Kalpen Suresh Modi (born April 23, 1977), best
known by his stage name Kal Penn, is an American film actor and
public servant. He is the first Indian-American to find a successful
acting career among Hollywood's mainstream.
As an actor, he is known for roles on the television programs House
and 24, as well as in the Harold and Kumar comedy films. Penn has
also taught at the University of Pennsylvania as a visiting lecturer
in the Cinema Studies Program. On April 8, 2009, it was announced
that Penn would join the Obama administration as an Associate Director
in the White House Office of Public Engagement. This necessitated
that his character Lawrence Kutner be written out of the TV series
House. Penn resigned his post as Barack Obama's associate director
of public engagement on June 1, 2010, to return to his acting career.
After a brief hiatus to film a sequel to the Harold and Kumar movie,
Penn returned to the White House Office of Public Engagement as
an Associate Director.
Penn's feature film debut came in 1998 in Express: Aisle to Glory.
He has since appeared in American Desi, National Lampoon's Van Wilder,
Malibu's Most Wanted, A Lot Like Love, Dude, Where's the Party?,
Love Don't Cost a Thing, Superman Returns, National Lampoon's Van
Wilder: The Rise of Taj, Epic Movie, The Namesake, the Harold and
Kumar series, and an uncredited appearance in Deck the Halls. Penn
was featured in The Lonely Island's rejected MTV comedy pilot for