Christopher Shannon Penn
October 10, 1965
|Died||January 24, 2006 (aged 40)|
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California, U.S.|
Christopher Shannon Penn (October 10, 1965 – January 24, 2006) was an American actor. Noted as a skilled character actor from a prominent acting dynasty, he was typically cast as a tough character, featured as a villain or a working-class thug, or in a comic role and was known for his roles in such films as The Wild Life, Reservoir Dogs, The Funeral, Footloose, Rush Hour, Corky Romano, True Romance, Beethoven's 2nd, Short Cuts, The Boys Club, All the Right Moves, At Close Range, and Pale Rider. During his career Penn had won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor for his performance in The Funeral. He also provided the voice of the corrupt, ruthless cop Edward "Eddie" Pulaski in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
Penn was born in Los Angeles, California, to 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 Catholic of Italian and Irish descent. His older brothers are actor Sean Penn and musician Michael Penn.
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 as the best friend of Kevin Bacon's character; played a villain in the Clint Eastwood western Pale Rider (1985); and co-starred with his brother Sean Penn and mother Eileen Ryan in At Close Range (1986).
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. Taekwondo 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.
Two of his more memorable performances were in Reservoir Dogs as Nice Guy Eddie and True Romance as Nicky Dimes (both characters in scripts written by Quentin Tarantino). In 1996 he won the award for Best Supporting Actor at the Venice Film Festival for The Funeral.
In 1990, Penn was cast in a season one episode of The Young Riders. He appeared as a villain and was killed by Josh Brolin's character James Butler "Jimmy" Hickok. In Robert Altman's 1993 ensemble film Short Cuts, Penn played a troubled swimming pool cleaner who is disturbed by his wife's profession (a telephone sex worker who takes calls from clients at home) to which Penn's character is sometimes obliged to listen.
In 1995, he played a confused Highway patrolman searching for a car with three drag queens (played by Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, and John Leguizamo) in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar.
In 2001, Penn was meant to appear in American Pie 2 as Steve Stifler's father, but his scenes were eventually cut as there was insufficient time to include him in the film's plot. However, they appeared on the deleted scene reel on the DVD release. Penn then went on to co-star opposite Peter Berg as the mafia brothers of Corky in Corky Romano. He also appeared as a fall guy in a criminal conspiracy in Murder by Numbers, alongside Sandra Bullock.
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 crooked officer Eddie. 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 the day after his death.
Penn was found dead in his Santa Monica apartment on January 24, 2006, at the age of 40. An autopsy and subsequent toxicology report performed by a Los Angeles County medical examiner revealed the primary cause of death was heart disease. The report also noted that the prescription drug promethazine with codeine and an enlarged heart were possible contributing factors to his death. The toxicology report revealed that valium, morphine, marijuana and an elevated level of codeine were found in his bloodstream. Penn gained considerable weight throughout the 1990s. Sean Penn said publicly in an interview on Larry King Live that his brother probably died because of his weight.
|1979||Charlie and the Talking Buzzard||Pete||Credited as Christopher Penn|
|1983||All the Right Moves||Brian||Credited as Christopher Penn|
|Rumble Fish||B.J. Jackson||Credited as Christopher Penn|
|Nobody's Heroes||N/A||Director / Producer / Writer|
|1984||Footloose||Willard||Credited as Christopher Penn|
|The Wild Life||Tom Drake||Credited as Christopher Penn|
|1985||Pale Rider||Josh LaHood||Credited as Christopher Penn|
|1986||At Close Range||Tommy||Credited as Christopher Penn|
|1987||Made in U.S.A.||Tuck||Credited as Christopher Penn|
|1989||Return from the River Kwai||Lieutenant Crawford||Credited as Christopher Penn|
|Best of the Best||Travis Brickley||Credited as Christopher Penn|
