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Penn Dayton Badgley[1] (born November 1, 1986) is an American actor and musician. He is best known for his role as Dan Humphrey in The CW teen drama series Gossip Girl (2007–12) and as Joe Goldberg in the Netflix thriller series You (2018–present).

Penn Badgley
Penn Badgley TIFF 2010.jpg
Badgley at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival screening of Easy A
Penn Dayton Badgley

(1986-11-01) November 1, 1986 (age 33)
Alma materLewis & Clark College
OccupationActor, musician
Years active1997–present
Domino Kirke (m. 2017)
Musical career
InstrumentsVocals, keyboards
LabelsWashington Square Music, Kitsuné
Associated actsMOTHXR

Badgley has also appeared in a number of films, including John Tucker Must Die (2006), The Stepfather (2009), Easy A (2010), Margin Call (2011), and Greetings from Tim Buckley (2012). He is also the lead singer for Brooklyn-based indie band MOTHXR. Their studio album Centerfold was released in 2016.

Early lifeEdit

Badgley was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Lynne Murphy and Duff Badgley, who worked as a newspaper reporter and also a carpenter; Duff was the Green Party candidate for governor of Washington in 2008.[2][3] His parents divorced when he was 12.[4] Badgley split his childhood years between Woodlake, Virginia and Seattle, Washington. He attended Woolridge Elementary, where his mother became PTA president[5] before he transferred to St. Christopher's School. He enjoyed playing youth soccer, where his father coached.[citation needed] He attended Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma, Washington, and was involved with the Seattle Children's Theatre. He soon began doing voice-overs for children's radio stations.

At age 11, Badgley relocated to Hollywood and began pursuing an acting career. He also sought a singing career during this time, and recorded a pop single in 1998.[6] At the age of 14, Badgley completed his California High School Proficiency Exam and began attending Santa Monica College.[4] He was later accepted to the University of Southern California, where he deferred admission due to contractual obligations, but then later enrolled at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, for two years.


1999–2006: Career beginningsEdit

Badgley's first credit was voice work for the video games Mario Golf 64 and Mario Tennis 64 in 1999 and 2000.[6] His first screen acting credit was on an episode of Will & Grace and he subsequently appeared on shows such as Daddio, The Brothers García, and What I Like About You.[7] His first noticeable role was as Phillip Chancellor IV on the soap opera The Young and the Restless, from 2000 to 2001. He was nominated for a 2001 Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Daytime Series for his work.[8]

In 2002, he starred in The WB's comedy-drama series Do Over as Joel Larsen, a 34-year-old man who gets a second chance to get his life right, thanks to a freakish accident that catapults him back to 1980, as a 14-year-old. Badgley went on to star in two other WB series: The Mountain (2004–2005) and The Bedford Diaries (2006).[7] Badgley's first major film credit was 2006's John Tucker Must Die, playing the role of Scott Tucker.[9] In its opening weekend, the film grossed a total of $14.3 million, ranking third in the US box office results for that weekend.[10] Badgley later appeared in Drive-Thru, co-starring future castmate Leighton Meester.[11]

2007–2012: Gossip Girl and film rolesEdit

In 2007, Badgley was cast in The CW's teen drama series Gossip Girl as Dan Humphrey, based on the book series of the same name by Cecily von Ziegesar. He initially turned down the role, but accepted after the producers struggled finding someone to fill the role.[12] In 2009, he starred in thriller film The Stepfather, a remake of the 1987 film, as the stepson of the serial killer.[13] Badgley then played Todd, the romantic interest of main character Olive (Emma Stone), in the 2010 teen romantic comedy Easy A.

In 2011, he was named one of People's "25 Beauties (and Hotties) at 25"[14] and BuddyTV ranked him number 75 on its "TV's 100 Sexiest Men of 2011" list.[15] He also appeared in the financial thriller drama Margin Call (2011).[16] In late June of that year, Badgley reportedly would portray Jeff Buckley in Greetings from Tim Buckley. The movie follows the journey Jeff Buckley took in grappling with the legacy of his late musician father, Tim, leading up to and culminating with his 1991 performance of his father's songs.[17] For the role, Badgley said he took guitar and vocal lessons.[18] Badgley joined the cast of Parts per Billion in December 2012, opposite Alexis Bledel and Teresa Palmer.[19] The film was released in 2014.[20]

2013–present: Continued success and MOTHXREdit

Badgley joined the cast of the 2013 adaptation of Cymbeline as the orphan Posthumus.[21] In early 2014, Badgley and bandmates released a song titled "Easy" on SoundCloud under the name M O T H E R; the song quickly gained popularity and was posted on numerous blogs.[22] Months later, the band changed the spelling to MOTHXR, citing a cease-and-desist from another band with a similar name.[23] In 2015, the band signed with the labels Kitsuné and Washington Square Music, the New York City-based subdivision of the Razor & Tie label.[24] The band has supported acts such as Streets of Laredo, San Cisco, Sir Sly, Har Mar Superstar, The Neighbourhood, and Miami Horror. Their debut album, Centerfold, was released February 26, 2016.[25]

Badgley had a recurring role in NBC's 2015 miniseries The Slap, based upon the Australian series of the same name.[26] He had a minor role in Adam Green's Aladdin[27] and starred in Lifetime's former television adaptation of You as Joe Goldberg, which premiered on September 9, 2018.[28][29][30] On December 3, 2018, it was announced that You would move to Netflix as a "Netflix Original" title, ahead of the premiere of the second season.[31] The second season will be released on Netflix on December 26, 2019.[32]

