Christopher Ryan Penn (October 10, 1965 – January 24, 2006) was a film actor. He was the son of noted director Leo Penn and actress Eileen Ryan, as well as the brother of actor Sean Penn and musician Michael Penn. He dated and lived with Steffiana De La Cruz from 1993 to 1999.
Penn was found dead Tuesday in his condominium near the beach in Santa Monica. Police said they discovered the 40-year-old actor’s body around 4 p.m. Santa Monica Police Lt. Frank Fabrega said there were no obvious signs of foul play. An autopsy will be conducted to determine cause of death.
Born in Los Angeles, Penn started acting at the age of 12 at the Loft Studio. In 1983, he made his feature film debut in Francis Ford Coppola’s youth drama Rumble Fish. In 1983 he was featured in a small role in the high school football drama All the Right Moves starring Tom Cruise, appeared in the hit dance musical Footloose in 1984, and played a villain in the Clint Eastwood western Pale Rider (1985). In 1986 he co-starred with his brother, Sean, and mother Eileen Ryan in At Close Range.
Penn was typically cast as a supporting actor, featured as a villian, a working-class lug, or in a comic role in his films. Two of his more memorable performances came in Reservoir Dogs and True Romance. In 1996 he won the best-supporting actor at the Venice Film Festival for The Funeral.
Penn was featured on Law and Order: Criminal Intent during the 2004-05 season. During that time, he was featured on the 2004 video game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as the voice of Officer Eddie Pulaski and played himself on a 2005 episode of Entourage. He also appeared in The Darwin Awards which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival one day after his death.