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The Celebrity Archaeology Podcast


May 21, 2018

Our episode cover of Sean Penn and Madonna are pictured in 1990. Sean Justin Penn (born August 17, 1960) is an American actor, filmmaker, and political activist. He has won two Academy Awards, for his roles in the mystery drama Mystic River (2003) and the biopic Milk (2008). Penn began his acting career in television with a brief appearance in episode 112 of Little House on the Prairie (December 4, 1974), directed by his father Leo Penn. Following his film debut in the drama Taps (1981) and a diverse range of film roles in the 1980s, including Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), Penn garnered critical attention for his roles in the crime dramas At Close Range (1986), State of Grace (1990), and Carlito's Way (1993). He became known as a prominent leading actor with the drama Dead Man Walking (1995), for which he earned his first Academy Award nomination and the Best Actor Award at the Berlin Film Festival. Penn received another two Oscar nominations for Woody Allen's comedy-drama Sweet and Lowdown (1999) and the drama I Am Sam (2001), before winning his first Academy Award for Best Actor in 2003 for Mystic River and a second one in 2008 for Milk. He has also won a Best Actor Award of the Cannes Film Festival for the Nick Cassavetes-directed She's So Lovely (1997), and two Best Actor Awards at the Venice Film Festival for the indie film Hurlyburly (1998) and the drama 21 Grams (2003). Penn made his feature film directorial debut with The Indian Runner (1991), followed by the drama film The Crossing Guard (1995) and the mystery film The Pledge (2001). Penn directed one of the 11 segments of 11'09'01 September 11 (2002), a compilation film made in response to the September 11 attacks. His fourth feature film, the biographical drama survival movie Into the Wild (2007), garnered critical acclaim and two Academy Award nominations. Penn was born in Santa Monica, California to actor and director Leo Penn, and actress Eileen Ryan. His older brother is musician Michael Penn. His younger brother, actor Chris Penn, died in 2006. His paternal grandparents were Ashkenazi Jewish emigrants from Lithuania and Russia, while his mother is a Catholic of Irish and Italian descent. Penn was raised in a secular home and attended Santa Monica High School. He began making short films with some of his childhood friends, including actors Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen, who lived near his home. Penn was engaged to actress Elizabeth McGovern, his co-star in Racing with the Moon (1984). He met pop singer Madonna in February 1985, and they married that August on her birthday. The two starred in the panned and much-derided Shanghai Surprise (1986), directed by Jim Goddard, and Madonna dedicated her third studio album True Blue (1986) to Penn, referring to him in the liner notes as "the coolest guy in the universe". The relationship was marred by violent outbursts against the press, including one incident when Penn was arrested for assaulting a photographer on a film set; Penn was sentenced to 60 days in jail in mid-1987, of which he served 33 days. Madonna filed for divorce in December 1987 but later withdrew the papers, only to file them again in January 1989. Madonna reportedly filed an assault complaint that she was beaten in her Malibu, California home by her estranged husband, but in January 1989, the Associated Press reported that she had "dropped assault charges." Penn was alleged to have struck Madonna on multiple occasions, but in 2015 Madonna stated the allegations were "completely outrageous, malicious, reckless, and false”. At the end of his first marriage, Penn moved in with actress Robin Wright, and their first child, a daughter named Dylan Frances, was born April 13, 1991. Their second child, son Hopper Jack, was born August 6, 1993. Penn and Wright separated in 1995, during which time he developed a relationship with Jewel, after he spotted her performing on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. He invited her to compose a song for his film The Crossing Guard (1995) and followed her on tour. Penn and Wright reconciled, married on April 27, 1996, and lived in Ross, California. The couple filed for divorce in December 2007 but reconciled several months later, requesting a court dismissal of their divorce case. In April 2009, Penn filed for legal separation, only to withdraw the case once again when the couple reconciled in May. On August 12, 2009, Wright Penn filed for divorce again. The couple's divorce was finalized on July 22, 2010; the couple reached a private agreement on child and spousal support, division of assets, and custody of Hopper, who was almost 17 at the time. In December 2013, Penn began dating actress Charlize Theron. The two announced their engagement in December 2014. Theron ended their relationship in June 2015. Madonna Madonna Louise Ciccone born August 16, 1958, is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. Referred to as the "Queen of Pop" since the 1980s, Madonna is known for pushing the boundaries of lyrical content in mainstream popular music, as well as visual imagery in music videos and on stage. She has also frequently reinvented both her music and image while maintaining autonomy within the recording industry. Besides sparking controversy, her works have been praised by music critics. Madonna is often cited as an influence by other artists. Born and raised in Michigan, Madonna moved to New York City in 1978 to pursue a career in modern dance. After performing as a drummer, guitarist and vocalist in the music groups Breakfast Club and Emmy, Madonna signed with Sire Records in 1982 and released her eponymous debut album the next year. She followed it with a series of successful albums, including the global bestsellers, Like a Virgin (1984) and True Blue (1986), as well as the Grammy Award winners, Ray of Light (1998) and Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005). Throughout her career, Madonna has written and produced most of her songs, with many of them reaching number one on the record charts, including "Like a Virgin", "Papa Don't Preach", "Like a Prayer", "Vogue", "Take a Bow", "Frozen", "Music", "Hung Up", and "4 Minutes". Madonna's popularity was further enhanced by her roles in films such as Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), Dick Tracy (1990), A League of Their Own (1992), and Evita (1996). While the latter earned her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, many of her other films received poor reviews. As a businesswoman, Madonna founded her own entertainment company Maverick, including the label Maverick Records, in 1992. Her other ventures include fashion design, writing children's books, opening of health clubs, and filmmaking. She has contributed to various charities and founded the Raising Malawi organization in 2006. Having sold more than 300 million records worldwide, Madonna is recognized as the best-selling female recording artist of all time by Guinness World Records. