Kal Penn

Infobox actor

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caption = Penn speaking at a rally for Barack Obama at the University of Maryland's Nyumburu Cultural Center, February 8, 2008
birthname = Kalpen Modi
birthdate = Birth date and age|1977|4|23|mf=y
birthplace = Montclair, New Jersey
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occupation = Actor, producer
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Kalpen Suresh Modi (born April 23, 1977), known by his stage name Kal Penn is an American actor, producer, and political activist. He is known for his starring roles in "National Lampoon's Van Wilder", "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle", "The Namesake" (2007), "Epic Movie" (2007), and the recently released "Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay" (2008). He currently plays the role of Dr. Lawrence Kutner in the TV series "House".


Early life

Penn was born in Montclair, New Jersey to an engineer father and a mother who worked as a fragrance evaluator for a perfume company; both of his parents were Indian immigrants of Gujarati heritage. [ [http://in.rediff.com/movies/2005/apr/22kal.htm Kal Penn: Hollywood's Desi No1!] ] He attended middle school at Marlboro Middle School, and played baritone saxophone in the jazz band there. Penn is an alumnus and graduate of Freehold Township High School, but is sometimes said to be a graduate of Howell High School where he was active in the school's theater productions, and The Fine and Performing Arts Specialized Learning Center for three years. He attended UCLA where he double majored in Film and Sociology. While at UCLA, he was a founding member of the underground intellectual society, "6 South". Fact|date=September 2008 He also played a big role in the on-campus club, Sanganhj, which has also disbanded. Fact|date=September 2008


Penn's feature film debut came in 1998 in '. He has since appeared in "American Desi", "National Lampoon's Van Wilder", "Malibu's Most Wanted", "A Lot Like Love", "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle", "Dude, Where's the Party?", "Love Don't Cost a Thing", "Superman Returns", ', "Epic Movie", "The Namesake", and "Harold & Kumar 2". Penn was featured in the The Lonely Island's rejected Awesometown MTV pilot music video, along with his friend Brandon Routh (who played Superman in "Superman Returns").

Penn says that he chose the stage name Kal Penn (from Kalpen Suresh Modi) as a lark: “Almost as a joke to prove friends wrong, and half as an attempt to see if what I was told would work (that anglicized names appeal more to a white-dominated industry), I put ‘Kal Penn’ on my resume and photos." His audition callbacks rose by 50%. [ [http://niralimagazine.com/2004/09/kal-penn-goes-to-hollywood/ Nirali Magazine | Kal Penn Goes To Hollywood ] ] Penn has stated that he prefers his birth name and uses "Kal Penn" only for professional purposes.

In January 2007, Penn appeared in the first four episodes of the sixth season of "24" as Ahmed Amar, a teenage terrorist. Penn says he nearly turned down the role due to personal ethics, stating, "I have a huge political problem with the role. It was essentially accepting a form of racial profiling. I think it’s repulsive. But it was the first time I had a chance to blow stuff up and take a family hostage. As an actor, why shouldn’t I have that opportunity? Because I'm brown and I should be scared about the connection between media images and people's thought processes?" [ [http://nymag.com/movies/profiles/28866/ 'Harold & Kumar' and '24' Actor Kal Penn on His New Movie 'The Namesake' - New York Magazine ] ]

Also in January 2007, he appeared in the spoof comedy "Epic Movie" as well as the television show "", where he played a recognition-starved rapist and murderer. In May 2007, Penn received the Asian Excellence Award for Outstanding Actor for his performance in "The Namesake". [ [http://azntv.com/axawards/night_of_excellence/winners.aspx Asian Excellence Awards - Winners] ]

In fall 2007, Penn joined the cast of the FOX medical drama "House" as one of Dr. House's new fellowship applicants.cite web | title=CNN.com | work="House' gets a new group of trainees | url=http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/TV/07/18/television.house.reut/index.html | accessdate=July 18 | accessyear=2007] According to E!, Penn has signed on as a regular on the show along with Olivia Wilde and Peter Jacobson and this was confirmed in the plot of the episode Games.

In spring 2008, Penn served as visiting lecturer in Asian American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. [ [http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/article.php?id=1127 Penn: Office of University Communications: Actor Kal Penn to Teach at the University of Pennsylvania ] ] [http://media.www.dailypennsylvanian.com/media/storage/paper882/news/2007/03/26/News/Kal-Penn.To.Teach.At.Penn.In.Spring.08-2791353.shtml Kal Penn to teach at Penn in spring '08 - News ] ] He taught a course titled “Images of Asian Americans in the Media”. [ [http://asam.sas.upenn.edu Asian American Studies Program at University of Pennsylvania ] ]

Personal life

Penn is a vegetarian. During the filming of "Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle", technicians provided him with soy patties for the scenes requiring ingestion [ [http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2004-07-29-harold-kumar-popbuger_x.htm USATODAY.com - Penn and Cho go to NYC's Pop Burger] ]

Penn was a guest professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the spring of 2008. He was noted to be as strict as any other professor [ [http://media.www.dailypennsylvanian.com/media/storage/paper882/news/2007/03/26/News/Kal-Penn.To.Teach.At.Penn.In.Spring.08-2791353.shtml kalpen to teach @ Upenn this spring] ] .

In 2008, Penn campaigned for Senator Barack Obama's presidential bid with House co-star Olivia Wilde. He appears in the Obama video, "Sí Se Puede Cambiar" by Andres Useche.



Television roles


External links

*imdb name|id=0671980|name=Kal Penn
* [http://niralimagazine.com/2006/12/five-questions-for-kal-penn/ Five Questions for Kal Penn] , Nirali Magazine, December 2006
* [http://niralimagazine.com/2004/09/kal-penn-goes-to-hollywood/ Kal Penn Goes to Hollywood] , Nirali Magazine, September 2004

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