Sean Astin Biography
- Actor, director, producer, runner, activist, writer, husband and father.
- Born in Santa Monica, California, February 25, 1971.
- Member of an acting family with mother Patty Duke, father John Astin, uncle Ray Duke, brother Mackenzie Astin, and daughter Ali Astin.
- Attended Crossroads High School for the Arts and took Master Classes with the legendary Stella Adler at the Stella Adler Conservatory in Los Angeles.
- Alumnus of Los Angeles Valley College and serves on their Board of Directors of the Patrons Association and the Arts Council.
- Graduated with honors from UCLA; B.A. in History & B.A. in English (American Literature and Culture).
- Resides in LA with his wife Christine Louise and daughters Alexandra (Ali) Louise, Elizabeth Louise, and Isabella (Bella) Louise. Ali attends Harvard University.
- Member of the Directors Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
- Served on President's Council on Service and Civic Participation, and was a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army.
- Long distance runner for over 25 years. Became an Ironman at the Ironman World Championship Triathlon in Kona, HI, October 11, 2015.
- Has the power to make you an honorary Goonie!!
“People will root for anyone who shows them their heart.” —Sean Astin
Sean Astin has demonstrated his innate ability to share his heart with the world through such iconic roles as Mikey Walsh in “The Goonies,” the title character of “Rudy,” Samwise Gamgee in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and Bob Newby in "Stranger Things 2," roles that epitomize hope, determination and loyalty.
With both his parents being well-known, respected actors, it’s no surprise that Sean’s career, which spans over three decades with 140 acting credits, began at a young age. He debuted in the 1981 television movie “Please Don’t Hit Me, Mom,” in which he played a child with an abusive mother, portrayed by his real-life mother Patty Duke. For his first feature film, he portrayed Mikey in Steven Spielberg’s classic “The Goonies” (1985), still enthusiastically beloved by audiences today. The young performer appeared in several more films both for TV and the big screen, garnering Young Artist Awards for performances in “The Goonies,” “Staying Together” (1989) and as the lead character Billy Tepper in “Toy Soldiers” (1991). He successfully navigated the transition from child actor to young adult in such critically acclaimed films as “Memphis Belle” (1990) and “The Low Life” (1995).
Sean scored a career defining, triumphant success in the inspirational and universally applauded college football biopic “Rudy” (1993), about the life-changing struggles and rewards of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger. To this day, Sean still identifies with the role of the unlikely athlete determined to succeed at achieving seemingly impossible goals.
Sean experienced another career breakthrough with his role as the epitome of loyal sidekicks, Samwise Gamgee, in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” 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), Sean received nominations for his own performance. He took 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. In 2004, Sean authored the NY Times best seller “There and Back Again: An Actor's Tale,” chronicling his acting career with emphasis on his experiences filming the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
In television, Sean has appeared in numerous movies and series, including multi-episodic runs in J. Michael Straczynski’s “Jeremiah” (2003-2004) in which he played the enigmatic Mister Smith, the popular thriller “24” (2006), and Guillermo Del Toro’s “The Strain” (2014-2015) on FX. He portrayed an exaggerated version of himself in the popular Kickstarter-funded web series "Con Man” (2015), and executive produced and is featured in "Unlocked: The World of Games Revealed" (2016), an 8-part documentary series about video gaming. Sean joined the award winning cast in the second season of the engrossing and critically acclaimed Netflix series "Stranger Things" (2017), as the beloved character of Bob Newby, Radio Shack manager.
Sean's recent films include “Range 15” (2016), a crowd-sourced dark comedy made by and for vets, and the romantic comedy "Unleashed" (2017) with Kate Micucci. He narrated and executive produced the documentary “Remember the Sultana” (2018), about the worst maritime disaster in US history. The political satire “Swing State” (2016) was released in time for the 2016 election, with “The Lears,” a sophisticated comedy that updates Shakespeare's King Lear, coming soon. Sean costars with Julianne Moore in the upcoming English-language adaptation of the Chilean film "Gloria," from Oscar winning director Sebastián Lelio.
His voice is also familiar to many. He narrated the Animal Planet series “Meerkat Manor” (2006-2007), and voiced the title characters in the animated Disney Channel series “Special Agent Oso” (2009-2012) and the animated feature film “Ribbit” (2014). He was the voice of Raphael in Nickelodeon’s popular “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (2012-2017). He voices the paranoid Siamese cat Chester in "Bunnicula" (2016-present), a Warner Brothers produced series based on children's books by James Howe; and narrates "The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants" (2018) series on Netflix, based on the Dav Pilkey's children's books. He can be heard in a plethora of other animated shows, video games, audio dramas and narrations.
