US actor and director. Known for his portrayal of troubled and violent characters, he successfully branched out into more diverse roles in the late 1990s. He received Academy Award nominations for his roles as a prisoner on death row in Dead Man Walking (1995); as an insufferable jazz guitarist in Woody Allen's Sweet and Lowdown (1999); and as a developmentally disabled father in I Am Sam (2001). He won Academy Awards for Best Actor for the Clint Eastwood drama Mystic River (2003) and the biographical film of a gay rights activist Milk (2008).
Other films include the drama Colors (1988), about gang violence in Los Angeles, the Vietnam War film Casualties of War (1989), the gangster film Carlito's Way (1993), the World War II film The Thin Red Line (1998), the dramas 21 Grams (2003) and The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2004), a remake of the drama All the King's Men (2006), and the thriller Fair Game (2010). He directed The Indian Runner (1991), The Crossing Guard (1995), and The Pledge (2001).
Penn was born in Burbank, California. He was married to the pop star Madonna 1985–89.