Sean Justin Penn (born August 17, 1960) is an American actor, director, and filmmaker. He has won two Academy Awards, for his roles in the mystery drama Mystic River (2003) and the biopic Milk (2008).
Sean Penn in October 2013
Sean Justin Penn
August 17, 1960
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
|Children||2, including Dylan Penn|
|Relatives||Chris Penn (brother)|
Michael Penn (brother)
Penn began his acting career in television, with a brief appearance in episode 112 of Little House on the Prairie on December 4, 1974, and directed by his father Leo Penn. Following his film debut in the drama Taps (1981), and a diverse range of film roles in the 1980s, including Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), Penn garnered critical attention for his roles in the crime dramas At Close Range (1986), State of Grace (1990), and Carlito's Way (1993). He became known as a prominent leading actor with the drama Dead Man Walking (1995), for which he earned his first Academy Award nomination and the Best Actor Award at the Berlin Film Festival. Penn received another two Oscar nominations for Woody Allen's comedy-drama Sweet and Lowdown (1999) and the drama I Am Sam (2001), before winning his first Academy Award for Best Actor in 2003 for Mystic River and a second one in 2008 for Milk. He has also won a Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival for the Nick Cassavetes-directed She's So Lovely (1997), and two Best Actor Awards at the Venice Film Festival for the indie film Hurlyburly (1998) and the drama 21 Grams (2003).
Penn made his feature film directorial debut with The Indian Runner (1991), followed by the drama film The Crossing Guard (1995) and the mystery film The Pledge (2001). Penn directed one of the 11 segments of 11'09"01 September 11 (2002), a compilation film made in response to the September 11 attacks. His fourth feature film, the biographical drama survival movie Into the Wild (2007), garnered critical acclaim and two Academy Award nominations.
In addition to his film work, Penn has engaged in political and social activism, including his criticism of the George W. Bush administration, his contact with the Presidents of Cuba and Venezuela, and his humanitarian work in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Sean Justin Penn was born in Santa Monica, California, on August 17, 1960, to actor and director Leo Penn, and actress Eileen Ryan (née Annucci). His older brother is musician Michael Penn. His younger brother, actor Chris Penn, died in 2006. His paternal grandparents were Ashkenazi Jewish emigrants from Lithuania and Russia, while his mother is a Catholic of Irish and Italian descent. Penn was raised in a secular home and attended Santa Monica High School. He began making short films with some of his childhood friends, including actors Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen, who lived near his home.
Penn appeared in a 1974 episode of the Little House on the Prairie television series as an extra when his father, Leo, directed some of the episodes. Penn launched his film career with the action-drama Taps (1981), where he played a military high school cadet. A year later, he appeared in the hit comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), in the role of surfer-stoner Jeff Spicoli; his character helped popularize the word "dude" in popular culture. Next, Penn appeared as Mick O'Brien, a troubled youth, in the drama Bad Boys (1983). The role earned Penn favorable reviews and jump-started his career as a serious actor.
Penn played Andrew Daulton Lee in the film The Falcon and the Snowman (1985), which closely followed an actual criminal case. Lee was a former drug dealer by trade, convicted of espionage for the Soviet Union and originally sentenced to life in prison, but was paroled in 1998. Penn later hired Lee as his personal assistant, partly because he wanted to reward Lee for allowing him to play Lee in the film; Penn was also a firm believer in rehabilitation and thought Lee should be successfully reintegrated into society, since he was a free man again.
Penn starred in the drama At Close Range (1986) which received critical acclaim. He stopped acting for a few years in the early 1990s, having been dissatisfied with the industry, and focused on making his directing debut.
The Academy Awards first recognized his work in nominating him for playing a racist murderer on death row in the drama film Dead Man Walking (1995). He was nominated again for his comedic performance as an egotistical jazz guitarist in the film Sweet and Lowdown (1999). He received his third nomination after portraying a mentally handicapped father in I am Sam (2001). Penn finally won for his role in the Boston crime-drama Mystic River (2003). In 2004, Penn played Samuel Bicke, a character based on Samuel Byck, who in 1974 attempted and failed to assassinate President Richard Nixon, in The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2004). The same year, he was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Next, Penn portrayed governor Willie Stark (based on Huey Long) in an adaptation of Robert Penn Warren's classic 1946 American novel All the King's Men (2006). The film was a critical and commercial failure, named by a 2010 Forbes article as the biggest flop in the last five years.
