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SEAN PENN (Jimmy Markum) has become an American film icon during a career spanning just over two decades. He has three times been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor: in 1995 for Tim Robbins' Dead Man Walking and in 1999 for Woody Allen's Sweet and Lowdown, performances which also earned him Golden Globe nominations, and most recently, in 2001 for his portrayal of the mentally challenged title character fighting for custody of his young daughter in Jessie Nelson's I Am Sam. In addition, Penn received his first Golden Globe nomination in 1994 for his performance in Brian De Palma's Carlito's Way.

Penn made his feature film acting debut in 1981 in Harold Becker's Taps. In 1982, he acted his way into pop-culture history starring as "Jeff Spicoli" in Amy Heckerling's Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Penn went on to appear in numerous memorable roles in films such as John Schlesinger's The Falcon and the Snowman, James Foley's At Close Range, Dennis Hopper's Colors, Brian De Palma's Casualties of War, Phil Joanou's State of Grace, David Fincher's The Game, and Anthony Drazan's adaptation of the stage play Hurlyburly, a role which won him the Best Actor award at the 1998 Venice Film Festival.

Penn expanded his role in the filmmaking process with the creation of his own production company, Clyde Is Hungry Films. Through this company, Penn has produced and appeared in Erin Dignam's Loved, executive produced and starred in Nick Cassavetes' She's So Lovely, appeared in Oliver Stone's U-Turn, and produced and directed the critically acclaimed drama, The Pledge, starring Jack Nicholson.

Penn's feature film directorial debut came with 1991's The Indian Runner, which he also wrote and produced. In 1995, he directed Anjelica Huston to Golden Globe and Screen Actor's Guild Award nominations in The Crossing Guard, which Penn also wrote and produced. The film featured highly acclaimed performances by Jack Nicholson and David Morse, as well.

Most recently, Penn wrote and directed the United States' contribution to the documentary film 11'09"01. This important film gathered 11 acclaimed directors from around the world to create short films in response to the horrific events of September 11, 2001.

Penn has appeared as a stage performer in theatrical performances including Alfred Hayes' Girl on the Via Flaminia and Albert Innaurato's Earthworms in Los Angeles. On Broadway, Penn performed in Kevin Heelan's Heartland and John Byrne's Slab Boys. He appeared in David Rabe's Hurlyburly at the Westwood Playhouse and Goose and Tom Tom at Lincoln Center, both productions directed by the author. Most recently, Penn starred opposite Nick Nolte and Woody Harrelson in The Late Henry Moss, written and directed by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Sam Shepard.

In 2002, Sean Penn was presented with the Modern Master Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Penn will be seen later in the year in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's 21 Grams, opposite Benicio del Toro and Naomi Watts. Penn recently completed production starring in The Assassination of Richard Nixon for director Niels Mueller.

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