Sean Astin

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Sean Astin
Sean Astin 1.jpg
Astin at UIUC, 2009
BornSean Patrick Duke
(1971-02-25) February 25, 1971 (age 43)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Alma materUCLA
OccupationActor, director, producer, voice artist
Years active1981–present
Spouse(s)Christine Louise Harrell (m. 1992)
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Sean Astin
Sean Astin 1.jpg
Astin at UIUC, 2009
BornSean Patrick Duke
(1971-02-25) February 25, 1971 (age 43)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Alma materUCLA
OccupationActor, director, producer, voice artist
Years active1981–present
Spouse(s)Christine Louise Harrell (m. 1992)

Sean Patrick Astin (born February 25, 1971) is an American actor, director, voice artist, and producer best known for his film roles as Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Mikey Walsh in The Goonies, and the title character of Rudy. In television, he appeared as Lynn McGill in season five of 24[1] and currently voices Raphael in the 2012 Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series and Oso in the Disney Junior show Special Agent Oso. Astin also served as the campaign manager for his friend, Democrat Dan Adler, a businessman in the entertainment industry, for California's 36th congressional district special election, 2011.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Astin was born Sean Patrick Duke in Santa Monica, California, the son of actress Patty Duke.[3] At the time, it was reported that entertainer Desi Arnaz, Jr. was his biological father. In 1994 Astin discovered that his biological father is actually Michael Tell, a music promoter and writer, and publisher of the newspaper The Las Vegas Israelite; Tell was married to Patty Duke for 13 days in 1970.[4][5][6]

In 1972, Patty Duke married actor John Astin, who then 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,[7] 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[edit]

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 13 as Mikey in The Goonies (1985).

After 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[edit]

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, who runs out to him as he returns from saying goodbye to Frodo, Bilbo, and Gandalf.

While working on The 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 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[edit]

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. Astin played the role of Malibu High School principal Mike Matthews in the movie Smile.

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.[8] His other voice work includes Balto III: Wings of Change, in which he voiced Kodi, a teenage husky who is the son of the titular character, and the video game Kingdom Hearts, in the latter of which he provided the voice of Hercules, replacing actor Tate Donovan, who was unavailable but would return for Kingdom Hearts II. Astin is currently the voice of Raphael in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series on Nickelodeon, which premiered on September 29, 2012.

In 2010, he joined the Stella Adler Los Angeles Theatre Collective acting company.[9] He and his wife, Christine, are making a movie based on Lois Lowry's Newbery Medal-winning novel Number the Stars.[10][11]

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.

In March 2012, Astin played a cosmetic surgeon named Takin Mastuhmik in a fake movie trailer entitled Boobathon which appeared on Funny or Die.

In March 2014, Astin played a soldier in Boys of Abu Ghraib, a military thriller inspired by the events that made worldwide news in 2004.[12][13]

In June 2014, Astin began playing the role of Jim Kent on the FX drama The Strain[14]

Personal life[edit]

Astin married Christine Louise 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. Seven of the eight other Fellowship actors (Elijah Wood, Sean Bean, Billy Boyd, Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen and Orlando Bloom) all have the same tattoo. John Rhys-Davies' stunt double has the tattoo as well.

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.[15] 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.[16]

Astin is a vegetarian.[17] He attended Catholic school and is a Protestant Christian,[18] attending a Presbyterian church in Bel Air, California, US.[citation needed] Astin studied Nichiren Buddhism, John Astin's faith, for a time. Sean's mother, of German and Irish ancestry, is Catholic, and Sean's biological father, Michael Tell, is of Austrian Jewish descent.[19][20]