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) listed her as the second highest-certified female artist in the U.S., with 64.5 million album units. According to Billboard, Madonna is the most successful solo act on its Hot 100 singles chart and second overall behind the Beatles. She is also the highest-grossing solo touring artist of all time, earning U.S. $1.4 billion from her concert tickets. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in her first year of eligibility, Madonna topped VH1's countdown of 100 Greatest Women in Music. Additionally, Rolling Stone listed her among the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time. Early life and career beginnings Madonna was born to Catholic parents, Madonna Louise Fortin and Tony Ciccone, in Bay City, Michigan, on August 16, 1958. Her father's parents were emigrants from Pacentro, Italy, while her mother was of French-Canadian ancestry. Tony worked as an engineer designer for Chrysler and General Motors. She has two elder brothers, Anthony and Martin, and three younger siblings, Paula, Christopher, and Melanie. Months before her mother died of breast cancer at age 30 on December 1, 1963, Madonna noticed changes in her behavior and personality, although she did not understand the reason. Her mother was at a loss to explain her medical condition, and often began to cry when Madonna questioned her about it. Madonna later acknowledged that she had not grasped the concept of her mother dying. Madonna later told Vanity Fair that she saw herself in her youth as a "lonely girl who was searching for something. I wasn't rebellious in a certain way. I cared about being good at something. I didn't shave my underarms and I didn't wear make-up like normal girls do. But I studied and I got good grades. I wanted to be somebody." She attended St. Frederick's and St. Andrew's Catholic Elementary Schools, and West Middle School. Madonna was known for her high grade point average, and achieved notoriety for her unconventional behavior. She would perform cartwheels and handstands in the hallways between classes, dangle by her knees from the monkey bars during recess, and pull up her skirt during class—all so that the boys could see her underwear. Madonna later attended Rochester Adams High School where she became a straight-A student and a member of the cheerleading squad. After graduating, she received a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and attended the American Dance Festival over the summer. She convinced her father to allow her to take ballet lessons and was persuaded by Christopher Flynn, her ballet teacher, to pursue a career in dance. In 1978, she dropped out of college and relocated to New York City. She had little money and worked as a waitress at Dunkin' Donuts and with modern dance troupes, taking classes at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and eventually performing with Pear Lang Dance Theater. Madonna said of her move to New York, "It was the first time I'd ever taken a plane, the first time I'd ever gotten a taxi cab. I came here with $35 in my pocket. It was the bravest thing I'd ever done." She started to work as a backup dancer for other established artists. Madonna claimed that during a late night she was returning from a rehearsal, when a pair of men held her at knifepoint and forced her to perform fellatio. Madonna later commented that "the episode was a taste of my weakness, it showed me that I still could not save myself in spite of all the strong-girl show. I could never forget it." In 1980 or 1981 she left Breakfast Club and, with her former boyfriend Stephen Bray as drummer, formed the band Emmy. The two began writing songs together, but Madonna later decided to market herself as a solo act. Her music impressed DJ and record producer Mark Kamins who arranged a meeting between Madonna and Sire Records founder Seymour Stein. In 1992, Madonna starred in A League of Their Own as Mae Mordabito, a baseball player on an all-women's team. It reached number one on the box-office and became the tenth highest-grossing film of the year in the U.S. She recorded the film's theme song, "This Used to Be My Playground", which became her tenth Hot 100 number-one hit, the most by any female artist at the time. The same year, she founded her own entertainment company, Maverick, consisting of a record company (Maverick Records), a film production company (Maverick Films), and associated music publishing, television broadcasting, book publishing and merchandising divisions. The deal was a joint venture with Time Warner and paid Madonna an advance of $60 million. It gave her 20% royalties from the music proceedings, the highest rate in the industry at the time, equaled only by Michael Jackson's royalty rate established a year earlier with Sony. Madonna embarked on The Girlie Show World Tour, in which she dressed as a whip-cracking dominatrix surrounded by topless dancers. In Puerto Rico she rubbed the island's flag between her legs on stage, resulting in outrage among the audience. In March 1994, she appeared as a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman, using profanity that required censorship on television, and handing Letterman a pair of her panties and asking him to smell it. The releases of her sexually explicit book, album and film, and the aggressive appearance on Letterman all made critics question Madonna as a sexual renegade. Critics and fans reacted negatively, who commented that "she had gone too far" and that her career was over. She later became romantically involved with fitness trainer Carlos Leon. On October 14, 1996, she gave birth to Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon, her daughter with Leon. 2018 In January 2018, Madonna announced on Instagram that she had started working on her 14th studio album. Four months later, she appeared at the 2018 Met Gala and performed a new song called "Beautiful Game", along with "Like a Prayer" and Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". Various music journalists, critical theorists, and authors have deemed Madonna the most influential female recording artist of all time. The Guinness World Records acknowledged her as the best-selling female recording artist and the fourth best-selling act of all time, behind The Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Michael Jackson.  Madonna remains the highest-grossing solo touring artist of all time. Madonna holds the record for the most number-ones on all combined Billboard charts, including twelve number-one songs on the Billboard Hot 100 and eight number-one albums on the Billboard 200. Links: The Book: https://amzn.to/2HrXUUS The Podcast on iTunes: https://apple.co/2HGtPQZ The podcast on Google Play: http://celebrityarchaeologypodcast.com/gpm The site: http://CelebrityArchaeology.com