Sean Astin

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Sean Astin
Sean Astin by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Born Sean Patrick Duke
(1971-02-25) February 25, 1971 (age 48)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Alma mater UCLA
Occupation Actor, director, producer, voice artist
Years active 1981–present
Spouse(s) Christine Louise Harrell (m. 1992)
Children 3
Parent(s) Michael Tell (biological father)[1]
Patty Duke
John Astin (adoptive father)
Relatives Mackenzie Astin (half-brother)

Sean Patrick Astin (born Sean Patrick Duke; 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 (1985), and the title character of Rudy (1993). In television, he appeared as Lynn McGill in season five of 24[2] and 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.[3]

Early life

Astin was born in Santa Monica, California, the son of actress Patty Duke.[4][5][6] At the time, it was reported that entertainer Desi Arnaz, Jr. was his biological father. When Michael Tell, a writer, music promoter and publisher of the newspaper The Las Vegas Israelite, came to sublet her apartment and offered to marry her as a way out of the scandal, Duke agreed. The marriage lasted only 13 days in 1970, and ended long before Astin was born.[7][8][9]

On August 5, 1972, Patty Duke married actor John Astin, after having been in a relationship with him for two years. When the wedding guests were invited to speak, 18-month-old Astin looked at John and cried, "Daddy!", to which the Episcopal priest performing the ceremony remarked, "Well, that about does it!"[10] Astin subsequently adopted Sean. In 1973, Duke gave birth to Astin's half-brother Mackenzie Astin, who also became an actor. Patty Duke and John Astin divorced in 1985.[11] Duke married Mike Pearce in 1986,[7] and they adopted a son, Kevin, in 1989.[11]

When he was 14, Duke told Astin that Arnaz was his father, and the two developed a relationship. But in his mid-20s, Astin met a relative of Michael Tell who suggested they were related. Sean set out to find the truth about his biological father, and underwent genetic tests that showed that Tell was Sean's biological father.[1] Astin maintains close relationships with all three men, saying, "Desi Arnaz Jr. loves me, and I love him. We are so close...Science tells me...that he's not my biological father. Science tells me that Mike Tell is." Astin considers John his father, as John was the one who raised him. Astin is also close to his step-father, Mike Pearce, saying, "I can call any of them on the phone any time I want to," says Sean. "John, Desi, Mike or Papa four dads."[7]

Astin is of German and Irish ancestry through his mother, and Austrian Jewish through his biological father.[12][13] He attended Catholic school and later converted to Protestant Christianity,[14] attending a Presbyterian church in Bel Air, California, US.[citation needed]

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


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 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

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. 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 close friends through the filming process. He became particularly good friends with Elijah Wood.

Astin's daughter, Alexandra, can be seen the closing scene of 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 the harbor, where he said 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 J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Hobbit, as well as the fictional book written by Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings.

Post-Lord of the Rings career

Astin at UIUC, 2009

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.[15] 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.[16] He and his wife, Christine, are making a movie based on Lois Lowry's Newbery Medal-winning novel Number the Stars.[17][18]

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.[19][20]

In June 2014, Astin began playing the role of Jim Kent on the FX drama The Strain.[21]

He provides the voice of Shazam in The DC Universe Animated Original Movies, having played the character in Justice League: War and Justice League: Throne of Atlantis.

Personal life

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.[22] 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.[23]

Astin is a vegetarian.[24]



