Penn Badgley

Penn Badgley

Badgley at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival screening of Easy A
Born Penn Dayton Badgley
(1986-11-01) November 1, 1986
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Alma mater Lewis & Clark College
Occupation Actor, musician
Years active 1997–present

Musical career

Instruments Vocals
Labels Washington Square Music, Kitsuné
Associated acts MOTHXR

Penn Dayton Badgley[1] (born November 1, 1986) is an American actor and musician. He is best known for his role as Dan Humphrey on The CW's series Gossip Girl (2007–12) and has also starred in a number of films, including John Tucker Must Die (2006), The Stepfather (2009), Easy A (2010), Margin Call (2011), and Greetings from Tim Buckley (2012). He is currently the lead singer for Brooklyn-based indie band Mother (stylized as MOTHXR).

Early life

Badgley was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Lynne Murphy and Duff Badgley, who worked as a newspaper reporter and also a carpenter; Duff was the Green Party candidate for governor of Washington state in 2008.[2][3] His parents divorced when he was 12.[4] Badgley split his childhood years between Woodlake, Virginia and Seattle, Washington. He attended Woolridge Elementary, where his mother became PTA president[5] before he transferred to St. Christopher's School. He enjoyed playing youth soccer, where his father coached. He attended Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma, Washington, and was involved with the Seattle Children's Theatre. He soon began doing voice-overs for children's radio stations.

At age 11, Badgley relocated to Hollywood and began pursuing an acting career. He also pursued a singing career during this time and recorded a pop single in 1998.[6] At the age of fourteen, Badgley completed his California High School Proficiency Exam and began attending Santa Monica College.[4] He was later accepted to the University of Southern California, where he deferred admission due to contractual obligations, but then later enrolled at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon for two years.


Early work

Badgley's first credit was voice work for the video game Mario Golf 64 in 1999, though he claims to have never played it himself. He followed this up in 2000 with voice work on Mario Tennis 64.[7] His first screen acting credit was on an episode of Will & Grace[7] and subsequently appearing on shows such as Daddio, The Brothers García and What I Like About You.[7] Badgley's first major film credit was 2006's John Tucker Must Die, playing the role of Scott Tucker. In its opening weekend, the film grossed a total of $14.3 million, ranking third in the US box office results for that weekend. As of November 2, the film has grossed $41 million domestically.

Badgley's first notice came with his role as Phillip Chancellor IV on the soap opera The Young and the Restless, holding that role from 2000 to 2001. He was nominated for a 2001 Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Daytime Series for his work.[8]

In 2002, he starred in the WB comedy-drama series Do Over as Joel Larsen, a 34-year-old man who gets a second chance to get his life right, thanks to a freakish accident that catapults him back to 1980, as a 14-year-old. He appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno as this show premiered. The series was canceled short of a full season. Badgley later appeared in Drive-Thru playing Van co-starring future castmate Leighton Meester.[9]

Badgley went on to star in two other WB series: The Mountain (2004–05) and The Bedford Diaries (2006). Both shows were canceled after one season.[7][10][11][12]


In 2007, Badgley was cast in The CW's teen drama series Gossip Girl, based on the book series of the same name by Cecily von Ziegesar, which revolves around the lives of socialite young adults growing up on New York City's Upper East Side who attend elite academic institutions while dealing with sex, drugs, and other teenage issues. Badgley portrays Dan Humphrey, the son of 1990s former rock star Rufus Humphrey (Matthew Settle) and brother of Jenny Humphrey (Taylor Momsen), who becomes the love interest of Upper East Side's "it" girl, Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively).

He starred in the 2009 remake of the 1987 American thriller film The Stepfather, in which he is the stepson of the killer and plays an important role in the movie.[7][13] Badgley then proceeded to play Todd, the romantic interest of main character Olive (Emma Stone), in the 2010 teen romantic comedy Easy A. He also appeared in the 2011 financial thriller drama Margin Call.