In November 2008, Penn earned positive reviews for his portrayal of real-life gay-rights icon and politician Harvey Milk in the biopic Milk (2008), and was nominated for best actor for the 2008 Independent Spirit Awards. The film also earned Penn his fifth nomination and second win for the Academy Award for Best Actor. Penn starred as Joseph C. Wilson in Fair Game (2010), a film adaptation of Valerie Plame's 2007 memoir. He co-starred in the drama The Tree of Life (2011), which won the Palme d'Or at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. In 2015, Penn starred in The Gunman, a French-American action thriller based on the novel The Prone Gunman, by Jean-Patrick Manchette. Jasmine Trinca, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance, and fellow Oscar-winner Javier Bardem appear in supporting roles. Penn plays Jim Terrier, a sniper on a mercenary assassination team who kills the minister of mines of the Congo.
Penn made his directorial debut with The Indian Runner (1991), a crime drama film based on Bruce Springsteen's song "Highway Patrolman", from the album Nebraska (1982). He also directed music videos, such as Shania Twain's "Dance with the One That Brought You" (1993), Lyle Lovett's "North Dakota" (1993), and Peter Gabriel's "The Barry Williams Show" (2002). He has since directed three more films, all well received by critics: the indie thriller The Crossing Guard (1995), the mystery film The Pledge (2001), and the biographical drama survival film Into the Wild (2007). Penn's fifth directorial feature The Last Face (2016) premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.
In March 2018, Atria Books published Penn's novel Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff. After the book's release, Penn went on a highly publicized press tour. He claimed that he no longer had "a generic interest in making films", and being a writer will "dominate my creative energies for the foreseeable future."
He met pop singer Madonna in February 1985,and they married that August on her birthday. The two starred in the panned and much-derided Shanghai Surprise (1986), directed by Jim Goddard, and Madonna dedicated her third studio album True Blue (1986) to Penn, referring to him in the liner notes as "the coolest guy in the universe". The relationship was marred by violent outbursts against the press, including one incident when Penn was arrested for assaulting a photographer on a film set; Penn was sentenced to 60 days in jail in mid-1987, of which he served 33 days. Madonna filed for divorce in December 1987 but later withdrew the papers, only to file them again in January 1989. Madonna reportedly filed an assault complaint that she was beaten in her Malibu, California home by her estranged husband, but in January 1989, the Associated Press reported that she had "dropped assault charges." Penn was alleged to have struck Madonna on multiple occasions, but in 2015 Madonna stated the allegations were "completely outrageous, malicious, reckless, and false".
At the end of his first marriage, Penn moved in with actress Robin Wright, and their first child, a daughter named Dylan Frances, was born April 13, 1991. Their second child, son Hopper Jack, was born August 6, 1993.
Penn and Wright separated in 1995, during which time he developed a relationship with Jewel, after he spotted her performing on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. He invited her to compose a song for his film The Crossing Guard (1995) and followed her on tour.
Penn and Wright reconciled, married on April 27, 1996, and lived in Ross, California. The couple filed for divorce in December 2007 but reconciled several months later, requesting a court dismissal of their divorce case.
In April 2009, Penn filed for legal separation, only to withdraw the case once again when the couple reconciled in May. On August 12, 2009, Wright Penn filed for divorce again. The couple's divorce was finalized on July 22, 2010; the couple reached a private agreement on child and spousal support, division of assets, and custody of Hopper, who was almost 17 at the time.
In December 2013, Penn began dating actress Charlize Theron. The two announced their engagement in December 2014. Theron ended their relationship in June 2015.
