Sean Astin

Sean Astin
Sean Astin

Astin at UIUC, 2009
Born Sean Patrick Duke
February 25, 1971 (1971-02-25) (age 40)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Alma mater UCLA
Occupation Actor, director, producer, voice actor
Years active 1981–present
Spouse Christine Harrell (m. 1992–present) «start: (1992)»"Marriage: Christine Harrell to Sean Astin" Location: (linkback://

Sean Astin (born February 25, 1971) is an American film actor, director, voice artist, and producer better known for his film roles as Mikey Walsh in The Goonies, the title character of Rudy, and Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In television, he appeared as Lynn McGill in the fifth season of 24. Most recently, he provided the voice for the title character in Disney's Special Agent Oso. Astin also served as campaign manager for his friend, Democratic entertainment industry businessman Dan Adler in California's 36th congressional district special election, 2011.


Early life and education

Astin was born Sean Patrick Duke in Santa Monica, California, the son of actress Patty Duke.[1] At the time, it was reported that Desi Arnaz, Jr. was his biological father. In 1994, Astin discovered his father was Michael Tell, a music promoter and writer, and publisher of the newspaper The Las Vegas Israelite.[2][3][4]

Tell's marriage to Patty Duke was annulled shortly before her marriage in 1972 to actor John Astin, who adopted Sean. In 1973, Duke gave birth to Astin's half-brother Mackenzie Astin, who also became an actor. Although Patty Duke and John Astin divorced in 1985, Sean Astin has written that he has always considered John his "real" father.

He attended the Crossroads High School for the Arts and master classes at the Stella Adler Conservatory in Los Angeles. Astin graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in History and English (American literature and culture). An alumnus of Los Angeles Valley College, he serves on the school's Board of Directors of the Patrons Association and the Arts Council.


Early career

Astin's first acting role was in a 1981 television movie titled Please Don't Hit Me, Mom, in which he played a child with an abusive mother (portrayed by his real-life mother Patty Duke). He made his film debut at age 14 as Mikey in The Goonies (1985).

Following The Goonies, Astin appeared in several more films, including the Disney made-for-TV movie, The B.R.A.T. Patrol, opposite Nia Long, Tim Thomerson and Brian Keith; Like Father Like Son (1987); White Water Summer with Kevin Bacon (1987), The War of the Roses (1989); the World War II film Memphis Belle (1990); Toy Soldiers (1991); Encino Man (1992); and the college football biopic Rudy (1993), about the life-changing struggles and rewards of the titular character, Daniel Ruettiger.

In 1994, Astin directed and co-produced (with his wife, Christine Astin) the short film Kangaroo Court, which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Live Action Short Film. Astin continued to appear in films throughout the 1990s, including the Showtime science fiction film Harrison Bergeron (1995), the Gulf War film Courage Under Fire (1996), and the Warren Beatty political satire Bulworth (1998).

The Lord of the Rings

In the early 2000s, Astin experienced a career breakthrough with his role as Samwise Gamgee in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, released in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Along with the many awards bestowed upon the trilogy, particularly its final installment The Return of the King (winner of eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture), Astin received many award nominations for his own performance in Return of the King, taking home the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor and awards from the Las Vegas Film Critics Society, the Seattle Film Critics, the Utah Film Critics Association, and the Phoenix Film Critics Society. As an ensemble, the Return of the King cast received awards from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures and the Screen Actors Guild.

He and other cast members became very close and very good friends through the filming process. He became particularly good friends with Elijah Wood.

Astin's daughter, Alexandra, can be seen in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. She plays his onscreen daughter, Elanor Gamgee, that runs out to him as he returns from saying goodbye to Frodo and Gandalf.

While working on Lord of the Rings, Astin persuaded a number of fellow cast and crew members, including director Peter Jackson, to assist him in making his second short film, The Long and Short of It. The film takes place on a street in Wellington, New Zealand. The Long and Short of It premiered at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival and appears on the DVD for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, along with a "making of" video.

In 2004, Astin released There and Back Again (ISBN 0-312-33146-0), a memoir (co-written with Joe Layden) of his film career with emphasis on his experiences with the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The title is derived from the subtitle of The Hobbit, by Lord of the Rings author J. R. R. Tolkien; the title also appears in the film Fellowship of the Ring and Return of the King.

Post-Lord of the Rings career

Since Lord of the Rings, Astin has continued to work in film and television. His film roles have included the Adam Sandler comedies 50 First Dates and Click.

In television, Astin guest-starred as Lynn McGill throughout the fifth season of the Fox drama 24. He also appeared in the made-for-TV films Hercules and The Colour of Magic and in episodes of Monk, Las Vegas, My Name is Earl (in which he parodied his 1993 film Rudy with co-stars Charles S. Dutton and Chelcie Ross), and Law & Order, among other shows. He directed a 2003 episode of the TV series Angel, titled "Soulless". He played the enigmatic Mr. Smith on the second season of the Showtime series Jeremiah.

Astin's career has also expanded to include voice-over roles. He narrated the American version of the Animal Planet series Meerkat Manor, and voices the title character in the animated Disney Channel series Special Agent Oso.[5] His other voice work includes Balto III: Wings of Change and the video game Kingdom Hearts, in the latter of which he provided the voice of Hercules.

In 2010, he joined the Stella Adler Los Angeles Theatre Collective acting company.[6] He and his wife, Christine, are making a movie based on Lois Lowry's Newbery Medal-winning novel Number the Stars.[7][8]

Astin portrays the role of Matthew in The Truth & Life Dramatized audio New Testament Bible, a 22-hour, celebrity-voiced, fully dramatized audio version of the New Testament, which uses the RSV-CE.

