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 42)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.A
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 42)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.A
Alma materUCLA
OccupationActor, director, producer, voice artist
Years active1981–present
Spouse(s)Christine Louise Harrell (m. 1992)

Sean Astin (born February 25, 1971) is an American film 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 the fifth season 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 several weeks 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 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[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.

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 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.

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.[12] 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.[13]

Astin is a vegetarian.[14] He attended Catholic school and is currently a Protestant Christian,[15] 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 is Catholic, and Sean's biological father, Michael Tell, is Jewish).[16]


1985Goonies, TheThe GooniesMikey WalshYoung Artist Award for Best Starring Performance by a Young Actor – Motion Picture
1987Like Father Like SonClarence
White Water SummerAlan
1989War of the Roses, TheThe War of the RosesJosh (age 17)
Staying TogetherDuncan McDermottYoung Artist Award for Best Young Actor Starring in a Motion Picture
1990Memphis BelleSergeant Richard "Rascal" Moore
1991Toy SoldiersWilliam TepperNominated – Young Artist Award for Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture
The WilliesMichael
1992Where the Day Takes YouGreg
Encino ManDave Morgan
1993RudyDaniel Ruettiger
1994Safe PassageIzzy Singer
1995Low Life, TheThe Low LifeAndrew
Harrison BergeronHarrison Bergeron
1996Courage Under FirePatella
1998Boy Meets GirlMike
2000Dish DogsMorgan
Last Producer, TheThe Last ProducerBo Pomerantz
IcebreakerMatt Foster
Sky 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 GamgeePhoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2002Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, TheThe Lord of the Rings: The Two TowersMTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Team (shared with Elijah Wood and Gollum/Andy Serkis)
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Visual Effects Society Award for Best Performance by an Actor in an Effects Film (shared with Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis)
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2003Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, TheThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the KingLas Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
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 – Empire Award for Best 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
2004Balto III: Wings of ChangeKodiVoice
Elvis Has Left the BuildingAaron
50 First DatesDoug Whitmore
2005SmileMike Matthews
Bigger Than the SkyKen Zorbell
SlipstreamStuart Conway
Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm SchoolKip Kipling
Into The WestMartin Jarrett
Thanks to GravityCoach Amal
2006What Love IsGeorge
Asterix and the VikingsJustforkixEnglish voice
2007Final Season, TheThe Final SeasonKent Stock
2008Forever StrongMarcus
Spirit of the ForestFuri (voice)
2009Stay CoolBig Girl
2010The Witches of OzFrack
2011Love's Christmas JourneyMayor Wayne
2012BoobathonTakin Mastuhmikfake trailer
Adopting TerrorTimTV Movie
Amazing Love: The Story of HoseaStuartAstin's mother, Patty Duke, is also in the cast
Dorothy and the Witches of OzFrack
2013Santa SwitchEddie[17]
2014The SurfaceFilming
Justice League: WarShazamvoice
Cabin Fever: Patient ZeroPorter
Moms' Night OutSean[18]scheduled for a May 9 release[19]
1981Please Don't Hit Me, MomBrian ReynoldsAppeared with his mother, Patty Duke, who also played his mother
1982The Rules of MarriageCharlie Hagen
1985The O'BriensThe Son
1986B.R.A.T. Patrol, TheThe B.R.A.T. PatrolLeonard Kinsey
2003AngelDirector4th season episode: "Soulless"
JeremiahMister SmithDirected season 2 episode: "The Face in the Mirror"
2005Meerkat ManorNarratorU.S.; Seasons 1–3
200624Lynn McGill10 episodes
2007Masters of Science FictionCharlie KramerWatchbird
MonkPaul BuchananEpisode: Mr. Monk Is At Your Service
My Name Is EarlSalesmanEpisode: Get a Real Job
2008Terry Pratchett's The Colour of MagicTwoflowerUnited Kingdom
Law & OrderPastor Hensley18th season episode: Angelgrove
2009–2012Special Agent OsoAgent Osovoice; 61 episodes
2012–presentTeenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesRaphaelVoice
2012NCISTyler ElliotEpisode: The Tell
Hollywood TreasureHimselfEpisode: Riddler Rudy and the Ruby Slippers
Franklin and BashViperEpisode: Viper
AlphasMitchellEpisodes: If Memory Serves, Need to Know
2014The StrainJim Kentpilot


  1. ^ "Rings star Astin joins 24 TV show". BBC News. BBC. 28 August 2005. Retrieved September 16, 2012. 
  2. ^ Alex Pappas (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. ^ Calisuri and Corvar and Arathorn (May 17, 2004). " | Scrapbook | Sean Astin at Portland, OR Rally for John Kerry". Retrieved April 30, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Chelsea Clinton, 'Rudy' start to stump at IU". Indiana Daily Student. Retrieved March 28, 2008. 
  14. ^ International Vegetarian Union (2 April 2010). "Famous Vegetarians – Sean Astin". International Vegetarian Union. International Vegetarian Union. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  15. ^ 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..." 
  16. ^ "Sean Astin Q&A at GenCon 2003 | Hobbit Movie News and Rumors". August 1, 2003. Retrieved May 28, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Breaking News". The Futon Critic. October 8, 2013. Retrieved December 8, 2013. 
  18. ^ "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" 
  19. ^ 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. 

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