She’s So Lovely
“Famous is celebrityism and I don’t want that. I know that I’m not that. Everybody knows who you are. I can’t imagine living that life.” Robin Wright Penn
American movie actress Robin Wright Penn initially gained recognition on the small screen while portraying regular Kelly Capwell, the youngest daughter of affluent socialites C.C. and Sophia Capwell, in the well-liked soap “Santa Barbara” (1984 -1988). Her stunning performance garnered Wright a Soap Opera Digest Award and three Daytime Emmy nominations. Moving on to the wide screen, Wright rose to fame after playing the kidnapped and lovestruck Buttercup in the box office hit The Princess Bride (1987). She received even more recognition when she was cast in the supporting role of the all-time love interest of Tom Hanks, Jenny Curran, in the top grossing and Oscar-winning Best Picture Forrest Gump (1994). Delivering a fine acting job, Wright earned Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations. In 1997, Wright netted a Seattle International Film Festival Award because of her outstanding performance as Hedda Amerson in Erin Dignam’s Loved (1997). The same year, she earned nominations at the Independent Spirit and Screen Actors Guild for her fine portrayal of the impoverished, unbalanced, star-crossed lover of She’s So Lovely (1997), opposite her husband and John Travolta.
Mrs. Penn was recently cast in Nine Lives (2005), played Phoebe in Sorry, Haters (2005) and starred opposite Ed Harris and Helen Hunt in the TV movie Empire Falls (2005). Fans can also look forward to Wright’s acting in the upcoming Breaking and Entering (2006), Robert Zemeckis’ big-budget movie version of Beowulf (2007), Erin Dignam’s The Last Face (2006, starring with Javier Bardem), The Night Job (2005), Hounddog (2005) and Untitled Ernest Hemingway Project (2006).
Off screen, 5’ 6” Wright is the wife of actor/director Sean Penn, whom she married in 1996 after having lived together for more than five years. The couple has two children, a daughter named Dylan Francis Penn (born in 1991) and a son named Hopper Jack Penn (born in 1993). She previously tied the knot with actor Dane Witherspoon in 1986, but they later divorced in 1988. Wright was also romantically involved with actor Jason Patric (together from 1989-1990), briefly dated actor Eric Stoltz and had a relationship with actor Charlie Sheen during her high school years.
The Yellow Rose
Childhood and Family:
In Dallas, Texas, Robin Virginia Gayle Wright was born on April 8, 1966, to Fred Wright, a pharmaceutical firm worker, and Gayle Wright, an ex-Mary Kay Cosmetics sales director. Her parents filed for divorce when Robin was only two, leaving the little child and her older brother, Richard Wright (aka Ritchie Wright), under the custody of their single mother. After the divorce, Robin’s mother moved to San Diego, California, where Robin spent the remainder of her childhood.
Growing up in Southern California, Robin attended and graduated from Taft High School in Los Angeles, California. During her high school years, 14-year-old Robin was introduced to the world of fashion by working as a model both in Tokyo and Paris. By age 17, Robin had added acting to her endeavors, making her onscreen debut in the TV series “The Yellow Rose” (1983).
While working on the series, Robin met and subsequently fell in love with her costar Dane Witherspoon. The couple decided to tie the knot in 1986, but divorced two years later, in 1988. Eight years after the separation, on April 27, 1996, Robin married actor/director Sean Penn, with whom she shares two children, a daughter named Dylan Francis Penn (born on April 13, 1991) and a son named Hopper Jack Penn (born August 6, 1993). Robin and Penn met while costarring in State of Grace (1990).
Starting out as a teen model, both in Japan and Paris, Robin Wright Penn turned her attention to acting after graduating from a high school in Los Angeles. Following the advice of her modeling agent, Wright was soon seen in an episode of “The Yellow Rose” in 1983. A year after her debut performance, Penn hit it big when she received offers to play Kelly Capwell, the youngest daughter of rich socialites C.C. and Sophia Capwell, in the popular daytime soap “Santa Barbara” (1984). She stayed with the show until 1988, during which time she was handed a 1988 Soap Opera Digest for Outstanding Heroine Daytime, as well as earned three Daytime Emmy nominations.
