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  • Christopher Penn
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Chris Penn (1965)

Christopher Shannon Penn

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  Summary  

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 The Wild Life, Reservoir Dogs, Footloose, Rush Hour, True Romance, All the Right Moves and Pale Rider.

  Biography  

 early life
Penn was born in Los Angeles, California, the youngest 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, and his mother was a Roman Catholic of Italian and Irish descent. According to Penn's mother, Leo Penn may have had distant Spanish ancestry, as the family's surname was originally "Piñón". His brothers are actor Sean Penn and musician Michael Penn.

 career
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's character. He also appeared in the hit dance movie Footloose in 1984; played a villain in the Clint Eastwood western Pale Rider ; and co-starred with his brother Sean Penn and mother Eileen Ryan in At Close Range .

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 were in Reservoir Dogs as Nice Guy Eddie and True Romance as Nicky Dimes . In 1996 he won the award for Best Supporting Actor at the Venice Film Festival for The Funeral.

Penn, who had a black belt in karate, appeared in the 1989 motion picture Best of the Best as Travis Brickley, a cocky member of the U.S. karate team taking on the team from Korea. The film also starred James Earl Jones, Sally Kirkland, Eric Roberts, Phillip Rhee and Simon Rhee. Penn reprised his role in 1993’s Best of the Best 2.

In Robert Altman's ensemble film Short Cuts, Penn played a troubled swimming pool cleaner who is disturbed by his wife’s profession to which Penn’s character is obliged to listen. He also appeared as a fall guy in a criminal conspiracy in Murder by Numbers alongside Sandra Bullock.

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

In 2003, he appeared on the Will & Grace episode, Fanilow as Barry Manilow's tour director and a character who is interested romantically in Will. 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 after his death.

Penn appears in Jay-Z's "Can I Get A..." music video as a bartender who mixes drinks and dances.

 death
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" , 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.

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 Richard T. Kelly's book, Sean Penn: His Life and Times .

Penn is interred in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. Penn is cited in the End Credits of Rush Hour 3.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Chris Penn", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.