Political views and activism
Penn has been outspoken in supporting numerous political and social causes. On December 13–16, 2002, he visited Iraq to protest the Bush Administration's apparent plans for a military strike on Iraq. On June 10, 2005, Penn made a visit to Iran. Acting as a journalist on an assignment for the San Francisco Chronicle, he attended a Friday prayer at Tehran University. On January 7, 2006, Penn was a special guest at the Progressive Democrats of America, where he was joined by author and media critic Norman Solomon, Democratic congressional candidate Charles Brown, and activist Cindy Sheehan. The "Out of Iraq Forum", which took place in Sacramento, California, was organized to promote the anti-war movement calling for an end to the War in Iraq.
On December 18, 2006, Penn received the Christopher Reeve First Amendment Award from the Creative Coalition for his commitment to free speech. In August 2008, Penn made an appearance at one of Ralph Nader's "Open the Debates" Super Rallies. He protested the political exclusion of Nader and other third parties. In October 2008, Penn traveled to Cuba, where he met with and interviewed President Raúl Castro. In February 2012, he stood beside Hugo Chávez while Venezuela supported the Syrian government during the 2011–2012 Syrian uprising.
Criticism of President Bush
On October 18, 2002, Penn placed a US$56,000 advertisement in the Washington Post asking then President George W. Bush to end a cycle of violence. It was written as an open letter and referred to the planned attack on Iraq and the War on Terror.
In the letter, Penn also criticized the Bush administration for its "deconstruction of civil liberties" and its "simplistic and inflammatory view of good and evil." Penn visited Iraq briefly in December 2002. "Sean is one of the few," remarked his ex-wife Madonna. "Good for him. Most celebrities are keeping their heads down. Nobody wants to be unpopular. But then Americans, by and large, are pretty ignorant of what's going on in the world." The Post advertisement was cited as a primary reason for the development of his relationship with Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. In one of his televised speeches, Chávez used and read aloud an open letter Penn wrote to Bush. The letter condemned the Iraq War, called for Bush to be impeached, and also called Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "villainously and criminally obscene people."
On April 19, 2007, Penn appeared on The Colbert Report and had a "Meta-Free-Phor-All" versus Stephen Colbert that was judged by Robert Pinsky. This stemmed from some of Penn's criticisms of Bush. His exact quote was "We cower as you point your fingers telling us to support our troops. You and the smarmy pundits in your pocket– those who bathe in the moisture of your soiled and blood-soaked underwear– can take that noise and shove it." He won the contest with 10,000,000 points to Colbert's 1. On December 7, 2007, Penn said he supported Ohio Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich for U.S. President in 2008, and criticized Bush's handling of the Iraq war. Penn questioned whether Bush's twin daughters supported the war in Iraq.
In September 2005, Penn traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana, to aid Hurricane Katrina victims. He was physically involved in rescuing people, although there was criticism that his involvement was a PR stunt as he hired a photographer to come along with his entourage. Penn denied such accusations in an article he wrote for The Huffington Post. Director Spike Lee interviewed Penn for Lee's documentary about Hurricane Katrina, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006).
Support for same-sex marriage
On February 22, 2009, Penn received the Academy Award for Best Actor for the film Milk. In his acceptance speech, he said: "I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren's eyes if they continue that way of support. We've got to have equal rights for everyone!"
Relief efforts following 2010 Haiti earthquake
After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Penn founded the J/P Haitian Relief Organization, which has been running a 55,000 person tent camp. Due to his visibility as an on-the-ground advocate for rescue and aid efforts in the aftermath, Penn was designated by president Michel Martelly as Ambassador-at-Large for Haiti, the first time that a non-Haitian citizen has been designated as such in the country's history. Penn received the designation on January 31, 2012.
Penn gained significant attention in the Pakistan media when he visited Karachi and Badin in 2012. On March 23, 2012, he visited flood-stricken villages of Karim Bux Jamali, Dargah Shah Gurio and Peero Lashari in Badin District. He was accompanied by US Consul General Willian J. Martin and distributed blankets, quilts, kitchen items and other goods amongst flood survivors.
On March 24, 2012, Penn also visited Bilquis Edhi Female Child Home and met Pakistan's iconic humanitarian worker Abdul Sattar Edhi and his wife, Bilquis Edhi. He also laid floral wreaths and paid respect at the shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi.
