Sean Penn is a powerhouse film performer capable of intensely moving work, who has gone from strength to strength during a colourful film career, and who has drawn much media attention for his stormy private life and political viewpoints.
Sean Justin Penn was born in Los Angeles, California, the second son of actress Eileen Ryan (née Annucci) and director, actor, and writer Leo Penn. His brother was actor Chris Penn. His father was from a Lithuanian Jewish/Russian Jewish family, and his mother is of half Italian and half Irish descent.
Penn first appeared in roles as strong-headed or unruly youths such as the military cadet defending his academy against closure in Taps (1981), then as fast-talking surfer stoner Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982).
Fans and critics were enthused about his obvious talent and he next contributed a stellar performance alongside Timothy Hutton in the Cold War spy thriller The Falcon and the Snowman (1985), followed by a teaming with icy C