Penn Badgley: Snapshot

Penn Badgley
Date of Birth
November 01, 1986
Birth Place
Baltimore, Md.
As Brooklynite Dan Humphrey on Gossip Girl, Penn Badgley used his witty banter (and those cheekbones!) to win over blonde beauty Serena van der Woodsen onscreen – and Blake Lively off!

After performing in the Seattle Children's Theater, Badgley moved to L.A., found an agent and made his debut on Will & Grace. He then graduated to a recurring role on The Young and the Restless and a starring role, at 15, on the WB's Do Over. After making the rounds in a few other failed WB series, he nabbed his breakout role on the juicy CW show about rich Manhattan prep-schoolers that made him and a beautiful pack of previous unknowns – Lively, Leighton Meester, Chace Crawford – household names. Gossip Girl ended in 2012.

Penn Badgley: Video

Star Talk

The Gossip Girl star has something to get off his chest – his shirt! Go behind the scenes of his PEOPLE shoot, and find out what he's looking for in a woman. (01:50)

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Penn Badgley: Five Fun Facts

  1. Penn Badgley was named after Penn tennis balls. "My father was bouncing a Penn tennis ball for stress during my mom's pregnancy," he told E!'s Daily 10. "When my mother got her first amnio...she just casually mentioned that the baby is the size of that tennis ball, and that's it. I'm glad it wasn't Dunlop or Wilson."
  2. Penn Badgley covets Gossip Girl costar Ed Westwick's chest hair because "they make me shave my chest for the show," he told PEOPLE.
  3. On the verge of his Gossip Girl fame, Penn Badgley was asked about the prospects of becoming a teen heartthrob. "It could get overwhelming if I turned into Kirk Cameron or something," he told Out magazine.
  4. When asked about the work he's least proud of, Penn Badgley cited a "training video for the Pokémon card game." He also lent his voice to two Mario video games, including 1999's "Mario Golf 64" and 2000's "Mario Tennis".
  5. While filming The Bedford Diaries, Penn Badgley used costar Milo Ventimiglia's ID to sneak into bars.

Penn Badgley: Biography


Penn Badgley

September 19

The WB Rounds

In the WB's Do Over, a 15-year-old Badgley (pictured with costar Natasha Melnick) plays Joel, a 34-year-old reliving his life from the age of 14. Although the series fails, the network is good to Badgley. The teen actor appears in other short-lived series, including the 2004 family drama The Mountain and the 2006 sex-ed show The Bedford Diaries with Milo Ventimiglia. "It definitely felt like, 'What can we put Penn in this year because we want to keep him working for us?'" Badgley tells the New York Post in 2007. "There was a time when I felt a little cheesy, doing WB show after WB show – like it was repetitive."


Penn Badgley

July 28

The Other Tucker

At 19, Badgley lands on the big screen in John Tucker Must Die, where he plays Scott, John Tucker's (played by Jesse Metcalfe) younger brother, who has a crush on Kate (played by Brittany Snow). The New York Times, which calls Badgley "wildly charismatic," says "The entire picture could hang on his cheekbones alone."


Penn Badgley

September 19

XOXO, Gossip Girl

Surrounded by rich Manhattanites, Badgley plays Brooklyn outcast Dan Humphrey in the CW's Gossip Girl. "He casts himself out because he doesn't agree with the privileged kids' lifestyle," Badgley tells CosmoGIRL!, "but he's conflicted because he's in love with the girl who embodies all of that." The breakout hit costars Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Chace Crawford, Ed Westwick and Taylor Momsen.

Read More on Penn Badgley's Life

Photo Credits

Top Left: Brian Ach/Getty

BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Everett Collection; Everett Collection; CBS

Edited by Julia Wang

Penn Badgley

Celebrity Central / Top 25 Celebs