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Michael Anthony Peña (born January 13, 1976) is an American actor.


Personal life

Peña, a Mexican American, was born in Chicagomarker, Illinoismarker, where his father worked at a button factory and his mother was an assistant to a social worker. Both of Peña's parents were originally farmers. Peña attended Hubbard High School in Chicago. He has been associated with Scientology. Peña and his wife Brie Shaffer welcomed their first child in September 2008, a boy named Roman.


Though Peña has been a regular in independent productions since 1994, his breakthrough performances came in 2004 in two Best Picture Oscar-winning Paul Haggis penned films, Million Dollar Baby and Crash. The latter was also directed by Haggis, while the former was helmed by Clint Eastwood. Though both films are critically acclaimed, Peña received attention for his particularly emotional performance in Crash. The following year, he appeared on the Golden Globe winning series, The Shield. In 2006, he starred in Oliver Stone's film based on the September 11, 2001 attacks, World Trade Center. He also had a small role in Alejandro González Iñárritu's Academy Award nominated and Golden Globe-winning film Babel. This gives him the rare distinction of having appeared in three consecutive Oscar nominated films. He recently starred alongside Mark Wahlberg in Shooter as novice FBImarker agent Nick Memphis.

In 2006, Peña performed in the HBO film Walkout playing the part of Sal Castro, a Mexican-American high school teacher who inspires a group of East L.A.marker high school students to fight for Chicano rights.

In 2009, Peña played a mall security guard alongside Seth Rogen's character in Jody Hill's Observe and Report.


Year Title Role Notes

1996 My Fellow Americans Ernesto

1999 Bellyfruit Oscar
Paradise Cove Dan Running Horse

2000 Gone in Sixty Seconds Ignacio

2001 Buffalo Soldiers Garcia

2002 Andy Richter Controls the Universe Patrick

2003 The United States of Leland Guillermo
Love Object Ramirez

2004 Crash Daniel
Million Dollar Baby Omar
The Calcium Kid Jose Mendez

2005 Little Athens Carlos
Sueno Jimmy

2006 Walkout Sal Castro TV
Fifty Pills Eduardo
Babel John
World Trade Center Will Jimeno

2007 Shooter Nick Memphis
Lions for Lambs Ernest
2008 The Lucky Ones T.K. Poole
2009 Observe and Report Dennis
2010 My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done TBA forthcoming film


  1. Michael Peña article at E-Online
  2. Michael Pena has luck on his side: Article at Chicago Sun-Times
  4. Observe and Report

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