KAL PENN Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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By the time Kal Penn took to the screen for a scene-stealing performance in the 2002 comedy Van Wilder, the emerging actor had been appearing in television and film for nearly four years. With roles in such high-profile small-screen efforts as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, and Spin City already under Penn’s belt, it was obvious to those in the know that it was only a matter of time before the young comic talent’s career took off.


The New Jersey native started out his education at the Freehold Regional High School District’s Performing Arts High School, followed by intense training in the New York theater scene. Penn next set his sites on the West Coast and the University of California. A slew of television roles including the aforementioned efforts followed, with a feature debut coming in the form of the 1999 culture-clash drama Freshmen.


A supporting role in the Indian-American-themed romantic comedy American Desi was quick to follow, with the next year’s Van Wilder providing Penn with the most exposure to date. In 2003, Penn stepped up the credit list with a role in Where’s the Party Yaar?, a comedy that once again humorously addressed the issues of being an Indian-American. By the time Penn landed a role in the 2003 romantic comedy Love Don’t Cost a Thing, the talented young actor had become a familiar face to moviegoers and his comic skills were widely recognized. Back on television, Penn could be seen in the 9/11 NBC drama Homeland Security, though television was not functioning as a safe haven in this case, and it was only a matter of time before he was given his own starring role in a mainstream blockbuster.