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August 17, 2022

Some Portraits of a Very Young Sean Penn From the 1970s

Double Oscar-winner Sean has always had a love/hate relationship with Hollywood, primarily because he prefers to work on the fringes of the industry rather than going for big bucks. His artistic integrity has been called arrogance by some, but it has also allowed him to hang onto the ‘best-of-his-generation’ tag he earned during his early days on screen.

The son of blacklisted actor-turned-director Leo Penn and his actress wife Eileen Ryan, Sean was born on August 17, 1960, in Santa Monica, California.

After dropping out of Santa Monica College where he had enrolled to study auto mechanics, Sean took up an apprenticeship with LA’s Group Repertory Theatre in the late 1970s. He remains one of those Hollywood rarities: a star who was trained on the stage. And in 1981, he made his Broadway debut in a production of Heartland.

Hollywood came calling and the same year Sean was cast in a supporting role in the military drama Taps. His performance drew widespread acclaim and by 1982 he’d landed top billing in the hit teen flick Fast Times At Ridgemont High.

These are some rarely seen portraits of a young Sean Penn from the 1970s:


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