1985Goonies, TheThe GooniesMikey Walsh
1987Like Father Like SonClarence
1987White Water SummerAlan
1989War of the Roses, TheThe War of the RosesJosh (age 17)
1989Staying TogetherDuncan McDermott
1990Memphis BelleSergeant Richard "Rascal" Moore
1991Toy SoldiersWilliam Tepper
1991The WilliesMichael
1992Where the Day Takes YouGreg
1992Encino ManDave Morgan
1993RudyDaniel Ruettiger
1994Safe PassageIzzy Singer
1995Low Life, TheThe Low LifeAndrew
1995Harrison BergeronHarrison Bergeron
1996Courage Under FirePatella
1998Boy Meets GirlMike
2000Dish DogsMorgan
2000Last Producer, TheThe Last ProducerBo Pomerantz
2000IcebreakerMatt Foster
2000Sky is Falling, TheThe Sky is FallingSchwartz
2001Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, TheThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingSamwise Gamgee
2002Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, TheThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
2003Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, TheThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2004Balto III: Wings of ChangeKodiVoice
2004Elvis Has Left the BuildingAaron
200450 First DatesDoug Whitmore
2005SmileMike Matthews
2005Bigger Than the SkyKen Zorbell
2005SlipstreamStuart Conway
2005Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm SchoolKip Kipling
2005Into The WestMartin Jarrett
2005Thanks to GravityCoach Amal
2006What Love IsGeorge
2006Asterix and the VikingsJustforkixEnglish voice
2007Final Season, TheThe Final SeasonKent Stock
2008Forever StrongMarcus
2008Spirit of the ForestFuriVoice
2009Stay CoolBig Girl
2010The Witches of OzFrack
2011Love's Christmas JourneyMayor Wayne
2012BoobathonTakin MastuhmikFunny or Die fake trailer
2012Amazing Love: The Story of HoseaStuart
2012Dorothy and the Witches of OzFrack
2013The FreemasonLeon Weed
2013Santa SwitchEddie[21]
2014Justice League: WarShazam (voice)Direct-to-video
2014Cabin Fever: Patient ZeroPorter[22][23]
2014Moms' Night OutSean[24][25]
2014The Hero of Color CityHoratioVoice
2014The SurfaceMitchIn post-production
2015Justice League: Throne of AtlantisShazam (voice)Direct-to-video
2015Bad Kids Go 2 HellHeadmaster Nash


1981Please Don't Hit Me, MomBrian Reynolds
1982The Rules of MarriageCharlie Hagen
1985The O'BriensThe Son
1986B.R.A.T. Patrol, TheThe B.R.A.T. PatrolLeonard Kinsey
2003AngelAs director (Episode: "Soulless")
2003–04JeremiahMister SmithMain role (Season 2)
2005HerculesLinusMain role
2005–07Meerkat ManorNarratorSeason 13
200624Lynn McGillMain role (Season 5)
2007Masters of Science FictionCharlie KramerEpisode: "Watchbird" (unaired in U.S.)
2007MonkPaul BuchananEpisode: "Mr. Monk Is At Your Service"
2007My Name Is EarlSalesmanEpisode: "Get a Real Job"
2008Terry Pratchett's The Colour of MagicTwoflowerTelevision film
2008Law & OrderPastor HensleyEpisode: "Angelgrove"
2009–2012Special Agent OsoAgent OsoMain role; Voice
2012–presentTeenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesRaphaelMain role; Voice
2012NCISTyler ElliotEpisode: "The Tell"
2012Adopting TerrorTimTelevision film
2012Hollywood TreasureHimselfEpisode: "Riddler Rudy and the Ruby Slippers"
2012Franklin and BashViperEpisode: "Viper"
2012AlphasMitchellEpisodes: "If Memory Serves", "Need to Know"
2014–presentThe StrainJim KentMain role

Awards and nominations[edit]

1985Young Artist Award for Best Starring Performance by a Young Actor – Motion PictureThe GooniesWon
1989Young Artist Award for Best Young Actor Starring in a Motion PictureStaying TogetherWon
1991Young Artist Award for Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast in a Motion PictureToy SoldiersNominated
1994Academy Award for Best Live Action Short FilmKangaroo CourtNominated
2001Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best CastThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingWon
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion PictureNominated
2002MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Team (shared with Elijah Wood and Gollum/Andy Serkis)The Lord of the Rings: The Two TowersWon
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best CastWon
Visual Effects Society Award for Best Performance by an Actor in an Effects Film (shared with Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis)Won
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion PictureNominated
2003Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting ActorThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the KingWon
National Board of Review Award for Best CastWon
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting ActorWon
Saturn Award for Best Supporting ActorWon
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion PictureWon
Seattle Film Critics Award for Best Supporting ActorWon
Empire Award for Best ActorNominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting ActorNominated
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting ActorNominated
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble ActingNominated


