Kal Penn was born Kalpen Suresh Modi in Montclair, New Jersy on April 23, 1977 to Indian Gujarati descended immigrant parents – his father is an engineer with a master’s in chemistry and his mother, a fragrance evaluator. He attended Howel High School and The Fine and Performing Arts Specialized Learning Center then majored in Film and Sociology at UCLA where he was a founding member of 6 South.
His film debut was in Express; Aisle to Glory in 1998 and he’s won acclaim for his part as Gogol Ganguli in the screen adaption of “The Namesake”, but he’s most well known as Kumar – hilarious, pot-marrying friend of Harold in “Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle”, the sequel to which has recently hit film festivals and is set for theaters in April, 2008. Unlike his screen alter ego Kumar, Kal is a vegetarian.
Kalpen is an accomplished actor and producer, and has recently added teacher to his resume with his “Asian-Americans in the Media” course at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. He’s the first Indian-American in the United States to have such mainstream success, and it’s well deserved.