Release of Jacob Ostreicher from Bolivian prison
Penn is believed to have played a role in getting American entrepreneur Jacob Ostreicher released from a Bolivian prison in 2013, and was credited by Ostreicher for having personally nursed him back to health upon his release.
Defense of Hugo Chávez
In March 2010, Penn called for the arrest of those referring to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez as a dictator. The two were friends, and when Chávez died, Penn said: "Venezuela and its revolution will endure under the proven leadership of Vice President Nicolás Maduro. Today the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion. I lost a friend I was blessed to have."
Falkland Islands controversy
In February 2012, Penn met with the President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, in Buenos Aires where he made a statement on the long-running dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the Falkland Islands, saying: "I know I came in a very sensitive moment in terms of diplomacy between Argentina and the UK over the Falkland Islands. And I hope that diplomats can establish true dialogue in order to solve the conflict as the world today cannot tolerate ridiculous demonstrations of colonialism. The way of dialogue is the only way to achieve a better solution for both nations."
The comments were taken as support of Argentina's claim to the islands and evoked strong reactions in the British media, with one satirical article in The Daily Telegraph requesting that Penn "return his Malibu estate to the Mexicans". Falklands War veteran and political activist Simon Weston stated "Sean Penn does not know what he is talking about and, frankly, he should shut up. His [Penn's] views are irrelevant and it only serves to fuel the fire of the Argentinians and get them more pumped up" while British Conservative MP Patrick Mercer dismissed Penn's statement as "moronic." Lauren Collins of The New Yorker wrote: "As of today, Sean Penn is the new Karl Lagerfeld—the man upon whom, having disrespected something dear to the United Kingdom, the British papers most gleefully pile contempt".
Penn later claimed that he had been misrepresented by the British press and that his criticism of "colonialism" was a reference to the deployment of Prince William as an air-sea rescue pilot, describing it as a "message of pre-emptive intimidation". He claimed that the Prince's posting meant "the automatic deployment of warships", and stated: "My oh my, aren't people sensitive to the word 'colonialism', particularly those who implement colonialism." In a piece written in The Guardian, Penn wrote that "the legalisation of Argentinian immigration to the Malvinas/Falkland Islands is one that it seems might have been addressed, but for the speculative discovery of booming offshore oil in the surrounding seas this past year". He further wrote that "irresponsible journalism" had suggested "that I had taken a specific position against those currently residing in the Malvinas/Falkland Islands, that they should either be deported or absorbed into Argentine rule. I neither said, nor insinuated that".
Oscar green card joke
At the 87th Academy Awards, Penn presented the award for Best Picture. Before presenting the award to Mexican Alejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman, Penn joked, "Who gave this son of a bitch his green card?"
Iñarritu said that it was a joke between him and Penn, who worked together on 21 Grams, and that he found it "hilarious." Penn later went on record defending his comments, saying, "I have absolutely no apologies. In fact, I have a big 'fuck you' for every...anybody who is so stupid not to have gotten the irony when you've got a country that is so xenophobic. If they had their way, you wouldn't have great filmmakers like Alejandro working in this country. Thank God we do."
Lee Daniels lawsuit
In an interview published September 16, 2015, director and showrunner Lee Daniels responded to criticism about Terrence Howard's continued career in light of his domestic violence issues by referencing Penn's rumored history of domestic violence, saying: "[Terrence] ain't done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden he's some f—in' demon." In response, Penn launched a $10 million defamation suit against Daniels, alleging that he had never been arrested for or charged with domestic violence. Penn dropped the lawsuit in May 2016 after Daniels retracted his statement and apologized.
El Chapo interview
A day after Mexican officials announced the capture of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán in a bloody raid, Rolling Stone revealed on January 9, 2016 that Sean Penn, along with actress Kate del Castillo, had conducted a secret interview with El Chapo prior to his arrest. Del Castillo was contacted by Guzmán's lawyer (who was under CISEN surveillance) to talk about producing a biographical film about Guzmán and communication increased following Guzmán's escape from prison in July 2015. The deal for the interview was brokered by del Castillo. According to published text messages with del Castillo, Guzmán did not know who Sean Penn was. CISEN released photographs of del Castillo at the meetings with Guzmán's lawyers and of the arrival of the actress and Penn to Mexico.
