Better known professionally as Kal Penn, Kalpen Modi is an Indian-American actor, producer, college instructor, and former US government official. As an actor, Kal is well-known for his role as Kumar Patel in the Harold & Kumar comedy film series. On the small screen, he is also known for his role as Lawrence Kutner in the Fox medical drama House.
The former civil servant took a brief hiatus from his acting career from 2009-2010 during which he served under former US President Barack Obama‘s administration. He also served in the United States President’s Committee of Arts and Humanities from 2013 to 2017. In 2016, the talented actor was cast in the role of Seth Wright in the 2-season-long ABC political drama Designated Survivor.
Kal Penn Biography (Education)
Kal Penn was born Kalpen Suresh Modi on April 23, 1977, in Montclair, New Jersey. He had his early education at Marlboro Middle School in Marlboro Township, New Jersey, and his high school education as a Theater major at Howell High School but later transferred to Freehold Township High School.
His college education was at the UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film, and Television. He graduated in 2000 with a double major in film and sociology.
In 1998, Kal Penn made his film debut in the short comedy film Express: Aisle to Glory followed by 2001’s Indian-inspired film American Desi. He further cut his teeth in the comedy genre with roles in film like Van Wilder (2002), Malibu’s Most Wanted (2003), Dude, Where’s the Party? (2003), Love Don’t Cost a Thing (2003) among several others.
In 2004, Kal Penn scored his breakthrough role as Kumar Patel opposite Jon Cho (Harold) in the first Harold & Kumar film. The role has since snowballed into a multi-film series with Penn maintaining his lead role. The talented actor also portrayed the lead character in the critically-acclaimed film The Namesake (2006) for which he received the 2007 Asian Excellence Award for Outstanding Actor. Penn joined the cast of the Fox medical drama series House in 2007 playing the role of Dr. Lawrence Kutner.
After 2 seasons on House, he took a hiatus from acting following his appointment for public service under President Obama’s administration. He later returned to the show in a guest role in its 2012 series finale. Kal Penn had a recurring role as Kevin in How I Met Your Mother season 7. He was also on the main cast of the political drama Designated Survivor starring as White House speechwriter Seth Wright.
In addition to acting, Kal Penn has equally been successful as a public servant serving under his birth name Kalpen Modi. Back in 2008, he served as a college instructor for Asian American studies at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2009, he was appointed to serve in President Barack Obama’s administration as Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. Following Obama’s successful reelection, Kal was appointed in November 2013 to serve as a member of the President’s Committee of Arts and Humanities. Penn resigned from the position in August 2017 alongside other members of the committee.
His Family and Background
Kal Penn was born in the United States to Asmita and Suresh Modi. His father worked as an engineer while his mother was a consultant for a perfume company.
Both of his parents were Indian immigrants from the western Indian state of Gujarat. Growing up, Kal Penn regularly visited India and as a result, he speaks his native Gujarati language with a fair degree of fluency.
Wife or Girlfriend; Is Kal Penn Gay?
The actor is currently unmarried, however, it remains unclear if he is in a relationship. This aspect of his private life has been very well guarded over the years which has resulted in several speculations about the Hollywood star.
On several occassions, Penn has been romantically linked to some of his acting costars but they have been nothing more than perfect on-screen chemistry.
Owing to Kal Penn’s closely-guarded private life, there have been several conjectures regarding his sexuality many of which suggest that he is gay. These opinions, nonetheless, remain unconfirmed as the Hollywood actor has never made any pronouncements to that effect.
Height and Body Measurements
Kal stands at a height of 5 feet 10 inches (178 cm) and maintains a body weight of 78kg (172 lb). The bonafide Hollywood hunk has maintained a trim physique over the years and, has indeed aged like fine wine. His body measurements are 45-15-32 inches (114-38-81 cm).