|1991||Mobsters||Tommy Reina||Credited as Christopher Penn|
|Leather Jackets||Steve 'Big Steve'||Credited as Christopher Penn|
|1992||Reservoir Dogs||Eddie 'Nice Guy Eddie' Cabot|
|1993||Best of the Best II||Travis Brickley||Credited as Christopher Penn|
|The Music of Chance||Floyd|
|The Pickle||Gregory Stone|
|Short Cuts||Jerry Kaiser|
|True Romance||Detective Nicky Dimes|
|Josh and S.A.M.||Derek Baxter|
|1995||Fist of the North Star||'Jackal'|
|To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar||Sheriff Dollard|
|Under the Hula Moon||'Turk' Dickson|
|Sacred Cargo||Vince Kanevsky|
|1996||Mulholland Falls||Detective Arthur Relyea|
|The Funeral||'Chez'||Nominated – Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead|
|The Boys Club||Luke|
|1997||Deceiver||Detective Philip Braxton|
|1998||Papertrail||FBI Agent Jason Enola|
|One Tough Cop||Duke Finnerly|
|Family Attraction||Father||Short film|
|2001||Kiss Kiss (Bang Bang)||Bubba|
|Corky Romano||Peter Romano|
|2002||Murder by Numbers||Ray|
|Stealing Harvard||David Loach|
|2003||American Pie: Beneath the Crust Vol. 2||Stiffler's Dad||Deleted scenes|
|Masked and Anonymous||Crew Guy #2|
|Shelter Island||Sheriff DeLuca|
|2004||Starsky & Hutch||Officer Manetti|
|After the Sunset||Rowdy Fan|
|2006||The Darwin Awards||Tom|
|Juarez: Stages of Fear||Unknown Role||Direct-to-video
also executive producer
|2007||King of Sorrow||Detective Enola|
|2013||Aftermath||Tony Bricker||Filmed in 2006 (posthumous release); final film role|
|1982||Magnum, P.I.||Wounded Soldier in Vietnam||Episode: "Heal Thyself"
Credited as Christopher Penn
|1985||North Beach and Rawhide||Dan Donnelly||TV movie|
|1987||Faerie Tale Theatre||Will Tussennbrook||Episode: "Rip Van Winkle"
Credited as Christopher Penn
|1990||The Young Riders||Brad||Episode: "Matched Pair"|
|1995||Chicago Hope||Kevin Fitzpatrick||Episode: "Life Support"|
|1996||Dead Man's Walk||'Goodnight'||Miniseries
|2002||AFP: American Fighter Pilot||Narrator||Voice role|
|2003||CSI: Miami||Pete Wilton||Episode: "Grave Young Men"|
|The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire||Waylon Shaw||Series regular (6 episodes)|
|Will & Grace||Rudy||Episode: "Fanilow"|
|2005||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Tommy Onerato||Episode: "Death Roe"|
|Everwood||Frank Sullivan||Episode: "Fate Accomplis"|
|Entourage||Chris Penn (Himself)||Episode: "An Offer Refused"|
|1995||"Somebody's Crying"||Beachgoer||Chris Isaak|
|1998||"Can I Get A..."||Bartender||Jay-Z feat. Ja Rule & Amil|
|2004||Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas||Officer Eddie Pulaski||Voice role|
|2021||Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition||Officer Eddie Pulaski||Archival Recordings|
Remaster of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas only
- "The price of fame: The final reel of Chris Penn". The Independent. London. 26 January 2006. Archived from the original on February 3, 2006. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
- Hartlaub, Peter (31 January 2006). "Let us praise Chris Penn—in all his guises". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
- Tugend, Tom (March 5, 2004). "Jews Flop in Big Oscar Award Wins". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Archived from the original on 28 April 2005. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
- Kelly, Richard T. (2004). Sean Penn: His Life and Times. New York City: Canongate Books. pp. 9–10. ISBN 978-1841956237.
- "Chris Penn". Martial Arts & Action Entertainment. 2015-01-25. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
- "American Pie 2 (2001)". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
- "Actor Chris Penn Found Dead in his Santa Monica Home". Surf Santa Monica. January 25, 2006. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
- "10 Fallen Stars and Their Toxicology Reports". HowStuffWorks. September 7, 2012. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
- Siverman, Stephen M. (February 23, 2006). "Drugs in Chris Penn's System: Toxicologist". People. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
- Silverman, Stephen M. (September 14, 2006). "Sean Penn: Chris's Weight Killed Him". People. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
- "Photographer disrupts Chris Penn funeral". UPI. Culver City, California. February 5, 2006. Retrieved August 31, 2018.