The actor Sean Astin will always be “Mikey” the leader of a band of adventurous kids who found pirate treasure in the enormously successful 1980s popular classic, The Goonies. He will forever be remembered for portraying the brave and loyal Samwise Gamgee in the groundbreaking and universally acclaimed The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Yet, the film for which he is singularly identified, tells the story of the American working class dreamer, Rudy. It is his indomitable will that makes Rudy great, and Sean Astin’s portrayal has been lauded not only by critics, but also countless teachers, coaches, athletes, and others for capturing peoples imaginations, encouraging them to Work Hard and Dream Big.
Over the past 25 years, Astin has done just that, building a dynamic career, having performed in over 70 film and television shows. Beyond the success he has enjoyed in the performing arts, Sean Astin has further developed his gifts as a writer, director, producer, and social advocate.
Astin directed and produced the academy Award Nominated live action short film, entitled Kangaroo Court, which addressed the disenfranchisement of African Americans in inner cities.
A steadfast activist and civic minded individual, he has served both on George W. Bush’s President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation for two years and for 10 years as a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, during the Clinton administration. Both of these positions fostered a deep sense of National service in addition to his involvement with many civic, philanthropic and other political activities. To that end, Astin has worked on several non-profit boards: The Creative Coalition, an organization dedicated to bridging the gap between Washington and Hollywood in advocating for causes and issues of importance to celebrities and others in the entertainment community; The National Center for Family Literacy, one of the country’s preeminent institutions committed to reducing the dangerous rate of illiteracy in America; and The Patrons Association for Los Angeles Valley College, a group who consistently supports one of the most prominent community colleges in the state.
Additionally, Sean Astin worked closely with Astra Zeneca on a comprehensive Bi-Polar Awareness Tour, in support of his mother, Patty Duke, who has been an outspoken voice in the mental health community and written extensively about her condition.
Astin has spoken to audiences ranging from corporate seminars, GlaxoSmithKline, Yellowbook, Discuss Dental, and Tommy Hilfiger, to youth leadership seminars, student groups, juvenal correction institute, colleges, science fiction/fantasy and other conventions. He has also spoken at countless political rallies, fundraisers, charity events and social awareness functions.
He has appeared on countless local and national radio and television shows including Larry King Live, Good Morning America, The View, and 20/20. He is also a familiar face on the late night circuit, with appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman, Real Time with Bill Maher, The Tonight Show and The Late Late Show.
He is known throughout the industry as an effective communicator with a world-class ability to encapsulate the value of a project and excite people, not only to watch his films and television shows, but also to become more engaged in our civic and political life.
First and foremost, Sean Astin is an actor. From diverse roles in movies like Where the Day Takes You, he plays an anguished, homeless, drug addict, to the slapstick lisping, posing, almost muscle bound fop in Adam Sandler’s blockbuster 50 First Dates, he moves comfortably from the ridiculous to the sublime and back again to the dramatic.
Some of the many Sean Astin films you may recognize include: The Final Season, the true story of an Iowa High School baseball coach who lead the team to a miraculous 20th State Championship; Memphis Belle, the true story of the legendary B-17 bomber crew who were the first to complete 25 successful bombing raids over Germany; and The Low Life, for which Astin received critical notice for his portrait of a mentally challenged and dysfunctional outcast.
A few of his other films that found substantial audiences were: Click, Courage Under Fire, and Encino Man. Finally, Like Father Like Son, Borderland, Kimberly, Smile, Bigger Than the Sky, Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing and Charm School, and Deterrence, are all meaningful films that connected with smaller audiences.
After the massive success of the The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Astin enjoyed working on a succession of popular television programs, including: 24, Law & Order, My Name Is Earl and Monk. He played a naïve prospector in Steven Spielberg’s landmark television event, Into the West and starred as the boy, in homage to the Technicolor romantic comedies of the 1950’s, entitled Boy Meets Girl.
While he has spent most of his acting life making comedies and some serious dramas, Astin has developed quite a strong following in the fantasy and science fiction genres. Beyond The Lord of the Rings franchise, he also played the beloved character, Two-Flower, in an adaptation of Terry Prachett’s fantasy/satire epic, The Colour of Magic for Sky Television. Earlier in his television career, Astin played the title character, Harrison Bergeron, based on Kurt Vonnegut’s short story of the same name and has garnered high praise among sci-fi fans for his characterization of Mr. Smith in the series Jeremiah on Showtime.
Sean Astin’s voice has been heard in many places, but nowhere more passionately than from the Kalahari Desert as a narrator for Animal Planet’s revered Meerkat Manor series. He is also the proud voice of the Disney Channel’s bumbling and loveable title character, Special Agent Oso.
Astin is the founder and President of Lava Entertainment, which focuses on adapting successful literary titles. He has directed and produced television shows and plays, published a NY Times best selling book, There and Back Again: An Actor’s Tale, and volunteered and contributed to dozens of charities.
He graduated, with honors, from UCLA with degrees in History and American Literature and Culture and studied with the legendary acting teacher Stella Adler. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife of over 20 years, Christine and their three daughters, Alexandra, Elizabeth and Isabella.