The interview was criticized by some, including the White House, which called the interview "maddening". Mexican authorities said they were seeking to question Penn over the interview, which had not been approved by either the American or Mexican government. Penn and del Castillo's meeting with Guzmán is under investigation by the Attorney General of Mexico.
Penn has appeared in more than 50 films and won many awards during his career as an actor and director. He has won two Academy Awards for Best Actor for Mystic River (2003) and Milk (2008), and was nominated three more times in the same category for Dead Man Walking (1995), Sweet and Lowdown (1999), and I Am Sam (2001). He also received a Directors Guild of America nomination for directing Into the Wild (2007).
- "Sean Penn Biography (1960-)". FilmReference.com. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
Sean Justin Penn; born August 17, 1960, in Santa Monica (some sources cite Burbank or Los Angeles), CA...
- Chapman, Roger (2010). Culture Wars: An Encyclopedia of Issues, Viewpoints, and Voices (Revised ed.). M.E. Sharpe. p. 425. ISBN 978-0-765-62250-1.
- Bilmes, Alex (February 16, 2015). "Sean Penn Is Esquire's March Cover Star". Esquire. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
- Beaumont, Peter (February 19, 2012). "Sean Penn: a firebrand on and off screen". The Guardian. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
- Pfefferman, Naomi (October 16, 1997). "Spectator". Jewish Journal. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
- Tugend, Tom (March 5, 2004). Despite the hobbits, Jews win a few Oscars. J. The Jewish News of Northern California. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
- Sean Penn Genealogy.
- Kelly, Richard T. (2004). Sean Penn: His Life and Times. Canongate Books. pp. 9–10. ISBN 1-84195-623-6.
- According to Penn's mother, his father may have had distant Sephardic Jewish ancestry, as his family's surname was originally "Piñón".
- Abramowitz, Rachel (January 6, 2002). "Don't Get Him Started". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
- Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 1999
- When Sean's having fun, it's hard to imagine having more fun. The Guardian. April 8, 2005.
- "Academy Invites 127 to Membership" (Press release). Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. June 28, 2004. Archived from the original on June 30, 2004.
- Pomerantz, Dorothy. Hollywood's Biggest Flops: Big-name stars weren't enough to save these box-office bombs, Forbes, January 22, 2010.
- Maxwell, Erin (December 3, 2008). "Spirit Award nominees announced". work. Retrieved January 23, 2009.
- Sean Penn film directorial venture reviews:
- Giles, Jeff (March 27, 2018). "Sean Penn, Satirist, Swings at America in a Wild Debut Novel". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
- Diamond, Jason (April 4, 2018). "Sean Penn: Why I Had to Write 'Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff'". Rolling Stone.
- McDonald, Jeff (April 7, 2018). "Sean Penn pivots from actor to novelist at La Jolla reading". The San Diego Union Tribune.
- French, Agatha (April 3, 2018). "Sean Penn and Jane Smiley weren't drinking the 'Bob Honey' haterade on stage in L.A." Los Angeles Times.
- Seymour, Corey (April 6, 2018). "Sean Penn on Quitting the Movie Business, His New First Novel, and #MeToo". Vogue.
- Kaufman, Joanne (December 14, 1987). "Everyone Said It Wouldn't Last..." People. Retrieved October 26, 2019.
- "Madonna's love history". The Daily Telegraph. UK. October 15, 2008. Retrieved April 14, 2011.
- Ciccone, Christopher (2008). Life with My Sister Madonna, Simon & Schuster, pp. 144–50; ISBN 1-4165-8762-4.
- "The Incident Behind Those Sean Penn Domestic Abuse Allegations". Retrieved December 2, 2017.
