Indian American actor Penn gets a job in the White House

April 8th, 2009 - 1:15 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Apr.7 (ANI): New Jersey-born actor Kal Penn, who played a stoner Guantanamo Bay escapee in the movies and a doctor on TV’s “House,” has been appointed an associate director in the White House Office of Public Liaison, administration officials confirmed Tuesday.

The Indian-American film star will be an emissary to the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, along with arts and entertainment groups.

Penn campaigned extensively throughout the country for President Obama last year and was a hit on college campuses.

“I was incredibly honored a couple of months ago to get the opportunity to go work in the White House. I got to know the President and some of the staff during the campaign and had expressed interest in working there,” Penn explained.

Penn described the office as the “front door” of the White House, saying he’ll be responsible for doing outreach with the American public.

Penn gained fame as the co-star of the raucous and profane “Harold and Kumar” stoner comedies that have become a cult favorite with fans worldwide. He also starred in Mira Nair’s ‘The Namesake,’ and played a terrorist in a recurring role on “24.”

Penn acknowledged that ditching Hollywood for Washington comes with a massive pay cut.

As it turns out, Penn will not be working in the White House, per se. His office will be in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, located next to the West Wing and housing most of the White House staff.

Penn, born in Montclair, New Jersey, said he’s long been interested in both the arts and public service. His grandparents marched with Gandhi in the Indian independence movement, “and that was always in the back of my head.”

A UCLA graduate, Penn has been taking courses in international security at Stanford University. (ANI)

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