“I want to do film. I want to be an actor. I don't want to be a celebrity. They are two different things and people have forgotten that they are different because if you are one, you can be generally the other. Like if you are a celebrity, then anyone will let you be in a film or on a TV show, and if you're an actor, chances are if you are successful, you are becoming a celebrity.” Penn Badgley
American actor Penn Badgley hit the big time when he was cast as outsider Dan Humphrey on the popular television series “Gossip Girl” (The CW, 2007-present), a role that brought him two Teen Choice nominations.
First gaining attention on “The Young and the Restless” (2000-2002), where he picked up a Young Artist nomination for playing Phillip Chancellor IV, Badgley received regular roles in the WB short-lived shows “Do Over” (2002-2003, as Joel Larsen), “The Mountain” (2004-2005, as Sam Tunney) and “The Bedford Diaries” (2006, as Owen Gregory) before appearing on the big screen with the hit comedy “John Tucker Must Die” (2006), Badgley had previously appeared in the movies “The Fluffer” (2001) and “Debating Robert Lee” (2004). After his success on “Gossip Girl,” Badgley had a main role in the well-received drama “Forever Strong” (2008), opposite Gary Cole. He will also star in the movies “The Stepfather” (2009) and “Easy A” (2010).
The black haired actor was named one of People Magazine's “Sexiest Men Alive” in 2007, and along with the rest of the “Gossip Girl” cast, was featured in People magazine's “World's Most Beautiful People” in 2008. He also once ranked number 35 on the AIM list of “100 Celebs Under 25.”
On the personal front, Badgley is currently dating “Gossip Girl” costar Blake Lively. The two supported President Barack Obama during his presidential election in 2008. Badgley is a member of the American Red Cross National Celebrity Cabinet.
Childhood and Family:
Penn Dayton Badgley was born on November 1, 1986, in Baltimore, Maryland. As a child, he lived in Richmond, Virginia, and Seattle, Washington. He studied at Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma, Washington, and participated in Seattle's Children's Theatre. An active youth, he also began doing voice-over work for a children's radio station and performed in the Pine Nut Players community theater in Monroe, Washington.
When he was 11 years old, Penn and his mother moved to Los Angeles so he could pursue an acting career. In California, he attended Santa Monica College.
Besides acting, Penn has also developed a love for music. He enjoys singing and writing music and can play the piano and guitar. “One thing is that music is really my number one creative passion. I play piano and guitar and I write music as well. But I'd never do it professionally. Maybe later in my life I'll have the money to make an album on my own and do whatever I want, but until then, I'll just keep it for me. I did once write a song for a girl. I think it was a really romantic gesture and I think it worked,” he stated.
In his spare time, Penn likes to go skiing, snowboarding and surfing. A fan of Arsenal F.C., he also enjoys playing soccer.
Penn Badgley began his professional career in 1999 at age 13. First doing voice work for the video game “Mario Golf 64,” he then appeared in a guest spot in the NBC sitcom “Will & Grace” in the 1999 episode “I Never Promised You an Olive Garden.”
After his TV debut, Badgley was seen in NBC's short-lived sitcom “Daddio” (2 episodes, 2000), TNT's “Bull” (1 episode, 2000), Nickelodeon's “The Brothers Garcia” (2 episodes, 2000-2002) and The WB's “What I Like About You” (1 episode, 2002). The talented teen, however, did not earn much attention until he played the recurring role of Phillip Chancellor IV on three episodes of the CBS soap opera “The Young and the Restless” during 2000 to 2002. For his performance, he was nominated for a 2001 Young Artist award in the category of Best Performance in a Daytime TV Series - Young Actor.
Following his success on “Y&R,” Badgley was hired to headline “Do Over,” a comedy show that aired on The WB TV Network. In the series, he starred as Joel Larsen, a thirty-something paper salesman who gets a second chance to get his life right following a bizarre accident that propels him back to 1980 as a 14-year-old boy. The show aired for 15 episodes from September 2002 to early 2003.
Badgley next appeared as Trace Malone in an episode of “The Twilight Zone” called “Homecoming” (2003). He then appeared in the award winning independent film “Debating Robert Lee” (2004), which was directed by Dan Polier, after appearing in 2001's “The Fluffer,” a drama set in the world of adult entertainment.
Badgley returned to series television when he landed the role of Sam Tunney on The WB's drama series “The Mountain.” Debuting in September 2004, the show was canceled in January 2005 due to poor ratings. He then starred as Owen Gregory on the Tom Fontana/Julie Martin created series “The Bedford Diaries,” which was a look into college life through the view of six students. Like “The Mountain,” the drama series also survived for only one season (March 2006 to May 2006). Costars in “The Bedford Diaries” included Victoria Cartagena, Tiffany Dupont, Corri English, Matthew Modine, Milo Ventimiglia and Ernest Waddell.
After two canceled shows, Badgley resumed his film career by taking the important supporting role of Scott, John Tucker's brother, in the Betty Thomas-directed comedy “John Tucker Must Die” (2006). Distributed by 20th Century Fox and starring Jesse Metcalf and Brittany Snow, the movie opened at No. 3 and has since grossed more than $68 million domestically. Despite its financial success, “John Tucker Must Die” received generally negative reviews from critics. Badgley was next seen in “Drive Thru,” a 2007 horror film starring future “Gossip Girl” cast member Leighton Meester and Nick D'Agosto. “Drive Thru” won a 2008 Golden Trailer for Trashiest Trailer.
It was also in 2007 that Badgley made a triumphant comeback to the small screen with The CW new drama “Gossip Girl,” which was adapted from Cecily von Ziegesar's book series of the same name. Playing Dan Humphrey, the son of former rock star Rufus Humphrey (portrayed by Matthew Settle) and Serena van der Woodsen's (portrayed by Blake Lively) love interest, he received a 2008 Teen Choice nomination for Choice TV Actor: Drama, the same nomination he would again earn in 2009. “Gossip Girl” is now in season 2. The CW has renewed the show for a third season, which is scheduled to premiere on September 14, 2009.
While enjoying TV success, Badgley was also seen starring as Lars in the sport-themed drama “Forever Strong” (2008), directed by Ryan Little and written by David Pliler. Also starring Gary Cole, Sean Faris, Neal McDonough, Sean Astin and Arielle Kebbel, the film was primarily well-received by critics. He then played the supporting role of The Stud on “The Juggler” (2009), a short film written, directed and starring Mark Elias.
Badgley will star as Michael Harding, Sela Ward's teenage son and Amber Heard's boyfriend, on “The Stepfather,” a remake of the Joseph Ruben 1987 thriller film of the same name. Directed by Nelson McCormick, the movie completed filming in April 2009 and will be released in the U.S. on October 16, 2009, and in the U.K. on November 20, 2009. Additionally, he was cast as Woodchuck Todd in the upcoming comedy “Easy A” (2010), helmed by Will Gluck. Costars in the film include Amanda Bynes, Emma Stone, Lisa Kudrow, Malcolm McDowell, Stanley Tucci, and Dan Byrd.