richard Ramirez. In: Los Angeles Times . March 10, 2015, accessed February 10, 2018 .
  6. Robin Wright + Sean Penn. Divorce, all peaceful. . Gala . August 5, 2010. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
  7. Did Charlize Theron & Sean Penn Get Engaged ?! (English). Retrieved September 28, 2014 .
  8. Charlize Theron and Sean Penn: That's why they split up. June 29, 2015, accessed October 13, 2015 .
  9. Sean Penn's outrageous 'joke' . CNN. February 24, 2015. Accessed March 18, 2015.
  10. Sean Penn's 'green card' joke sparks controversy at Oscars . CNN. February 23, 2015. Accessed March 18, 2015.
  11. Sean Penn won't apologize for Inarritu green card joke at Oscars . LA Times. March 9, 2015. Accessed March 18, 2015.
  12. Sean Penn surprised by 'flagrant stupidity' of reaction to his Oscars joke . The Guardian. March 9, 2015. Accessed March 18, 2015.
  13. Criticism of Sean Penn for "El Chapo" interview. Retrieved January 11, 2016 .
  14. ^ Walter Niederberger: A shameless interview. In: Tages-Anzeiger from January 13, 2016.
  15. Sean Penn: El Chapo Speaks. In: Rolling Stones of January 9, 2016.
  16. ^ Media and Arts Advisory Board. August 8, 2017, Retrieved July 7, 2020 (American English).
  17. Chavez wants Hollywood stars as US ambassadors , in: Spiegel Online , January 5, 2011. Accessed October 13, 2015.
  18. Haiti. Hollywood helpers. . Retrieved October 13, 2015.
  19. Moni Basu: Nobel laureates honor Sean Penn (English). CNN . March 21, 2012. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
  20. Beate Wild Austin: Penn's novel "Bob Honey". Sean is pretty trashy . In: . April 5, 2018, ISSN  0174-4917 ( [accessed April 9, 2018]).