Sean is equally comfortable behind the camera, directing episodic TV and serving as producer on several films. He directed and co-produced with his wife Christine the short film “Kangaroo Court,” nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film in 1995. While working on “The Lord of the Rings,” Sean made “The Long and Short of It.” The film 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. He is currently working to bring "Number the Stars," based on Lois Lowry's Newbery Award winning children's classic, to the big screen.
Sean has been a long-distance runner since his teens. His marathons include the 2014 Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC, where he had the honor of officially starting the race, the 2015 Boston Marathon as a member of charity fundraising team MR8, and the New York City Marathon in 2016. He has done numerous half marathons and countless 5Ks, 10Ks, and races of other distances. He successfully completed the Ironman World Championship Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii, in October 2015; the grueling event consisted of a 2.4 mile open ocean swim, a 112 mile bike race and a 26.2 mile marathon.
In 2012, while training for the LA Marathon, he began a Twitter campaign using #Run3rd, a way to dedicate his runs to causes and ideas that mattered not just to him, but to others. The principle of #Run3rd is that Sean runs first for himself, since running is ultimately a solitary act, second for his ever-patient and supportive family, and third for others. #Run3rd has grown to include a team of runners, walkers, and others who dedicate their activities to the causes of others. A $25,000 grant from the Ironman Foundation will allow the charity to fund after school running programs for children in underserved school districts. More information on #Run3rd, including sponsored 5Ks, is available at run3rd.com.
Sean has served on the board of several non-profit organizations, including the Creative Coalition, National Center for Family Literacy, and Los Angeles Valley College's Patrons Association and Arts Council. He is a vocal advocate on many issues including literacy, mental health awareness and civic engagement. After the passing of his mother in March 2016, Sean began fundraising to create a foundation to carry on her life's work as an advocate for mental health, InMemoryOfPattyDuke.com.
In 2015, he began the “Sean Reads Aloud” project, a patronage-based series of readings, initially of public domain works such as children’s stories, poems and classic novels. Funds raised will go to the Sean and Christine Astin Scholarship Fund. More information is available at patreon.com/SeanReadsAloud; readings are available on Youtube.
Sean has been actively engaged in the political world since early in his life. He served in two non-partisan Presidential appointments. In 1995, under President Bill Clinton, he became a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, serving for 10 years under six secretaries in two administrations. He was appointed by President George W. Bush to his Council on Service and Civic Participation, whose mission was to promote a culture of volunteerism and civic engagement. He campaigned for presidential candidates John Kerry in 2004, and Hillary Clinton in 2008 and 2016. He also served as campaign manager for his friend, Dan Adler, in a special election for California’s 36th congressional district race in 2011.
In 2012, Sean founded a political podcast focussing on the need to foster civil discourse in the national conversation. The show, whimsically called “Vox Populi: Voice of the ‘Occasionally’ Interested People” recorded over thirty episodes in its first season on the internet-based ToadhopNetwork. After a successful Kickstarter campaign in fall 2013, a second season was hosted in 2014 on TradioV. All episodes and more information are archived at voxpopuliradio.com.
Sean is the son of Academy and multiple-Emmy Award Winning actress Anna "Patty Duke" Pearce and acclaimed actor John Astin; his brother Mackenzie Astin enjoys a thriving motion picture and television career. Rounding out the acting family, eldest daughter Ali has worked with her father on three films and is now studying theater at Harvard University.
Sean attended the Crossroads High School for the Arts and later a master class at the Stella Adler Conservatory in Los Angeles. He graduated from UCLA in 1997 with a B.A. in History and English (American literature and culture).
Sean married Christine Harrell on July 11, 1992. They have three daughters: Alexandra "Ali" (born November 27, 1996), Elizabeth (born August 6, 2002), and Isabella "Bella" (born July 22, 2005), all with the middle name Louise.
Marathon and triathlon times
March 29, 1998 Los Angeles Marathon 4:04:42
March 21, 2010 Los Angeles Marathon 5:16:12
March 18, 2012 Los Angeles Marathon 4:25:47
March 17, 2013 Los Angeles Marathon 4:42:31
June 16, 2013 San Francisco Marathon 5:03:53
October 13, 2013 Chicago Marathon 4:31:05
October 26, 2014 Marine Corps Marathon 4:30:56
November 16, 2014 Las Vegas Rock N Roll Marathon 5:03:53
January 11, 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon 4:55:21
April 20, 2015 Boston Marathon 4:49:53
July 12, 2015 Vineman 70.3 Triathlon swim 42:10; bike 3:25:51; run 2:54:43; total 7:25:19
October 10, 2015 Ironman Kona World Championship Triathlon. swim 1:45:00, T1 9:21, bike 7:11:56, T2 17:52, run 6:06:22, Total 15:30:31.
October 9, 2016 Portland Marathon 5:55:56
November 6, 2016 New York City Marathon 6:02:33