- Pisani, Louisa (March 14, 2015). "Why would anyone want to date Sean Penn?". New York Post. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
- "Madonna Says Sean Penn 'Never Struck Me', Backs Ex In $10M Lee Daniels Defamation Suit". Deadline. December 17, 2015. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- "After Years of Silence, Madonna Denies Allegations That Ex-Husband Sean Penn Beat Her Up". December 19, 2015.
- MacMinn, Aleene (April 17, 1991). "Cradle Watch". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 9, 2012. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
Dylan Frances Penn was born Saturday [April 13] at 10:49 p.m. at UCLA Medical Center.
- Speidel, Maria (August 23, 1993). "Passages". People. Archived from the original on March 16, 2017. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
- Schillaci, Sophie. "Jewel Reveals Pre-Fame Relationship With Sean Penn: 'I Liked His Mind'". Retrieved September 23, 2015.
- Storey, Kate (September 30, 2013). "Penn kids ready to break out". New York Post. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- White, Nicholas (December 27, 2007). "Sean Penn and Robin Wright Penn Divorcing". People. Retrieved October 26, 2019.
- Laudadio, Marisa; Lee, Ken (April 29, 2009). "Sean Penn Files for Legal Separation". People. Retrieved September 16, 2009.
- Reaney, Patricia (April 9, 2008). "Sean Penn, wife Robin end divorce proceeding". Reuters.
- "Sean Penn withdraws separation filing". USA Today. May 21, 2009.
- Lee, Ken (August 18, 2009). "Robin Wright Penn Files for Divorce". People. Retrieved October 26, 2019.
- Silverman, Stephen M. (August 17, 2009). "Robin Wright Penn Relishes Her New Independence". People. Retrieved October 26, 2019.
- Oh, Eunice (August 4, 2010). "Sean Penn and Robin Wright Finalize Their Divorce". People. Retrieved October 26, 2019.
- Lee, Esther. "Sean Penn, Charlize Theron Split, Break Off Engagement: Breakup Details". Retrieved August 15, 2015.
- Penn, Sean. Sean Penn in Iran. San Francisco Chronicle. August 23, 2005.
- Associated Press; Hindery, Robin (August 14, 2016). "Challenger lashes out at Doolittle, calls him 'coward'". The East Bay Times. Retrieved February 1, 2018.
- The Creative Coalition Announces Presenters for 2006 Christopher Reeve First Amendment Award and 2006 Spotlight Awards Archived April 22, 2007, at Archive.today. The Creative Coalition. December 2006.
- "Sean Penn, Val Kilmer, Tom Morello, Cindy Sheehan at Nader/Gonzalez Super Rally in Denver — Ralph Nader for President in 2008". Votenader.org. August 19, 2008. Retrieved January 23, 2009.
- Lacey, Marc (November 26, 2008). "Sean Penn Interviews Raúl Castro". The New York Times. Retrieved January 23, 2009.
- "Exclusive: Venezuela ships fuel to war-torn Syria". Reuters. February 16, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
- Bowles, Scott (September 18, 2006). Sean Penn plays politics. USA Today.
- "Sean Penn Letter to Washington Post". Snopes. Retrieved January 23, 2009.
- Rees, Paul: 'Listen very carefully, I will say this only once', Q, May 2003, pp84-92
- Somaiya, Ravi (October 14, 2007). "Sean Penn: Mr Congeniality". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
- "Sean Penn Unloads on Pres. Bush". Fox News Channel. March 27, 2007.
- "Metaphor Alert". New York Post. March 27, 2007. Archived from the original on February 25, 2008.
- "Stephen Colbert vs Sean Penn". Crooks and Liars. March 27, 2007.
- An Open Letter to the President...Four and a Half Years Later HuffPost. March 24, 2007.
- Many celebrities have helped with New Orleans recovery efforts. International Herald Tribune. December 14, 2007.
- Penn's rescue attempt springs a leak. The Sydney Morning Herald. September 5, 2005.
- Penn, Sean (November 30, 2008). "Mountain of Snakes". HuffPost. Retrieved November 28, 2010.
- Post Reply (February 22, 2009). "Sean Penn Oscar Speech". Mahalo.com. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
- "Sean Penn: It's time to seize opportunities in Haiti". The World Bank. May 3, 2013. Retrieved November 21, 2013.