Personal life

Astin married Christine Harrell on July 11, 1992. They have three daughters: Alexandra (born November 27, 1996), Elizabeth (born August 6, 2002), and Isabella (born July 22, 2005), all with the middle name Louise. His wife held the Miss Indiana Teen USA title in 1984.

Astin has a tattoo on his ankle of the word "nine" written with the Tengwar script, commemorating his Lord of the Rings involvement and his character's membership in the Fellowship of the Ring. Of the other Fellowship actors (Elijah Wood, Sean Bean, Billy Boyd, Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, and John Rhys-Davies), all have the same tattoo except Rhys-Davies.[9]

During the 2004 United States presidential election, Astin backed Senator John Kerry and participated in Kerry's campaign rally in Portland, Oregon, as the opening speaker.[10] In the 2008 presidential election, Astin lent his support to Senator Hillary Clinton and made multiple campaign appearances on her behalf, including joining Clinton's daughter Chelsea Clinton at some stops.[11]

Astin is a vegetarian.[12] He attended Catholic school and also practiced Buddhism for a time (his mother is Catholic and his biological father, Michael Tell, is Jewish).[13]


Year Title Role Notes
1985 Goonies, TheThe Goonies Mikey Walsh Young Artist Award
1987 Like Father Like Son Clarence
White Water Summer Alan
1989 War of the Roses, TheThe War of the Roses 17's Josh
Staying Together Duncan McDermott
1990 Memphis Belle Sergeant Richard "Rascal" Moore
1991 Toy Soldiers William Tepper
The Willies Michael
1992 Where the Day Takes You Greg
Encino Man Dave Morgan
1993 Rudy Daniel Ruettiger
1994 Safe Passage Izzy Singer
1995 Low Life, TheThe Low Life Andrew
Harrison Bergeron Harrison Bergeron
1996 Courage Under Fire Patella
1998 Boy Meets Girl Mike
Bulworth Gary
1999 Deterrence Ralph
Kimberly Bob
2000 Dish Dogs Morgan
Last Produce, TheThe Last Produce Bo Pomerantz
Icebreaker Matt Foster
Sky is Falling, TheThe Sky is Falling Schwartz
2001 Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, TheThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Samwise Gamgee Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2002 Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, TheThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2003 Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, TheThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Team (shared with Elijah Wood and Gollum/Andy Serkis)
National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Seattle Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
SFCA Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble Acting
2004 Balto III: Wings of Change Kodi Voice
Elvis Has Left the Building Aaron
50 First Dates Doug Whitmore
2005 Smile Matthews
Bigger Than the Sky Ken Zorbell
Slipstream Stuart Conway
Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School Kip Kipling
Into The West Martin Jarrett
Borderland Randall
Thanks to Gravity Coach Amal
2006 What Love Is George
Asterix and the Vikings Justforkix English voice
Click Bill
2007 Final Season, TheThe Final Season Kent Stock
2008 Forever Strong Marcus
Spirit of the Forest Furi (voice)
2009 Stay Cool Big Girl
2010 The Witches of Oz Frack
2011 Love's First Christmas Mayor
Year Title Role Notes
1981 Please Don't Hit Me, Mom Brian Reynolds Appeared with his mother, Patty Duke, who also played his mother
1986 B.R.A.T. Patrol, TheThe B.R.A.T. Patrol Leonard Kinsey
2003 Angel Director 4th season episode: "Soulless"
Jeremiah Mister Smith Directed season 2 episode: "The Face in the Mirror"
2005 Meerkat Manor Narrator U.S.; Seasons 1–3
Hercules Linus
2006 24 Lynn McGill 10 episodes
2007 Masters of Science Fiction Charlie Kramer Watchbird
Monk Paul Buchanan
My Name Is Earl Salesman
2008 Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic Twoflower United Kingdom
Law & Order Pastor Hensley 18th season episode: Angelgrove
2009 Special Agent Oso Agent Oso voice
2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Raphael Voice


  1. ^ He was born under his mother's name, according to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905–1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. At
  2. ^ "News: NORM: Local publisher's son in spotlight". 2004-02-29. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  3. ^ "Sean Astin Q&A at GenCon 2003". 2003-08-01. Retrieved 2006-12-13. 
  4. ^ Barrett, Victoria (2003-12-19). "I don't want to play the fat guy or the friend all my life". London: Guardian Unlimited.,,1110603,00.html. Retrieved 2006-12-13. 
  5. ^ Banks, Dave (June 11, 2009). "Q&A With Sean Astin – Star of Disney's New Kids' Show Special Agent Oso". Condé Nast Digital. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  6. ^ "Stella Adler Los Angeles Theatre Collective Announces Inaugural Season 2010/02/26". Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  7. ^ "The Big Screen Scene". Retrieved 2010-09-17. 
  8. ^ "Number the Stars movie website". Retrieved 2010-09-17. 
  9. ^ "The stars of The Lord of the Rings trilogy reach their journey's end". Archived from the original on March 6, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-31. 
  10. ^ Calisuri and Corvar and Arathorn (2004-05-17). " | Scrapbook | Sean Astin at Portland, OR Rally for John Kerry".;g=1. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  11. ^ "Chelsea Clinton, 'Rudy' start to stump at IU". Indiana Daily Student. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  12. ^ Sean Astin as a vegetarian from International Vegetarian Union
  13. ^

External links

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