In October 2019, it was announced Badgley had joined the cast of Here Today, opposite Billy Crystal and Tiffany Haddish.[33]

Personal lifeEdit

During the 2008 United States presidential election, Badgley expressed his support for Barack Obama over John McCain. Badgley and Blake Lively appeared in a pro-Barack Obama commercial, as part of MoveOn's Youth Vote program. The commercial, directed by Doug Liman, aired during Gossip Girl on The CW, MTV, and Comedy Central.[34] In March 2010, the American Red Cross announced Penn Badgley as a member in National Celebrity Cabinet, a group of celebrity supporters who promote Red Cross services.[35] A "huge soccer fan", Badgley joined forces with Brad Pitt to bring the FIFA World Cup to the United States in 2018 or 2022.[6][36]

Badgley is a friend of Baltimore activist DeRay McKesson,[37] whom he met during the Occupy Wall Street movement, and considers himself an ally of the Black Lives Matter movement.[38][39] Badgley wants the police brutality dialogue to include women victims.[40] He also supports LGBT rights.[41] Badgley is a member of the Baha'i faith.[42]

In 2014, Badgley began a relationship with singer Domino Kirke. They married in a New York courthouse on February 27, 2017.[43] He is a stepfather to Kirke's son Cassius.


Studio albumsEdit

  • Centerfold (2016)


Film roles
Year Title Role Notes
2000 The Fluffer Young Sean
2003 Debating Robert Lee Debator
2006 John Tucker Must Die Scott Tucker
2007 Drive-Thru Van
2008 Forever Strong Lars
2009 The Stepfather Michael Harding
2010 Easy A "Woodchuck" Todd
2011 Margin Call Seth Bregman
2012 Greetings from Tim Buckley Jeff Buckley
2014 Parts per Billion Erik
2015 Cymbeline Posthumus
2016 The Paper Store Sigurd Rossdale
2016 Adam Green's Aladdin Prince of Monaco
TBA Here Today Rex Post-production
Television roles
Year Title Role Notes
1999 Will & Grace Todd Episode: "I Never Promised You an Olive Garden"
2000–2001 The Young and the Restless Phillip "Chance" Chancellor Role held: May 12, 2000 – February 1, 2001
2000–2002 The Brothers García Eddie Bauer 2 episodes
2000 Daddio Todd 2 episodes
2002 The Nightmare Room Mike Episode: "My Name Is Evil"; uncredited[citation needed]
2002 Do Over Joel Larsen Main role
2002 What I Like About You Jake Wood Episode: "Copy That"
2003 The Twilight Zone Trace Malone Episode: "Homecoming"
2004–2005 The Mountain Sam Tunney Main role
2006 The Bedford Diaries Owen Gregory Main role
2007–2012 Gossip Girl Daniel "Dan" Humphrey Main role
2015 The Slap Jamie 2 episodes
2018–present You Joseph "Joe" Goldberg Main role
Video games
Year Title Role Notes
1999 Mario Golf 64 Kid Voice
2000 Mario Tennis 64 Alex Voice

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2001 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Daytime TV Series: Young Actor The Young and the Restless Nominated
2008 Teen Choice Award Choice TV Actor: Drama Gossip Girl Nominated
2009 Teen Choice Award Choice TV Actor: Drama Gossip Girl Nominated
2010 Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Actor: Horror/Thriller The Stepfather Nominated
Choice TV Actor: Drama Gossip Girl Nominated
2011 Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Actor: Romantic Comedy Easy A Nominated
Choice TV Actor: Drama Gossip Girl Nominated
Gotham Independent Film Award Best Ensemble Performance Margin Call Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award Best Cast Margin Call Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society Award Best Performance by an Ensemble Margin Call Nominated
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award Best Ensemble Acting Margin Call Nominated
2012 Independent Spirit Award Robert Altman Award Margin Call Won
Teen Choice Award Choice TV Actor: Drama Gossip Girl Nominated
2013 Teen Choice Award Choice TV Actor: Drama Gossip Girl Nominated
2016 Manchester Film Festival Jury Special Mention - Lead Actor The Paper Store Won
Oxford Film Festival Best Actor The Paper Store Won
2019 Saturn Awards Best Actor in Streaming Presentation You Nominated [57]


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  18. ^ Bennett Marcus (June 29, 2011). "Penn Badgley Knows There's Skepticism About His Ability to Play Jeff Buckley". New York. Retrieved January 14, 2012.
  19. ^ Patten, Dominic (December 12, 2012). "Penn Badgley & 'CSI: NY's Hill Harper Join 'Parts Per Billion'". Deadline. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  20. ^ Benardello, Karen (May 7, 2014). "Love May Not Survive in Parts Per Billion Home Entertainment Release".
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  22. ^ Moss, Emma-Lee (March 6, 2014). "An Interview With Mother". Noisey. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
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  27. ^ Cusumano, Katherine (July 31, 2017). "Penn Badgley Returns to the Small Screen to Star in Gossip Girl's Darker Alter-Ego You". W. Retrieved January 3, 2018. he did appear in Adam Green's drug-fueled Aladdin alongside Natasha Lyonne and Macaulay Culkin last year
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  40. ^ Penn Badgley [@pennbadgley] (December 9, 2014). "Keep peeling layers off, see misogyny runs deep thru racism like an inflamed nerve. We gotta talk abt the women too" (Tweet). Retrieved January 4, 2018 – via Twitter.
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  42. ^
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External linksEdit