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Sean Astin 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 films Toy 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 direct 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.
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.
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 PodCast.