During her stint in the Dobson brothers-created series, Wright had the opportunity to begin her film career by playing Lori Stanton in Hollywood Vice Squad (1986), but it was Rob Reiner-directed The Princess Bride (1987) that garnered the new comer widespread notice. Portraying the starring role of Buttercup, Wright gained fame as soon as the comedy/romance film became a blockbuster smash hit.
After her contract with Santa Barbara ended, Wright moved on to the TV miniseries “A TV Dante” (1989) before landing a starring role opposite Jason Patric in the motion picture Denial (1990) and then made her first collaboration with future husband, actor Sean Penn, in State of Grace (1990). The following year, she was offered the role of Maid Marian, opposite Kevin Costner, in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), but she was forced to decline due to pregnancy. Wright made her return to the silver-screen in 1992 with her stunning and brilliant performance as pigheaded, Irish Tara Maguire in The Playboys. After giving a funny performance, opposite Robin Williams, in Toys (1992), Wright again disappeared from the screen to give birth to her second child.
Returning to filmmaking in 1994, Wright made a name for herself when director Robert Zemeckis cast her as Tom Hanks’ lifelong girlfriend, Jenny Curran, in the box office hit and Oscar-winning Best Picture Forrest Gump (1994). Wright received nominations at the Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture and Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role.
More roles knocked on Wright’s door after the huge hit. She found herself acting with Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston in the Penn-helmed film The Crossing Guard (1995) and had the title character in Pen Densham’s Moll Flanders (1996), opposite Morgan Freeman and Stockard Channing. In 1997, Wright delivered her next breakthrough as Hedda Amerson in Erin Dignam’s Loved (1997), in which she nabbed a Seattle International Film Festival for Best Actress. Her co-stars were William Hurt and husband Penn. The same year, Wright was perfectly paired with Penn to play the impecunious, lopsided, star-crossed lovers of She’s So Lovely (1997), which also starred John Travolta. Wright received nominations for Best Actress at the Screen Actors Guild and Independent Spirit for her good acting in the film.
The following years saw Wright rejoin her husband in Hurlyburly (1998), play reporter Theresa Osborne, opposite Kevin Costner, in Message in a Bottle (1999) and was seen as Mrs. Bottom in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999). In the new millennium, Robin Wright Penn continued to take on roles in such films as How to Kill Your Neighbor’s Dog (2000), director M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable (2000, with Bruce Willis), the critical acclaimed The Pledge (2001, as Jack Nicholson’s love interest, directed by her husband), The Last Castle (2001, appeared as Robert Redford’s daughter) and White Oleander (2002, opposite top female stars Michelle Pfeiffer and Renee Zellweger). In 2003, she was cast opposite Robert Downey Jr. in The Singing Detective (2003) and played the lead of Mrs. Reynolds, the mother of a teen girl who believes she is carrying the child of God, in the drama Virgin (2003), where Wright also debuted as an executive producer.
From 2004-2005, Mrs. Penn continued to stay busy with her work in the entertainment industry. After costarring with Colin Farrell in the big screen adaptation of Michael Cunningham’s novel A Home at the End of the World (2004), Wright played Diana in the ensemble Nine Lives (2005) for director Rodrigo García, and was seen as Phoebe in Sorry, Haters (2005). She was also seen on the small screen portraying Grace Roby, opposite Ed Harris and Helen Hunt, in the made-for TV movie Empire Falls (2005).
In addition to her more recent performances, Wright is also set to play various roles for the forthcoming projects: Breaking and Entering (2006), Robert Zemeckis’ big-budget movie version of Beowulf (2007), Erin Dignam’s The Last Face (2006, starring with Javier Bardem), The Night Job (2005), Hounddog (2005) and an Untitled Ernest Hemingway Project (2006).
- Seattle International Film Festival: Golden Space Needle Award, Best Actress, Loved, 1997
- Soap Opera Digest: Outstanding Heroine Daytime, Santa Barbara, 1988