Date of Birth : Apr 23rd 1977
He is known for his starring roles in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, National Lampoon’s Van Wilder and the recently released The Namesake (2007).
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 immigrants of Indian ancestry. Penn is an alumnus of Howell High School and The Fine and Performing Arts Specialized Learning Center for three years. He graduated from Freehold Township High School where he was active in the school’s theater productions. He attended the University of California, Los Angeles where he double majored in Film and Sociology. While at UCLA, he was a founding member of the underground intellectual society, “6 South.” Due to creative differences the group disbanded but are currently considering a reunion. He also played a big role in the on-campus club, Sangam, which has also disbanded.
Penn’s feature film debut came in 1998 in Express: Aisle to Glory. 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, National Lampoon’s Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj, Epic Movie, The Namesake, and will be a part of the upcoming 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%. Penn has stated that he prefers his birth name and uses “Kal Penn” only for professional purposes.