  1. ^ "Rings star Astin joins 24 TV show". BBC News. BBC. 28 August 2005. Retrieved September 16, 2012. 
  2. ^ Pappas, Alex (18 May 2011). "Sean Astin's candidate gets less than 300 votes". The Daily Caller. The Daily Caller. Retrieved September 16, 2012. 
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ "News: NORM: Local publisher's son in spotlight". February 29, 2004. Retrieved April 30, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Sean Astin Q&A at GenCon 2003". August 1, 2003. Retrieved December 13, 2006. 
  6. ^ Barrett, Victoria (December 19, 2003). "I don't want to play the fat guy or the friend all my life". London: Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved December 13, 2006. 
  7. ^ "Patty Duke". 2009. Retrieved September 16, 2012. 
  8. ^ Banks, Dave (June 11, 2009). "Q&A With Sean Astin – Star of Disney's New Kids' Show Special Agent Oso". Condé Nast Digital. Retrieved June 11, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Stella Adler Los Angeles Theatre Collective Announces Inaugural Season 2010/02/26". Retrieved April 30, 2010. 
  10. ^ Marilyn Beck; Stacy Jenel Smith (16 July 2011). "Diahann Carroll Diamond Birthday Arrives, PBS Special Soon to Air". Beck/Smith Hollywood. Wordpress. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  11. ^ Lava Entertainment. "Number The Stars". Number The Stars. Lava Entertainment. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  12. ^ "IMDB Full Credits of Boys of Abu Ghraib". Retrieved December 11, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse". Retrieved December 11, 2014. 
  14. ^ "The Strain". 
  15. ^ Calisuri and Corvar and Arathorn (May 17, 2004). " | Scrapbook | Sean Astin at Portland, OR Rally for John Kerry". Retrieved April 30, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Chelsea Clinton, 'Rudy' start to stump at IU". Indiana Daily Student. Retrieved March 28, 2008. 
  17. ^ International Vegetarian Union (2 April 2010). "Famous Vegetarians – Sean Astin". International Vegetarian Union. International Vegetarian Union. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  18. ^ Kennedy, John W. (August 2013). "Sean Astin talks about his eclectic faith journey, his love of animals and his role in an upcoming Christian comedy from the Erwin Brothers". Beliefnet. Retrieved January 30, 2014. JWK: I understand that you’re a Presbyterian now. SA: Lutheran, technically now, I think... 
  19. ^ "Sean Astin Q&A at GenCon 2003 | Hobbit Movie News and Rumors". August 1, 2003. Retrieved May 28, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Heritage of Michael Tell". Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Breaking News". The Futon Critic. October 8, 2013. Retrieved December 8, 2013. 
  22. ^ Doc Rotten (March 8, 2014). "Film Review: Cabin Fever: Patient Zero (2014)". Retrieved July 29, 2014. Sean Austin steps into the role of Mr. Porter 
  23. ^ Collis, Clark (July 23, 2014). "Sean Astin bugs out in 'Cabin Fever: Patient Zero' clip". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 29, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Erwin Brothers Wrap Filming On Family Comedy 'MOMS' NIGHT OUT'" (Press release). Birmingham, Alabama: Sony Pictures. PR Newswire. June 24, 2013. Retrieved January 31, 2014. ... a wife and her husband, played by Grey's Anatomy's Sarah Drew as Allyson and Sean Astin as Sean 
  25. ^ Law, Jeannie (January 21, 2014). "'Moms' Night Out' Movie Featuring Patricia Heaton, Sean Astin, and Sarah Drew Portrays 'Christians in a Positive Light'". BREATHEcast. Retrieved January 30, 2014. 

External links[edit]