Chris Penn

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Christopher Shannon Penn (October 10 1965 – January 24 2006) was an American film actor. He was the son of noted director Leo Penn and actress Eileen Ryan (born Eileen Annucci), and the brother of actor Sean Penn and musician Michael Penn. Born in Los Angeles, California, he was the youngest of the three sons. He dated and lived with Steffiana De La Cruz from 1993 to 1999.


Penn started acting at the age of 11 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 starring Tom Cruise as his best friend and about-to-be father. He also appeared in the hit dance musical Footloose in 1984, played a villain in the Clint Eastwood western Pale Rider (1985), and co-starred with his brother, Sean, 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. In 1996, he won the best supporting actor at the Venice Film Festival for The Funeral.

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 was featured in an episode of the television crime drama Law & Order: Criminal Intent 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 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. Trace amounts of marijuana and cocaine were found in his body. Sean Penn has said that his brother's death was brought on primarily by his weight. [1]

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 birthdate has been officially substantiated as October 1965, which would mean he was 40. His mother also gives his date of birth as October 10, 1965 in the book Sean Penn: His Life and Times by Richard T. Kelly (2004).

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

Selected filmography

  • Aftermath (2007)
  • Holly (2006)
  • King of Sorrow (2006)
  • The Darwin Awards (2006)
  • After the Sunset (2004)
  • Starsky & Hutch (2004)
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (voice of Officer Eddie Pulaski) (2004)
  • Murder by Numbers (2002)
  • Corky Romano (2001)
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
  • Cement (1999)
  • Rush Hour (1998)
  • The Boys Club (1997)
  • Deceiver (1997)
  • The Funeral (1996)
  • Mulholland Falls (1996)
  • To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995)
  • Fist of the North Star (1995)
  • Short Cuts (1993)
  • True Romance (1993)
  • The Music of Chance (1993)
  • Josh and S.A.M. (1993)
  • Beethoven's 2nd (1993)
  • Best of the Best 2 (1993)
  • Reservoir Dogs (1992)
  • Mobsters (1991)
  • Best of the Best (1989)
  • At Close Range (1986)
  • Pale Rider (1985)
  • Footloose (1984)
  • The Wild Life (1984)
  • All the Right Moves (1983)
  • Rumble Fish (1983)
  • Charlie and the Talking Buzzard (1979)

External links