Year Title Role Notes
1985 Goonies, TheThe Goonies Mikey Walsh
1987 Like Father Like Son Clarence
1987 White Water Summer Alan
1989 War of the Roses, TheThe War of the Roses Josh (age 17)
1989 Staying Together Duncan McDermott
1990 Memphis Belle Sergeant Richard "Rascal" Moore
1991 Toy Soldiers William Tepper
1991 The Willies Michael
1992 Where the Day Takes You Greg
1992 Encino Man Dave Morgan
1993 Rudy Daniel Ruettiger
1994 Safe Passage Izzy Singer
1995 Low Life, TheThe Low Life Andrew
1995 Harrison Bergeron Harrison Bergeron
1996 Courage Under Fire Patella
1998 Boy Meets Girl Mike
1998 Bulworth Gary
1999 Deterrence Ralph
1999 Kimberly Bob
2000 Dish Dogs Morgan
2000 Last Producer, TheThe Last Producer Bo Pomerantz
2000 Icebreaker Matt Foster
2000 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
2002 Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, TheThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
2003 Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, TheThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2004 Balto III: Wings of Change Kodi Voice
2004 Elvis Has Left the Building Aaron
2004 50 First Dates Doug Whitmore
2005 Smile Mike Matthews
2005 Bigger Than the Sky Ken Zorbell
2005 Slipstream Stuart Conway Direct-to-DVD
2005 Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School Kip Kipling
2005 Borderland Randall
2005 Thanks to Gravity Coach Amal Direct-to-DVD
2006 What Love Is George Direct-to-VOD
2006 Asterix and the Vikings Justforkix English voice
2006 Click Bill
2007 Final Season, TheThe Final Season Kent Stock
2008 Forever Strong Marcus
2008 Spirit of the Forest Furi Voice
2009 Stay Cool Big Girl Direct-to-VOD
2011 Demoted Austin Direct-to-VOD
2012 Boobathon Takin Mastuhmik Funny or Die fake trailer
2012 Amazing Love: The Story of Hosea Stuart Direct-to-DVD
2013 The Freemason Leon Weed Direct-to-DVD
2014 Justice League: War Shazam Voice
2014 Boys of Abu Ghraib Staff Sergeant Tanner Direct-to-VOD
2014 Cabin Fever: Patient Zero Porter[25] [26] Direct-to-DVD
2014 Moms' Night Out Sean[27] [28]
2014 Video Games: The Movie Narrator Documentary
2014 Ribbit Ribbit (voice) Voice
2014 The Hero of Color City Horatio Voice
2014 The Surface Mitch Direct-to-VOD
2015 Justice League: Throne of Atlantis Shazam Voice
2015 Do You Believe? Dr. Farell
2015 Woodlawn Hank
2016 Bad Kids of Crestview Academy Headmaster Nash In post-production
2016 Range 15 Grigsby In post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1981 Please Don't Hit Me, Mom Brian Reynolds
1982 The Rules of Marriage Charlie Hagen
1985 The O'Briens The Son
1986 B.R.A.T. Patrol, TheThe B.R.A.T. Patrol Leonard Kinsey
2003 Angel As director (Episode: "Soulless")
2003–04 Jeremiah Mister Smith Main role (Season 2)
2005 Hercules Linus Main role
2005 Into The West Martin Jarrett TV miniseries
2005–07 Meerkat Manor Narrator Season 13
2006 24 Lynn McGill Main role (Season 5)
2007 Masters of Science Fiction Charlie Kramer Episode: "Watchbird" (unaired in U.S.)
2007 Monk Paul Buchanan Episode: "Mr. Monk Is At Your Service"
2007 My Name Is Earl Salesman Episode: "Get a Real Job"
2008 Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic Twoflower Television film
2008 Law & Order Pastor Hensley Episode: "Angelgrove"
2009–2012 Special Agent Oso Agent Oso Main role; Voice
2011 Love's Christmas Journey Mayor Wayne TV film
2012–present Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Raphael Main role; Voice
2012 NCIS Tyler Elliot Episode: "The Tell"
2012 Adopting Terror Tim Television film
2012 Dorothy and the Witches of Oz Frack TV miniseries
2012 Hollywood Treasure Himself Episode: "Riddler Rudy and the Ruby Slippers"
2012 Franklin and Bash Viper Episode: "Viper"
2012 Alphas Mitchell Episodes: "If Memory Serves", "Need to Know"
2013 Santa Switch Eddie[29] TV movie
2014 The Strain Jim Kent Main role
2015 Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero Blaze Episodes: "Where Dragons Dare", "Save the Worlds"; Voice[30][31]

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2002 Kingdom Hearts Hercules English version
2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Samwise Gamgee
2010 The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest Samwise Gamgee
2012 Lego The Lord of the Rings Samwise Gamgee Archive recordings
2013 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Raphael
2015 Lego Dimensions Samwise Gamgee

Awards and nominations

Year Award Work Result
1985 Young Artist Award for Best Starring Performance by a Young Actor – Motion Picture The Goonies Won
1989 Young Artist Award for Best Young Actor Starring in a Motion Picture Staying Together Won
1991 Young Artist Award for Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture Toy Soldiers Nominated
1994 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film Kangaroo Court Nominated
2001 Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Won
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
2002 MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Team (shared with Elijah Wood and Gollum/Andy Serkis) The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Won
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast Won
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 Picture Nominated
2003 Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Won
National Board of Review Award for Best Cast Won
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor Won
Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor Won
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Won
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 Nominated


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  20. Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse
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External links