A fiercely independent actress known for never trading on her blonde good looks, Robin Wright Penn strayed even further from the mainstream when she married iconoclast actor-director Sean Penn in 1996. Though she's appeared in such audience favorites as The Princess Bride (1987) and Forrest Gump (1994), the list of blockbusters she's turned down is far longer. Her professional essence remains linked with the daring, blue-collar cinema of her husband and frequent collaborator. Wright Penn has also followed his lead by vehemently shunning the spotlight, at least in matters unrelated to her craft.
Born on April 8, 1966, in Dallas and raised in San Diego by her divorced mother, Robin Wright Penn got her first glimpses of show business as a model in Paris and Japan, having pursued that line of work only to raise money for a trip to Europe. Ditching her thoughts of ministering to the poor, Wright Penn heeded the advice of her modeling agent and made her acting debut in the soap opera Santa Barbara, where she played Kelly, the youngest daughter of rich socialites C.C. and Sophia Capwell. Thrice nominated for daytime Emmys, Wright Penn caught the eye of Rob Reiner, who cast her as Princess Buttercup in his beloved fairytale The Princess Bride. Proud and unrelenting, Buttercup nonetheless had a passive role in the events of that comic romantic fantasy, and Wright Penn determined to play neither the princess nor the victim in future projects. This resolve prompted her to reject scripts for Jurassic Park (1993), Batman Forever (1995), and Sabrina (1995), among others.