Sean Astin

Sean Astin (born February 25, 1971) is an American film actor, director, and Oscar-nominated 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 guest starred as Lynn McGill on the fifth season of 24.


Early life

Astin was born Sean Patrick Duke in Santa Monica, California, the son of actress Patty Duke. He discovered in 1994 that his biological father is Michael Tell, a music promoter and writer who edits and publishes the Jewish newspaper The Las Vegas Israelite. Tell's marriage to Patty Duke was annulled shortly before her marriage to John Astin. At the time of his birth, it was widely assumed that his biological father was Desi Arnaz, Jr., although this was later proven false. Astin is the older half-brother of Mackenzie Astin, also an actor (in The Facts of Life).

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


At age thirteen, he debuted on the silver screen as Mikey in The Goonies (1985). He had a small role in 1989’s The War of the Roses and in 1990 he appeared in the World War II film Memphis Belle. One of Sean's most memorable roles was with Lou Gosset Jr. in Toy Soldiers (1991). In 1993 he received a memorable part as the title character in Rudy and in 1998 starred in the romantic comedy Boy Meets Girl. Astin recently played Samwise Gamgee in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. He was Frodo's loyal companion on his quest to destroy the ring. He also played the brother of Lucy (Drew Barrymore) in the Adam Sandler film 50 First Dates. Astin provided the voice for Balto’s son, Kodi, in the second direct-to-video sequel of Balto.

In 1994, he directed and co-produced the Academy Awards nominated short film, Kangaroo Court, with his wife, Christine. In 1995, he starred in the Showtime sci-fi film, Harrison Bergeron, an adaptation of the short story by Kurt Vonnegut. In this futuristic film, the world focuses on the belief that “All men are not created equal. It is the purpose of the Government to make them so.” The titular character, Harrison, is smarter than his peers and is unaffected by the standard technology used to handicap all Americans so that everyone is of equal ability.

While working on The Two Towers, he persuaded a number of fellow cast and crew members, including director Peter Jackson, to act in or work as crew on his short film, The Long and Short of It (2003), which takes place on a street in Wellington, New Zealand. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, 2003, and appears on the “standard edition” DVD of The Two Towers as an extra feature together with a “making of” video.

In 2003, he directed the Angel episode Soulless.

Astin guest starred as Lynn McGill in the fifth season of the FOX drama 24. He also appeared in the first season of the NBC Show Las Vegas as a gambler who wins one million dollars and his wife and best friend want to take it away from him. He also had a role in Adam Sandler’s 2006 film Click. Astin has also appeared as a wealthy manor-owner thought to have killed his father in the dramedy Monk on the USA Network owned by television conglomerate NBC Astin is the narrator of the US version of Meerkat Manor, shown on the Discovery Channel-owned cable TV channel Animal Planet. He most recently appeared as a sales clerk in an episode of the TV series, My Name Is Earl, in which he, along with co-stars Charles S. Dutton and Chelcie Ross, parodied their hit movie, Rudy. Scenes included a motivational speech by Dutton after Earl fails his chance at becoming a sales rep, and all the dock workers turning in their credit cards to Ross. Both of these are representations of famous Rudy scenes.

He substituted for Tate Donovan in voicing Hercules in the first Kingdom Hearts game for Playstation 2.

On Easter 2008, he appeared on British television channel Sky One in a TV adaptation of Terry Pratchett's novel The Colour of Magic along with British actors Sir David Jason, Tim Curry, Jeremy Irons and Christopher Lee.

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 same middle name of Louise. His wife held the Miss Indiana Teen USA title in 1984.

His book, There and Back Again: An Actor’s Tale (2004, ISBN 0-312-33146-0), co-written by Joe Layden, is an account of his experiences before, during and after filming the Lord of the Rings movies. The title is derived from the subtitle of The Hobbit by Lord of the Rings author J. R. R. Tolkien. He jumped at the chance to work in New Zealand again in 2004, as the mythical “Linus,” tutor of Hercules, in Robert Halmi, Sr.’s Hallmark-sponsored remake.

Astin has a tattoo of the Elvish word for "nine", a reference to his involvement in the Lord of the Rings and the fact that his character was one of the nine members of the Fellowship of the Ring. The other actors of "The Fellowship" (Elijah Wood, Sean Bean, Billy Boyd, Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, and Orlando Bloom) got the same tattoo with the exception of John Rhys-Davies whose stunt double got the tattoo instead.

Astin lent his support to Senator Hillary Clinton for the 2008 Presidential Elections, and joined Clinton's daughter Chelsea Clinton for the first stop of her Indiana tour on March 24, 2008, at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. In April, he and Dylan Frick toured parts of North Carolina to campaign also. Astin joined Chelsea Clinton at Ball State University on March 25, 2008. His website is

Astin is a vegetarian.



Year Title Role 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 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 Voice
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
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 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 Jeremiah Mister Smith 2005
2005 Meerkat Manor Narrator United States
2006 24 Lynn McGill Deceased
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


External links

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