In 2011, he was named one of People magazine's "25 Beauties (and Hotties) at 25".[14] BuddyTV ranked him number 75 on its "TV's 100 Sexiest Men of 2011" list.[15]

In late June 2011, it was reported Badgley would portray Jeff Buckley in Greetings from Tim Buckley. The movie follows the journey Jeff Buckley took in grappling with the legacy of his late musician father, Tim, leading up to and culminating with his legendary 1991 performance of his father's songs.[16] For the role, Badgley said he took guitar and vocal lessons.[17]

Personal life

During the 2008 United States presidential election, Badgley expressed his support for Barack Obama over John McCain. Badgley and Blake Lively appeared in a pro-Barack Obama commercial, as part of MoveOn's Youth Vote program. The commercial, directed by Doug Liman, aired during Gossip Girl on The CW, MTV, and Comedy Central.[18]

In March 2010, the American Red Cross announced Penn Badgley as a member in National Celebrity Cabinet, a group of celebrity supporters who promote Red Cross services by donating their time, helping neighbors prepare for emergencies, responding to disasters and lending a helping hand to those in need – down the street, across the country and around the world.[19]

In April 2010, Badgley joined forces with Brad Pitt in the USA Bid Committee to bring the FIFA World Cup to the United States in 2018 or 2022.[20]

Badgley is friends with Baltimore activist DeRay McKesson[21] whom he met during the Occupy Wall Street movement and considers himself an ally of the Black Lives Matter movement.[22][23] Badgley wants the police brutality dialogue to include women victims.[24] Badgley is also a LGBT rights activist.[25]


In early 2014, Badgley and band mates released a song titled Easy on SoundCloud under the name M O T H E R the song quickly gained popularity and was posted on numerous blogs. Months later the band decided to go by the spelling of MOTHXR. In 2015, the band signed with the labels Kitsuné and Washington Square Music, the New York City-based subdivision of the Razor & Tie label. The band has supported acts such as Streets of Laredo, San Cisco, Sir Sly, Har Mar Superstar, The Neighbourhood and Miami Horror. Their debut album, Centerfold, was released February 26, 2016 [26][27]


Studio albums


Year Title Role Notes
2000 Fluffer, TheThe Fluffer Young Sean
2003 Debating Robert Lee Debator
2006 John Tucker Must Die Scott Tucker
2007 Drive-Thru Van
2008 Forever Strong Lars
2009 Juggler, TheThe Juggler The stud Short film
2009 Stepfather, TheThe Stepfather Michael Harding
2010 Easy A "Woodchuck" Todd
2011 Margin Call Seth Bregman
2012 Greetings from Tim Buckley Jeff Buckley
2014 Parts per Billion Erik
2015 Cymbeline Posthumus
2016 The Paper Store Sigurd Rossdale
2016 Adam Green's Aladdin Prince of Monaco
Year Title Role Notes
1999 Will & Grace Todd Episode: "I Never Promised You an Olive Garden"
2000–01 Young and the Restless, TheThe Young and the Restless Phillip Chancellor Role held: May 12, 2000 – February 1, 2001
2000–02 Brothers García, TheThe Brothers García Eddie Bauer 2 episodes
2000 Daddio Todd 2 episodes
2002 Nightmare Room, TheThe Nightmare Room Mike Uncredited; episode: "My Name Is Evil"
2002 Do Over Joel Larsen Main cast; 15 episodes
2002 What I Like About You Jake Wood Episode: "Copy That"
2003 Twilight Zone, TheThe Twilight Zone Trace Malone Episode: "Homecoming"
2004–05 Mountain, TheThe Mountain Sam Tunney Main cast; 13 episodes
2006 Bedford Diaries, TheThe Bedford Diaries Owen Gregory Main cast; 8 episodes
2007–12 Gossip Girl Daniel "Dan" Humphrey Main cast; 121 episodes
2015 Slap, TheThe Slap Jamie 2 episodes
Video games
Year Title Role Notes
1999 Mario Golf 64 Kid Voice
2000 Mario Tennis 64 Alex Voice

