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Sean Astin (born February 25, 1971) is an American film 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, and the title character of Rudy. In television, he appeared as Lynn McGill in the fifth season of 24 and currently voices Raphael in the 2012 Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series.
Astin Stars in the just-wrapped Sony Pictures Romantic Comedy entitled, “Mom’s Night Out” Starring Sarah Drew, Patricia Heaton, Harry Shum Jr. & Trace Adkins. Films awaiting immediate release are, “The Boys of Abu Ghraib” and a WWII piece called, “the Little Boy.” There are three other titles that wrapped production in the 1st part of the year: “Extraction” with Danny Glover, “Freemason” (filmed in Salt Lake City) also starring Randy Wayne & Alex McKenna.
Astin recently received strong reviews for the charming and funny indie films, “And Their Off” and “Stay Cool”.
The child actor made his feature film debut at age 13. He portrayed Mikey in Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster hit The Goonies (1985). After The Goonies, the young performer 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 with Dudley Moore and Kirk Cameron (1987); White Water Summer with Kevin Bacon (1987), The War of the Roses (1989); and the lauded World War II epic film Memphis Belle (1990). He successfully navigated the transition from child actor to young adult in the filmsToy Soldiers (1991) and Encino Man (1992).
Astin 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 the title character, Daniel Ruettiger.
He followed his success in Rudy by starring in films throughout the 1990s, including the Showtime science fiction film Harrison Bergeron (1995), the Gulf War film Courage Under Fire (1996), the Warren Beatty political satire Bulworth (1996). and the romantic comedy Boy Meets Girl (1997).
In the early 2000s, Astin experienced another 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.
Since Lord of the Rings, Astin has consistently worked 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 and Law & Order, among other shows. He went on to directed a 2003 episode of the TV series Angel, titled “Soulless” as well as an episode of the Showtime Series Jeremiah, where he played the enigmatic Mr. Smith during the 2nd season.
Astin’s career has also expanded to include voice-over roles. He narrated the American version of the Animal Planet series Meerkat Manor, and voiced the title character in the animated Disney Channel series Special Agent Oso. His other voice work includes Balto III: Wings of Change and many video games including Kingdom Hearts. Astin is currently the voice of Raphael in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series on Nickelodeon. 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.
Astin forayed into the Internet realm. Among other longer form projects, in early 2012, he appeared in two Funny or Die videos, including an NFL Rookie Players association, much ballyhooed spoof.
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. While working on Lord of the Rings, Astin made his next short film, 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. Looking to make the leap to feature films, Astin and his wife, Christine, are now making a full length movie based on Lois Lowry’s Newbery Medal-winning novel Number the Stars.
In 2004, Astin broke into the publishing world and authored the NY TImes Best Selling release of There and Back Again a memoir (co-written with Joe Layden) of his film career with emphasis on his experiences with the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Astin has been actively engaged in the political world since early in his life, supporting mostly Democratic Candidates, Including President and Secretary Clinton and John Kerry. He also served in two non-partisan Presidential appointments. In 1995, under President Clinton, he became a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, serving for 10 years under six secretaries of the Army in two administrations. President Bush appointed him to his Council on Service and Civic Participation whose mission was to promote a culture of volunteerism and civic engagement. Astin surprisingly served as the campaign manager for his friend, Democrat Dan Adler, in a special election for California’s 36th congressional district race in 2011. The campaign garnered national attention despite its unsuccessful outcome.
Finally, Astin founded an internet radio show centering on politics, in particular the need to foster civil discourse in the national conversation. The show is whimsically called, Vox Populi, Voice of the ‘Occasionally’ Interested People and has recorded over thirty archived episodes. It can be heard on the internet based, ToadHopNetwork or downloaded as an ITunes Pod Cast.
Astin is the son of Academy Award Winning actress, Patty Duke and acclaimed actor John Astin. Rounding out the acting family, Sean’s brother Mackenzie Astin enjoys a thriving motion picture and television career and his eldest daughter Alexandra made an appearance in the third installment of Lord of the Rings. Following in his parents footsteps, 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).
Sean Astin attended the Crossroads High School for the Arts and later a master class at the Stella Adler Conservatory in Los Angeles. Astin graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in History and English (American literature and culture). An alumnus of Los Angeles Valley College, he served on the school’s Board of Directors of the Patrons Association and the Arts Council. He also worked closely with the Kentucky based non-profit National Center for Family Literacy.
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.