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Kumar Goes To Obama House

April 8, 2009

Kal PennKal Penn Leaves ‘House’ for Obama Administration - ‘Kumar’ actor will work in office of public liaison

By Matthew B. Zeidman

HOLLYWOOD, CA (RPRN/HT) 4/8/09 – Kal Penn has taken a break from acting to give back to the public as part of the Obama administration. Penn was a lead actor on Fox drama "House" and had also appeared as a villain on the network's weekly drama/thriller, "24".

Kal Penn may have willingly left Fox drama “House” to pursue another project, but it’s wasn’t for another acting gig. Penn, best known for his comedic stylings in big-screen features, such as “Epic Movie,” “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle” and “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder,” has been offered a position with the Obama administration.

“…I’m going to be the associate director in the White House office of public liaison,” Penn told Entertainment Weekly, explaining he had expressed interest in joining Barack Obama’s staff while he worked on the nascent president’s election campaign. “They do outreach with the American public and with different organizations…They take out all of the red tape that falls between the general public and the White House.”

The 31-year-old Penn, whose real name is Kalpen Suresh Modi, has appeared on “House” for the past two seasons as Dr. Lawrence Kutner, a diagnostic specialist working under actor Hugh Laurie’s caustic Dr. Gregory House.

On Monday’s episode, Kutner was found dead by his own hand by two of his colleagues, played by Omar Epps and Olivia Wilde. Fox posted a mock obituary and memorial video at the official Fox Web site and displayed the URL for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (nami.org) at the end of the primetime broadcast.

“There’s not a lot of financial reward in these jobs. But, obviously, the opportunity to serve in a capacity like this is an incredible honor,” Penn told the magazine. “…from the time I was a kid, I really enjoyed that balance between the arts and public service.”

Penn also told Entertainment Weekly he still had a passion for acting and wouldn’t rule out returning to Hollywood one day. When asked if he expected to stay on for as long as Obama remained in office, the New Jersey native was unsure.

Penn’s last planned film, “Bhopal: Prayer for Rain,” is tentatively scheduled for release later this year. The movie will dramatize the 1984 industrial disaster in Bhopal, India and will co-star Mischa Barton and Martin Sheen.

Hollywood Today

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