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Penn Badgley: The Talented Actor Behind Dan Humphrey and Joe Goldberg

Full Name Penn Dayton Badgley
Birthday November 1, 1986
Birthplace Baltimore, Maryland
Best Known For Gossip Girl, You
Relationships Domino Kirke (married), Blake Lively (ex)
Social Media Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Penn Badgley has been captivating audiences since his breakout role as Dan Humphrey on Gossip Girl. With his latest chilling turn as bookstore manager/stalker Joe Goldberg on You, Penn has proven his versatility and staying power as an actor. But there‘s much more to this talented performer beyond these two memorable characters.

Early Life and Passion for Performing

As a Baltimore kid, Penn was drawn to performing at a young age. He started doing voiceovers for commercials when he was only eight years old! Penn‘s parents recognized his passion and talent. So at age 11, they made the decision to relocate the entire family to Hollywood so Penn could pursue acting professionally.

The move paid off quickly, with Penn booking jobs on shows like Will & Grace and The Young and the Restless. Acting soon became his top priority. After graduating high school, Penn decided to focus fully on his blossoming career rather than go to college. Looking back, he has said this early immersion in acting was critical for shaping the creative person he is today.

Gossip Girl: Penn‘s Star-Making Turn as Dan Humphrey

Gossip Girl aired from 2007-2012 and remains one of the most popular teen dramas of all time. The show propelled Penn Badgley into the limelight. He charmed viewers as Dan Humphrey, the middle-class Brooklyn kid struggling to fit in with his wealthy Upper East Side classmates.

Dan‘s on-off relationship with the glamorous Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively) became central to the plot. Their steamy scenes certainly contributed to the show‘s appeal! Penn‘s natural likeability made Dan the most grounded, relatable character. Fans loved following his outsider perspective on the world of the elite NYC teens. Even years later, Penn is still strongly linked with this breakout role.

From Sensitive Romantic Lead to Disturbed Killer

After Gossip Girl, Penn actively looked for more complex adult roles to avoid being typecast. He landed varied parts in indie films like The Birthday Cake, Cymbeline, and Parts Per Billion, getting to flex his acting skills. But it was the Netflix psychological thriller You that truly showcased Penn‘s wide range.

As the deeply unsettling yet weirdly charming stalker Joe Goldberg, Penn got to bring out his darker side. He depicted Joe‘s obsessive tendencies and capacity for violence with nuance and depth. The role highlighted his versatility and earned Penn new legions of fans. The show‘s move from Lifetime to Netflix after Season 1 has allowed millions more viewers to appreciate Penn‘s brilliant performance.

Theater Work: A Chance to Return to His Roots

While Penn is now best known for his television work, he stays passionate about theater. He returns to the stage periodically, feeling it allows him to grow and challenge himself as a performer. Some of Penn‘s memorable theatrical turns include The Glass Menagerie, Hamlet, and Dead End. Reviews consistently praise his stage presence and technical skills.

In 2022, Penn is set to star in the play Cuck. He has said theater feels like coming home again – it‘s where he first discovered his love of acting as a child. These stage roles enable Penn to flex different creative muscles than TV/film.

Fun Facts and Tidbits on Penn

After following Penn Badgley‘s career for so long, his fans have picked up on some fun facts and insider details about the actor.

  • His first celebrity crush was Alicia Silverstone of Clueless fame. Like any 90s kid, he thought she was dreamy.
  • He was in a band called MOTHXR for several years alongside his acting, releasing an album in 2014. Penn still dabbles in music.
  • He‘s an avid hockey player and fan. During his Gossip Girl days, he could be spotted playing pickup games around NYC.
  • Penn got married in 2017 to singer Domino Kirke. He‘s maintained a relatively private personal life compared to other celebrities.
  • He‘s mentioned Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and Kendrick Lamar as some of his biggest creative influences.

What‘s Next for Penn and Why We Adore Him

You can catch Penn Badgley in the newly released fourth season of You, reprising his role as the creepily compelling Joe Goldberg. The latest twist-filled installments are streaming now on Netflix.

Penn also has a crime drama titled The Birthday Cake coming out soon, co-starring Ewan McGregor. Plus, he‘s slated to star in the Paramount TV series The Inside Game about 1970s New York punk rock.

As Penn‘s two decades in the industry demonstrate, the longevity of his popularity stems from his abundant talent and thoughtful approach to his craft. His passion for acting and desire to grow continuously as a performer keep him consistently working. Penn‘s quick wit and good heart make him a delight in interviews. His authenticity and likability on and off-screen will keep audiences invested in his career for years to come.