Chris Penn: Wikis


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Chris Penn
Born Christopher Shannon Penn
October 10, 1965(1965-10-10)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Died January 24, 2006 (aged 40)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Other name(s) Christopher Penn
Occupation Actor
Years active 1979 – 2006

Christopher Shannon "Chris" Penn (October 10, 1965 – January 24, 2006) was an American film and television actor known for his roles in such films as Reservoir Dogs, Footloose, True Romance, All the Right Moves, and Pale Rider.



Personal life

Penn was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Leo Penn, an actor and director, and Eileen Ryan (née Annucci), an actress. His paternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Lithuania and Russia,[1] and his mother was a Roman Catholic of Italian and Irish descent.[2] According to Penn's mother, Leo Penn may have had distant Spanish ancestry, as the family's surname was originally "Piñón".[2] He had two older brothers, actor Sean Penn, and musician Michael Penn.

He was actress Sarah Jessica Parker's first serious boyfriend during the filming of 1984's Footloose.

Penn never married but from 1993 to 1999, he dated and lived with Filipino-American model Steffiana de la Cruz.


Penn started acting at the age of 12 at the Loft Studio and made his film debut in 1979’s Charlie and the Talking Buzzard starring Christopher Hanks. In 1983, he was featured in Francis Ford Coppola’s youth drama Rumble Fish and appeared in the high school football drama All the Right Moves as the best friend of Tom Cruise and a soon-to-be high school father. He also appeared in the hit dance movie Footloose in 1984, played a villain in the Clint Eastwood western Pale Rider (1985), and co-starred with his brother, Sean Penn, and mother Eileen Ryan in At Close Range (1986).

Penn was typically cast as a tough character, featured as a villain or a working-class lug, or in a comic role. Two of his more memorable performances came in Reservoir Dogs as Nice Guy Eddie and True Romance as Nicky Dimes (both characters in scripts written by Quentin Tarantino). In 1996, he won the best supporting actor at the Venice Film Festival for The Funeral. He appeared as the cocky fighter Travis Brickley in the films Best of the Best 1 & 2.

In Robert Altman’s ensemble film Short Cuts, Penn played a troubled pool cleaner who is disturbed by his wife’s profession; she is a telephone sex worker who takes calls from clients at home, to which Penn’s character is obliged to listen. The dramatic ending of the film features the climactic response of Penn’s character to this pent-up sexual frustration and feeling of powerlessness.

Penn appeared in many hit films in the 1980s and 1990s, such as Pale Rider, Footloose, All the Right Moves, Reservoir Dogs, and Rush Hour.

He also appeared as the couch-potato, drug-dealing, high school janitor in Murder by Numbers alongside Sandra Bullock.

Penn was meant to appear in American Pie 2 as Stifler's dad, but the scenes featuring him were eventually cut as there wasn't sufficient time to include him in the film's plot. However, they did appear on the deleted scene reel from the movie's DVD.

Penn was featured in an episode of the television crime drama Law & Order: Criminal Intent (Death Roe) during the 2004–2005 season. He was also featured on the 2004 video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as the voice of Officer Eddie Pulaski. Penn played himself on a 2005 episode of the HBO series Entourage.

He appeared in The Darwin Awards, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival one day before his death.

Penn also appeared on Jay-Z's "Can I Get A..." music video as the bartender mixing drinks and dancing.


Penn was found dead in his Santa Monica condominium on January 24, 2006, at the age of 40.

Although Penn had used multiple drugs in the past, an autopsy performed by a Los Angeles County Medical Examiner revealed the primary cause of death was "nonspecific cardiomyopathy" (heart disease), with the prescription drug promethazine with codeine and an enlarged heart being possible contributing circumstances. Sean Penn has said publicly in a TV interview on Larry King Live that his brother probably died because of his weight.[3]

There is conflicting information about Chris Penn’s age at the time of death, with some obituaries giving 1962 as his year of birth. His mother indicated that his date of birth was October 10, 1965, in the book about one of his brothers, Sean Penn: His Life and Times by Richard T. Kelly (2004).

Penn is interred in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.



  1. ^ Jews Flop in Big Oscar Award Wins. Jewish March 5, 2004.
  2. ^ a b Kelly, Richard T. Sean Penn: His Life and Times. Canongate U.S. 2004. ISBN 1841956236.
  3. ^ "Sean Penn: Chris's Weight Killed Him".,,1534751,00.html. 

External links

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