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Actor resurfaces in White House after "suicide"

 Cast member Kal Penn attends the premiere of
Cast member Kal Penn attends the premiere of 'Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay' in Los Angeles April 17, 2008. REUTERS/Phil McCarten
— image credit: Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood star Kal Penn has swapped television's "House" for the White House.

The 31-year-old actor, who made his mark as the pot-smoking Kumar in the "Harold and Kumar" feature film comedies, will become associate director in the White House office of public liaison, Entertainment Weekly reported on Monday.

For the past two seasons, Penn played Dr. Lawrence Kuttner on Fox's medical-mystery drama "House." His character exited the show in a violent fashion on Monday's episode by committing suicide for no apparent reason.

Penn told Entertainment Weekly that he loved working on "House," but had always been a bit of a political junkie, inspired in part by his grandparents, who marched with Mahatma Gandhi in the Indian independence movement.

He campaigned for U.S. President Barack Obama, expressed interest in working for his administration, and got a job offer a few months ago. In his new role -- for which he will take a big pay cut -- he will "do outreach" with the American public and with different organizations.

"They're basically the front door of the White House. They take out all of the red tape that falls between the general public and the White House," he said of his new colleagues.

Penn, one of the few Indian-American actors to make it big in Hollywood, said he still has a passion for acting, but won't be appearing on screen for the foreseeable future.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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