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
2001 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Daytime TV Series: Young Actor Young and the Restless, TheThe Young and the Restless Nominated[28]
2008 Teen Choice Award Choice TV Actor: Drama Gossip Girl Nominated[29]
2009 Teen Choice Award Nominated[30]
2010 Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Actor: Horror/Thriller The Stepfather Nominated[31]
Choice TV Actor: Drama Gossip Girl Nominated[31]
2011 Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Actor: Romantic Comedy Easy A Nominated[32]
Choice TV Actor: Drama Gossip Girl Nominated[32]
Gotham Independent Film Award Best Ensemble Performance Margin Call Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award Best Cast Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society Award Best Performance by an Ensemble Nominated
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award Best Ensemble Acting Nominated
2012 Independent Spirit Award Robert Altman Award Won
Teen Choice Award Choice TV Actor: Drama Gossip Girl Nominated[33]
2013 Teen Choice Award Nominated
2016 2016 Manchester Film Festival Jury Special Mention - Lead Actor The Paper Store Won
2016 Oxford Film Festival Best Actor Won


  1. "Men's Health - Celebrity Fitness - Penn Badgley Gets Fit Fast". Retrieved 2014-01-21.
  2. Swanson, Carl (April 28, 2013). "Penn Badgley's Mission to Reclaim His Own Celebrity With Greetings From Tim Buckley". Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  3. "GOSSIP GIRL Jewelry, Mama knows best when it comes to gorgeous baubles...". FocusOnStyle. 2008-12-07. Retrieved 2014-01-21.
  4. 1 2 Harris, Mark (September 30, 2008). "Boys of Gossip Girl". Details. Condé Nast. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
  5. Hahn, Laura (July 17, 2008). "Blake Lively Steps Out with Penn Badgley's Family". People.
  6. "tyra banks show behind the scenes: blake and penn".
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 Penn Badgley at the Internet Movie Database
  8. Awards for Penn Badgley at the Internet Movie Database
  9. Drive Thru at the Internet Movie Database
  10. The Bedford Diaries at the Internet Movie Database
  11. The Mountain at the Internet Movie Database
  12. Gossip Girl at the Internet Movie Database
  13. The Stepfather at the Internet Movie Database
  14. "25 Beauties (and Hotties) at 25 - Penn Badgley". People. April 7, 2011. Retrieved January 14, 2011.
  15. "TV's 100 Sexiest Men of 2011". BuddyTV. Retrieved January 14, 2012.
  16. "Penn Badgley To Play Jeff Buckley In 'Greetings From Tim Buckley' Film". The Huffington Post. June 20, 2011. Retrieved January 14, 2012.
  17. Bennett Marcus (June 29, 2011). "Penn Badgley Knows There's Skepticism About His Ability to Play Jeff Buckley". New York. Retrieved January 14, 2012.
  18. "Blake Lively & Penn Badgley Go for Laughs in Pro-Obama Ad". People. 2008-10-14. Retrieved 2009-11-13.
  19. "American Red Cross Adds Eight New Members to its Celebrity Cabinet". American Red Cross. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
  20. "Brad Pitt Joins USA Bid for World Cup". OK!. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
  21. "deray mckesson on Twitter".
  22. "Penn Badgley joins the fight to end racism".
  23. "Comments".
  24. "Penn Badgley on Twitter".
  25. "Timeline Photos".
  26. "MOTHXR".
  28. "Twenty-Second Annual Young Artist Awards 1999-2000". Retrieved December 28, 2012.
  29. "2008 Teen Choice Awards Nominees & Winners". 2008. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
  30. "Teen Choice Awards 2009 nominees". Los Angeles Times. June 15, 2009. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
  31. 1 2 Soll, Lindsay (June 14, 2010). "Teen Choice Awards 2010: First Round Of Nominees Announced". MTV. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
  32. 1 2 "Teen Choice Awards 2011 Nominees Announced: Harry Potter vs Twilight". The Huffington Post. June 29, 2011. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
  33. "Teen Choice Award Nominees 2012". Huffington Post. May 18, 2012. Retrieved May 19, 2012.
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