Eileen Ryan, actress and Sean Penn's mother, dies aged 94

Actress Eileen Ryan, who was also known as the widow of Leo Penn and mother of actors Sean Penn and Christopher Penn and musician Michael Penn, has died at the age of 94.

Ryan died at her Malibu home on Sunday, a week before her 95th birthday, a spokesperson confirmed to the Hollywood Reporter.

Born in New York City, Ryan became an actress on Broadway, playing Evie in Sing Till Tomorrow  in 1953 and Lorraine in Comes a Day in 1958.

She also appeared in TV shows including The Twilight Zone, The Detectives, Ben Casey and Bonanza.

Ryan also featured in films including At Close Range, I Am Sam, The Indian Runner and The Crossing Guard.

In 1957, she married actor and director Leo Penn after the pair met during rehearsals for a production of The Iceman Cometh in New York.


They were together until his death in 1998 at the age of 77.

The pair welcomed three sons, Christopher, Sean, and Michael, with Ryan largely giving up her acting career to become a full-time mother.

However, she did return to the screen a number of times for smaller parts, including her sons, for instance 1986’s At Close Range, in which she played the grandmother of characters played by Sean and Christopher.

Christopher died at the age of 40 in January 2006 of heart disease.

While she didn’t take on huge parts following the birth of her sons, Ryan did continue to appear in various series and films, with her final credit being  Rules Don’t Apply in 2016.

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