- "Haitian Relief Organization". Jphro.org. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
- "Haiti names Sean Penn 'ambassador at large'". CBS News. January 31, 2012.
- Razaq Khatti (March 24, 2012). "Hollywood visitor: Sean Penn comes to Badin". The Express Tribune. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
- Mahim Maher (March 24, 2012). "Sean Penn comes to Pakistan". JewishJournal.com. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
- Saba Imtiaz (March 25, 2012). "A touch of inspiration runs both ways as Sean Penn visits shrine and Edhi home". The Express Tribune. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
- APP (March 25, 2012). "Actor Sean Penn visits Edhi Centre, Karachi". Dawn. Pakistan. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
- "Orthodox Jewish Captive Jacob Ostreicher Reveals How Sean Penn Nursed Him Back to Health in His Own Home". The Algemeiner. May 21, 2014. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
- Carroll, Rory (March 11, 2010). "Sean Penn: Journalists who call Hugo Chávez a dictator should be jailed". The Guardian. London, UK.
- Hugo Chavez's death draws sympathy, anger, CNN. Retrieved February 20, 2016.
- "Falklands dispute: Argentine union to boycott UK ships". BBC. February 14, 2012.
- "Sean Penn backs Argentina over Falkland Islands". The Guardian. London. February 14, 2012.
- "'The world can't tolerate anymore ridiculous colonialism', Sean Penn says after meeting CFK". Buenos Aires Herald. February 15, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
- "Sean Penn should return his Malibu estate to the Mexicans". The Daily Telegraph. London. February 15, 2012.
- "Sean Penn's Argentina Falklands support angers Simon Weston". BBC News. 16 February 2012. Archived from the original on 25 December 2013.
- "Sean Penn: Prince William is provoking Argentina". The Seattle Times. February 16, 2012. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
- Collins, Lauren (February 15, 2012). "SEAN PENN'S FALKLANDS WAR". The New Yorker. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
- Topping, Alexandra (February 15, 2012). "Sean Penn hits out at Prince William's Falklands posting". The Guardian. London. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
- Penn, Sean (February 23, 2012). "Sean Penn: The Malvinas/Falklands – diplomacy interrupted". The Guardian. London.
- Watt, Nicholas (February 23, 2012). "Sean Penn calls for Britain to negotiate with Argentina over Falklands". The Guardian. London.
- "Sean Penn's outrageous 'joke'". CNN. February 24, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
- "Sean Penn's 'green card' joke sparks controversy at Oscars". CNN. February 23, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
- "Sean Penn won't apologize for Inarritu green card joke at Oscars". Los Angeles Times. March 9, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
- "Sean Penn surprised by 'flagrant stupidity' of reaction to his Oscars joke". The Guardian. March 9, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
- Rose, Lacey. "'Empire's' "Batshit Crazy" Behind-the-Scenes Drama: On the Set of TV's Hottest Show". Retrieved September 23, 2015.
- Gardner, Eriq. "Sean Penn Files $10 Million Defamation Lawsuit Against 'Empire' Co-Creator Lee Daniels". Retrieved September 23, 2015.
- Gardner, Eriq. "Sean Penn Wins Apology from Lee Daniels in Defamation Settlement". Retrieved September 1, 2016.
- Somaiya, Ravi (January 9, 2016). "Sean Penn Met With 'El Chapo' for Interview in His Hide-Out". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
- "'El Chapo' Guzmán secretly met Sean Penn in Mexico". CNN. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
- López-Dóriga, Joaquín. ""Ola ermoza"…". Milenio. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
- Watson, Katy. "El Chapo: Who is Kate del Castillo?". BBC. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
- "Texts Purportedly Reveal El Chapo's Eagerness to Meet Actress Kate del Castillo". NBC News. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- "'El Chapo' Guzman: Sean Penn interview provokes US scorn". BBC News. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
- "Penn won't face US charges over El Chapo interview". ABC News. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
- Loret de Moda, Carlos. "'Hermosa', el nombre clave de Kate". El Universal. Retrieved January 13, 2016.