TV and film actor Eileen Ryan, Sean Penn’s mother, dies

MALIBU, Calif. (AP) — Eileen Ryan, an actor who appeared on TV, in films and on Broadway and the matriarch of the steeped-in-the-arts Penn family, has died. She was 94.

Ryan, who was the mother of actors Sean Penn and Christopher Penn and musician Michael Penn, died at her home in Malibu, California, on Sunday, according to family spokesperson Mara Buxbaum. Ryan would have turned 95 next Sunday.

“We lost mom yesterday,” Michael Penn tweeted with a broken heart emoji.

She had two roles on Broadway in the 1950s — both short-lived — in “Sing Till Tomorrow” in 1953 and “Comes a Day” in 1958.

In 1957, Ryan was at rehearsals for “Iceman Cometh” when she met Leo Penn, who had taken over for Jason Robards at the Circle in the Square production. They moved in together within a week of meeting and married a few months later. Leo Penn died in 1998.

Her TV credits include appearances on “Private Practice,” “The Twilight Zone,” “Bonanza,” “The Detectives,” “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” “Little House on the Prairie,” “Arli$$,” “Ally McBeal,” “NYPD Blue,” “ER,” “CSI,” “Men of a Certain Age” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Her film roles included “Parenthood,” and “Benny & Joon.” She also acted in films with her sons, including “At Close Range,” “I Am Sam,” “The Indian Runner” and “The Crossing Guard.”

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up