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.
His mother is Catholic and his biological father, Michael Tell, is Jewish.
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. 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. 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.
Astin is a vegetarian.
He calls four people "Dad": John Astin, Desi Arnaz Jr., Mike Tell and Michael Pearce (his step-father).
Attended the same elementary school as Camilla Belle, Nicky Hilton and Paris Hilton.
Sean gained 30 pounds to secure the role of Sam on Lord of the Rings.
When Sean was 13, Steven Spielberg handpicked him to star as Mikey Walsh in The Goonies.
He is a vegetarian.
Attended Crossroads High School in Santa Monica, California, with actor/musician Jack Black. Was cast in a school play/film when Black backed out.
First professional acting job, at age nine, opposite his mother in "Please Don't Hit Me, Mom", an "ABC Afterschool Special"
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.
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.
He and other cast members became very close and very good friends through the filming process. He became particularly good friends with Elijah Wood.
Post-Lord of the Rings career:
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.
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 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.
In March 2012, Astin played a cosmetic surgeon named Takin Mastuhmik in a fake movie trailer entitled Boobathon which appeared on Funny or Die.
He attended Catholic school and is currently a Protestant Christian attending the Presbyterian church in Bel Air, California, US. Astin also practiced Buddhism for a time.
Sean: I'm incredibly inspired by people who are able to overcome a kind of adversity.
Sean: I got a job working at a movie theater once when I was 16 and my mom made some dumb comment about how, "No son of mine is going to work in a movie theater!" And so then I was like, "Well mom, who do you think we are?"
Sean: I'm like the universe; either expanding or contracting at any given moment. The most that I had put on was about 35, 36 pounds, and I've taken all of that off.
Sean: I don't want to play the fat guy or the friend for the rest of my life.