Michael Pena

Michael Pena

Birth Name



Also Known As

Michael Anthony Peña, Michael Anthony Pena, Michael A. Pena, Michael A. Peña, Michael Peña
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Michael Pena is an American actor from Chicago, Illinois, born on January 13, 1976. Pena started his show business career working in Indie films in the 90s, making his motion picture debut in the 1994 family drama, Running Free. His television debut came a year later when he…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Michael is 5' 7" (1.70 m).

    • Michael considers Don Cheadle the Michael Jordan of acting, making it all look so easy, but actually working very hard at it.

    • Michael enjoys acting with children, although he was fore-warned to never act with animals or children. He just speaks to them on an adult level, and finds that they return the respect, once it is offered.

    • Michael appeared in the independent film Love Object, starring Rip Torn and Desmond Harrington.

    • Michael researched the role as a father in Crash by watching his brother interact with his daughter, and by reading several books on raising children.

    • Michael enjoyed skateboarding growing up, and was happy to play a role alongside Heath Ledger and Emile Hirsch in the skateboarding biopic, Lords Of Dogtown. The film was directed by Catherine Hardwicke for Sony Pictures.

    • Michael accepted the role of a dedicated, hard-working family man in the 2004 Paul Haggis' film about racism, Crash. Michael acted alongside Matt Dillon, Sandra Bullock, and Don Cheadle.

    • Michael gained a huge following in 2004, when he took on the role of Omar, the wise-cracking amateur boxer, alongside Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman in the Paul Haggis film Million Dollar Baby. The film was directed by Clint Eastwood, whom Michael enjoyed working with.

    • Michael played the part of Sal Castro, a Mexican-American high school teacher in East Los Angeles who inspired a group of students to fight for Chicano rights, in the HBO film, Walkout.

    • Michael starred alongside Nicolas Cage for the second time in Oliver Stone's homage to the heroes from the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, in World Trade Center. He plays one of only 20 survivors that were pulled out of the Center.

    • Michael plays bass guitar with his own band, which is yet to be named.

    • Michael is an avid golf player, and enjoys boxing for relaxation.

    • Michael attends the Church of Scientology.

    • Michael moved from Chicago to Los Angeles, California after securing his first movie role, and a string of others came in succession. He appeared in: Starmaps, My Fellow Americans with vetran screen actors James Garner and Jack Lemon, La Cucaracha, and Jerry Bruckheimer's Gone in Sixty Seconds with Nicolas Cage.

    • Michael was content with working at a bank, pulling in big paychecks, for a 17 year old, but his best friend's mother urged him to try his hand at acting. She told him of an open casting call for Peter Bogdonovich's feature film To Sir, With Love 2. Michael beat out hundreds of other young men for the role.

    • Michael was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1976, and attended prep school at Hubbard High School. After he graduated at age 17, he went to work as a teller in a bank.

  • Quotes

    • Michael: Playing my bass is an escape. After a long day, or week, I pick it up, and start to play. Usually I lose all track of time...I play all different kinds of music, depending on my mood, but rock is my favorite.

    • Michael: My religion is basically a closed book to the public, it is always under such scrutiny. I would take the time to explain the beliefs, if people were honestly interested. They aren't.

    • Michael: I know how lucky I am, believe me. One day, I am working a 9 to 5 at a bank, the next, I am reading through scripts, and learning lines for roles next to the biggest stars that I have admired for years. I keep waiting for the punchline here.

    • Michael: It took me about six times to just watch Crash properly, because I was always waiting for my scenes. I was being neurotic about them because there are huge stars in this movie that are legit and well known.