Real name: Sean Patrick Astin
Birthdate: February 25, 1971
Partner: Christine Astin
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Astin was born in Santa Monica, California. He is the son of actors Patty Duke and John Astin, although his biological father is Michael Tell, a music promoter and writer of Jewish heritage who divorced Patty Duke shortly before her marriage to Astin. At the time of his birth, it was widely assumed that his biological father was Desi Arnaz, Jr., although this has been stated as incorrect. Astin is the older brother of Mackenzie Astin, also an actor (in The Facts of Life).
Astin graduated with honors from UCLA with B.A.s in history and English (American literature and culture). He is an alumnus of and now serves on the Board of Directors of the Patrons Association and the Arts Council for Los Angeles Valley College. He also attended St. Paul the Apostle Elementary School and the Crossroads High School for the Arts and participated in master classes at the Stella Adler Conservatory in Los Angeles.
At age thirteen, he debuted on the silver screen as Mikey in The Goonies (1985). He had a small role in 1989's The War of the Roses and in 1993 got a memorable part as the title character in Rudy. Astin recently played Samwise Gamgee in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. He also played the brother of Lucy (Drew Barrymore) in the Adam Sandler film 50 First Dates. Astin provided the voice for Balto's son, Kodi in the second direct-to-video sequel of Balto.
In 1994, he directed and co-produced the Academy Awards nominated short film Kangaroo Court with his wife, Christine.
In 1995, he starred in the Showtime sci-fi film Harrison Bergeron, an adaptation of the short story by Kurt Vonnegut. In this futuristic film, the world focuses on the belief that "All men are not created equal. It is the purpose of the Government to make them so." The titular character, Harrison, is smarter than his peers and is unaffected by the standard technology used to handicap all Americans so that everyone is of equal ability.
While working on The Two Towers he persuaded a number of fellow cast and crew members, including director Peter Jackson, to act in or work as crew on his short film, The Long and Short of It (2003), which takes place on a street in Wellington, New Zealand. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, 2003, and appears on the "standard edition" DVD of The Two Towers as an extra feature together with a "making of" video.
He substituted for Tate Donovan in voicing Hercules in the first Kingdom Hearts game for Playstation 2.
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 same middle name of Louise. His wife held the Miss Indiana Teen USA title in 1984 and competed in the Miss Teen USA pageant that year.
His book There and Back Again: An Actor's Tale (2004, ISBN 0-312-33146-0), co-written by Joe Layden, is an account of his experiences before, during and after filming the Lord of the Rings movies. The title is derived from the subtitle of The Hobbit by Lord of the Rings author J. R. R. Tolkien. He jumped at the chance to work in New Zealand again in 2004, as the mythical "Linus", tutor of Hercules, in Robert Halmi Sr.'s Hallmark-sponsored remake.