American actor-director Sean Justin Penn, popularly known as Sean Penn, was born today in 1960 California. Winner of two Academy Awards for his roles in the mystery drama Mystic River (2003) and the biopic Milk (2008), Penn is known for his filmmaking and social- political activism.
He began his acting career in television with a brief appearance on Little House on the Prairie. Meanwhile, he made his feature film debut with Taps (1981) and his first directorial venture was The Indian Runner (1991).
As he turns 59 today, we look at the actor’s five most memorable films:
Milk: Penn won his second Academy Award for playing Harvey Milk in this movie. Directed by Gus Van Sant from a Dustin Lance Black screenplay, it is a biopic on an activist whose promising political career was cut short when he was assassinated by a fellow member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1978. While it did not earn much at the box office, it earned a lot of appreciation for Penn.
Dead Man Walking: Inspired by true events, it stars Penn as a death row inmate and Susan Sarandon as Sister Helen Prejean, a real-life nun, who comforts the convicted killer and his empathetic towards both his and the victim’s families. Sarandon won an Oscar for this movie.
Bad Boys: Rick Rosenthal’s grim teen drama has Penn play a petty gangster, the rival of Esai Morales’ character. Their standoffs ultimately land them both in the same hellish juvenile correctional facility.
Mystic River: It won him Penn his first Academy Award. In the film, he plays Jimmy Markum, a gangster whose life is upended when his daughter is murdered. The investigation rekindles his connection with an old friend who’s grown up to be a police detective. Together, they have to face the possibility that the crime could have been committed by another of their buddies from adolescent days.
At Close Range: Penn starred with his his brother Chris in this James Foley’s 1986 bleak crime drama. It’s the story of a crime lord whose return from exile upends the lives of his grown sons.
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