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Sean Astin

Astin at UIUC, 2009
Born Sean Patrick Duke
February 25, 1971 (1971-02-25) (age 38)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor, director, producer
Years active since 1985
Spouse(s) Christine Harrell (since 1992)
Official website

Sean Astin (born February 25, 1971) is an American film actor, director, and producer best 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.


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, he discovered that he was fathered by Michael Tell, a music promoter and writer who edits and publishes the Jewish 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. Although Patty Duke and John Astin divorced in 1982, Sean Astin has written as an adult that he has always considered John his "real" father and continues to do so. In 1973, Duke gave birth to Astin's half-brother Mackenzie Astin, also an actor.

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


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 silver screen debut at age 13 as Mikey in The Goonies (1985).

Following The Goonies, Sean Astin appeared in several more films, including The War of the Roses (1989), the World War II film Memphis Belle (1990), Toy Soldiers (1990), 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).

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.

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 Return of the King.

Post-LOTR 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".

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.

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 Elvish word for "nine," 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, whose stunt double was tattooed instead.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8]

Astin is a vegetarian.[9]



Year Film Role Other notes
1985 The Goonies Mikey Walsh
1986 The B.R.A.T. Patrol Leonard Kinsey
1987 Like Father Like Son Clarence
White Water Summer Alan
1989 The War of the Roses 17's Josh
Staying Together (film) 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 The 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
The Last Produce Bo Pomerantz
Icebreaker Matt Foster
The Sky is Falling Schwartz
2001 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Samwise Gamgee
2002 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Samwise Gamgee
2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Samwise Gamgee Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
LVFCS Award for Best Supporting Actor
MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Team (shared with Elijah Wood and Gollum/Andy Serkis)
NBR Award for Best Acting by an Ensemble
SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
SFCA Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated - CFCA Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated - OFCS Award for Best Supporting Actor
Won - PFCS Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated - PFCS 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
Hercules Linus
Borderland Randall
Thanks to Gravity Coach Amal
2006 What Love Is George
Asterix and the Vikings Justforkix English voice
Click Bill
2007 The Final Season Kent Stock
2008 Forever Strong Marcus
Spirit of the Forest Furi (voice)
2009 Stay Cool Big Girl


Year Title Role Other notes
1981 Please Don't Hit Me, Mom Brian Reynolds Appeared with his mother, Patty Duke, who also played his mother
1986 The B.R.A.T. Patrol Leonard Kinsey
2003 Angel Director 4th season episode "Soulless"
2003 Jeremiah Mister Smith
2005 Meerkat Manor Narrator United States
2006 24 Lynn McGill 10 episodes
2007 Masters of Science Fiction Charlie Kramer Watchbird
Monk Paul Buchanan
My Name Is Earl Sales Clerk
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


  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
  3. ^ "Sean Astin Q&A at GenCon 2003". 2003-08-01. Retrieved 2006-12-13.  
  4. ^ "I don't want to play the fat guy or the friend all my life". Guardian Unlimited. 2003-12-19.,,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. ^ "The stars of The Lord of the Rings trilogy reach their journey's end". Retrieved 2007-05-31.  
  7. ^;g=1
  8. ^ "Chelsea Clinton, 'Rudy' start to stump at IU". Indiana Daily Student. Retrieved 2008-03-28.  
  9. ^ Sean Astin as a vegetarian from International Vegetarian Union

External links

Simple English

Sean Astin
Astin with his wife, Christine, and their eldest daughter, Alexandra, in Wellington, New Zealand for the premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Born Sean Patrick Duke
February 25, 1971 (age 36)
Santa Monica, California
Years active 1985 - present

Sean Astin (born February 25, 1971 in Santa Monica, California, USA) is a American movie actor, director, and Oscar nominated producer.

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 same middle name of Louise.


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