Article published in Dropline.biz on February 6, 2006

Chris Penn Dies at 40 (1965-2006)

By Stephen Alexander (co-authored by Dino M. Zaffina)

Chris Penn found dead in bed of his Santa Monica home by his housekeeper around 3:45 p.m. on January 24, 2006. Police responded to the scene after a telephone call from the housekeeper. Lt. Frank Fabrega of the Santa Monica Police Department said, “There were no obvious signs of foul play.”

Los Angeles County Coroner, Captain Edward Winter reported, “I can confirm the identity of the decedent as Christopher Penn age 40.  Mr. Penn was found dead in his bed. My office will be conducting an autopsy to determine the cause of death.vToxicology tests have also been performed, but the results will not be available for several weeks.

It was a sad ending for the brother of Oscar Award winner, Sean Penn and son of actress, Eileen Ryan (I Am Sam, Magnolia, and Parenthood), television director, Leo Penn (Diagnosis Murder, Matlock, Columbo, and In the Heat of the Night), and brother, singer, Michael Penn.

Penn has battled drug addiction in the past. In 1993, he commented by saying, “It was a tough time, I couldn’t face my family and I had trouble facing myself.” By 1993, Penn claimed that he had been clean for over 3 1/2 years. He didn’t look back with regrets; he believed that it was a mistake and that he learned from it. He felt that he was a better person having gone through the rough time.

Penn’s weight had fluctuated dramatically over the years. Recently, he ballooned to 310 pounds, despite his love for boxing and his active sparring in the gym.

Chris Penn was born in Los Angeles, California on June 10, 1965. He began his acting career at age 12, under the tutelage of Peggy Feury at the Loft Studio in Los Angeles. Penn’s first big role was in 1983 in Francis Ford Coppola’s teen gang movie, Rumble Fish. He played opposite Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane, Dennis Hopper, Vicent Spano, Nicolas Cage, and Laurence Fishburne.

Audiences first took notice of Chris when he starred opposite Kevin Bacon in Footloose. Chris played Bacon’s best friend and rebellious dance advocate.

Although Penn’s acting career has spanned over 25 years, he has not achieved the same critical acclaim or notoriety of his older brother, Sean. His performance in the 1986 film At Close Range, which he starred in with Sean, was overshadowed by his brother’s brilliant character. Penn later received some recognition for his roles in both Reservoir Dogs and Mulholland Falls.

Ironically, Chris was scheduled to attend the Sundance Film Festival on the very next day, January 25, 2006, for the premiere of The Darwin Awards. He also just wrapped production on Aftermath and King of Sorrow.

Chris Penn’s other credits include:

2006 – King of Sorrow

2006 – Aftermath – Tony

2006 – The Darwin Awards – Tom

2006 – Holly – Freddie

2005 – Juarez: Stages of Fear

2005 – Everwood – “Fate Accomplis” – Bill Hammond

2005 – Law & Order: Criminal Intent – “Death Roe” – Tommy Onerato

2004 – After the Sunset – Rowdy Fan

2004 – Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – Officer Eddie Pulaski

2004 – Starsky & Hutch – Manetti

2003 – Will & Grace – “Fanilow” – Rudy

2003 – Shelter Island – Sheriff Deluca

2003 – The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire – Waylon Shaw

2003 – CSI: Miami – “Grave Young Men” – Pete Wilton

2003 – Masked and Anonymous – Crew Guy #2

2002 – Stealing Harvard – David Loach

2002 – Redemption – Tony Leggio

2002 – Murder by Number – Ray Feathers

2002 – AFP: American Fighter Pilot – Narrator

2001 – Corky Romano – Peter Romano

2000 – Kiss Kiss (Bang Bang) – Bubba

1999 – The Florentine – Bobby

1999 – Cement – Bill Holt

1998 – One Tough Cop – Duke Finnerly

1998 – Rush Hour – Clive Cod

1998 – Flagpole Special

1998 – Family Attraction – Father

1997 – Deceiver – Detective Phillip Braxton

1997 – The Boy Club – Luke Cooper

1997 – Papertrail – Jason Enola

1996 – The Funeral – Chez Tempio

1996 – Dead Man’s Walk – Charles Goodnight

1996 – Mulholland Falls – Arthur Relyea

1996 – Cannes Man – Cameo appearance

1995 – Under the Hula Moon – Turk Dickson

1995 – To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar – Sheriff Dollard

1995 – Fist of the North Star – Jackal

1995 – Chicago Hope “Life Support” – Kevin Fitzpatrick

1995 – Sacred Cargo – Vince Kanevsky

1994 – Imaginary Crimes – Jarvis

1993 – Beethoven’s 2nd – Floyd

1993 – Josh and S.A.M. – Derek Baxter

1993 – Short Cuts – Jerry Kaiser

1993 – True Romance – Nicky Dimes

1993 – The Music of Chance – Floyd

1993 – Seinfeld – “The Pilot” – Stagehand

1993 – The Pickle – Gregory Stone

1993 – Best of the Best II – Travis Brickley

1992 – Leather Jackets – Big Steve

1992 – Reservoir Dogs – Nice Guy, Eddie Cabot

1991 – Future Kick – Bang

1991 – Mobsters – Tommy Reina

1990 – The Young Riders – “Matched Pair” – Brad

1989 – Best of the Best – Travis Brickley

1989 – Return from the River Kwai – Lt. Crawford

1987 – Made in USA – Tuck

1987 – Faerie Tale Theatre – “Rip van Winkle” – Will Tussenbrook

1985 – At Close Range – Tommy Whitewood

1985 – North Beach and Rawhide – Dan Donnelly

1985 – Pale Rider – Josh LaHood

1984 – The Wild Life – Tom Drake

1984 – Footloose – Willard Hewitt

1983 – All the Right Moves – Brian

1983 – Rumble Fish – B.J. Jackson

1982 – Magnum, P.I. – “Heal Thyself” – Wounded Soldier in Vietnam

1979 – Charlie and the Talking Buzzard – Pete


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