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Sean Justin Penn (born August 17, 1960) is an American film actor and director, also known for his political activism.He is a two-time Academy Award winner for his roles in Mystic River and Milk, as well as the recipient of a Golden Globe Award for the former and a Screen Actors Guild Award for the latter. His paternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Lithuania and Russia, while his mother is a Catholic of Italian and Irish descent. According to Penn's mother, Leo Penn may have had distant Spanish ancestry, as his family's surname was originally "Piñón". Penn was raised in a secular home and is an agnostic. He attended Santa Monica High School. Acting career Penn appeared in a 1974 episode of the Little House on the Prairie television series as a then blond-haired extra when his father, Leo, directed some of the episodes.He received his fifth nomination and second win for his role as the charismatic and vibrant gay politician Harvey Milk in the 2008 film Milk.He was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2004. In 2006 he portrayed populist governor Willie Stark (based on Huey Long) in an adaptation of the classic American novel All the King's Men, though the film was a critical and commercial failure.The music video for the song, which featured clips from the film, played heavily on MTV and helped promote the film. Penn, nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor five times, has won the award twice.The academy first recognized his work playing a racist murderer on death row in Tim Robbins' 1995 drama Dead Man Walking.He has since directed three more films, all of which were well-received by critics: The Crossing Guard in 1995, The Pledge in 2001, and Into the Wild in 2007.Personal life Penn was supposedly engaged to actress Elizabeth Mc Govern, his co-star in 1984's Racing with the Moon, after which he dated Susan Sarandon.
Their second child, a son whom they named Hopper Jack, was born in 1993.
Early life Penn was born in Los Angeles County, California, the son of actor and director Leo Penn and Eileen Ryan (née Annucci), an actress. Penn launched his film career with the 1981 film Taps, where he played a key role as a military high school cadet opposite protagonist Timothy Hutton.
Tom Cruise also made one of his first film appearances as another cadet in the action-drama.
In November 2008, Penn earned rave reviews for his portrayal of real-life gay-rights icon and politician Harvey Milk in the biopic Milk and was nominated for best actor for the 2008 Independent Spirit Awards. Director In 1991, Penn made his directorial debut with The Indian Runner, a film based on Bruce Springsteen's song "Highway Patrolman" from the Nebraska album.
He also directed music videos, such as Shania Twain's "Dance with the One That Brought You" in 1993 and Peter Gabriel's "The Barry Williams Show" in 2002.