Actress Eileen Ryan, Sean Penn's Mom, Dead at 94

Eileen Ryan—actress and mom of Sean Penn, Michael Penn and late Chris Penn—died on Oct. 9. Look back at her life and career, including roles in Grey's Anatomy, Twilight Zone and more.

By Elyse Dupre Oct 11, 2022 12:41 PMTags
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Hollywood has lost a beloved star. 

Actress Eileen Ryan—mom to actor Sean Penn, composer Michael Penn and the late Chris Penn—died at her home in Malibu on Oct. 9, her publicist confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. A cause of death has yet to be revealed for Eileen, whose passing comes just a week before her 95th birthday.

Eileen's eldest son Michael also confirmed her death in an Oct. 10 tweet, sharing a throwback photo of her and writing, "We lost mom yesterday."  

Born Eileen Annucci of New York, the star appeared in several films, TV shows and stage productions throughout her career.

Eileen made her Broadway debut in 1953 in Sing Till Tomorrow. According to The Hollywood Reporter, she met husband Leo Penn while rehearsing for a Circle in the Square production of the play The Iceman Cometh in 1957 and they wed a few months later, staying by each other's sides for more than 40 years before his death in 1998. Other Broadway credits included her role in the 1958 production of Comes a Day.

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As for her television experience, Eileen made her first TV appearance on Goodyear Playhouse in 1955 and went on to land a number of guest roles over the years, including on shows like The Twilight Zone, Bonanza, Cannon, Little House on the Prairie, ER, NYPD Blue, Ally McBeal, CSI and Grey's Anatomy. In terms of film, she acted in many movies like Winter People, ParenthoodBenny & JoonAnywhere But Here, Magnolia, A Shape of Error and Feast. Her last role before her death was in the 2016 picture Rules Don't Apply.

E. Charbonneau/WireImage

Over the years, Eileen often collaborated with her family. For instance, Leo directed her in episodes of shows like Cannon and Bonanza, and she acted alongside Chris—who passed away in 2006—and Sean in At Close Range. Other movies where she worked with Sean include Judgment in Berlin, I Am Sam, The Indian Runner, The Pledge, All the King's Men and The Assassination of Richard Nixon.

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