Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® President, Mike Stanfield, is very pleased to welcome back to Winchester actor, director, producer, writer, husband and father, Sean Astin, who is returning to Bloomtown with his family for the Coronation of his middle daughter, Elizabeth, as Queen Shenandoah XCI. Sean served as Co-Grand Marshal in 2004 along with Loni Anderson; and, returned once before in 2014 when he and his wife, Christine, crowned their daughter, Ali, as Queen Shenandoah LXXXVII. In the “Welcome Home” year of 2018, Sean and Ali, now a student at Harvard, will serve as Co-Ministers of the Crown for sister, Elizabeth.
Sean Astin has demonstrated an innate ability to share his heart with the world through such iconic roles as Mikey Walsh in “The Goonies,” the title character in “Rudy,” Samwise Gamgee in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and Bob Newby in “Stranger Things 2;” roles that epitomize hope, determination and loyalty. With both his parents being well-known and respected actors, it is no surprise that Sean’s career, which spans over three decades with 140 acting credits, began at a young age. He debuted in the 1981 television movie “Please Don’t Hit Me, Mom,” in which he played a child with an abusive mother, portrayed by his real-life mother Patty Duke. For his first feature film, he portrayed Mikey in Steven Spielberg’s classic “The Goonies” (1985), still widely beloved by audiences today. Sean scored a career-defining success in the inspirational college football biopic “Rudy” (1993), about the life-changing struggles and rewards of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger. To this day, Sean identifies with the role of the unlikely athlete, determined to succeed at achieving seemingly impossible goals.
Sean experienced another career breakthrough with his role as the ultimate “loyal sidekick,” Samwise Gamgee, in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, released in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Along with the many awards bestowed upon the trilogy, Sean received nominations for his own performance. He took 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. For the finale, “The Return of the King,” the ensemble cast received awards from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures and the Screen Actors Guild. In 2004, Sean authored the NY Times best seller, “There and Back Again: An Actor’s Tale,” chronicling his acting career with emphasis on his experiences filming “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
Recently, Sean joined the award winning cast in the second season of the engrossing and critically acclaimed Netflix series “Stranger Things” (2017), as the beloved character of Bob Newby, Radio Shack manager. Sean’s recent films include “Range 15” (2016), a crowd-sourced dark comedy made by and for vets, and the romantic comedy “Unleashed” (2017) with Kate Micucci. He narrated and executive-produced the documentary “Remember the Sultana” (2018), about the worst maritime disaster in US history. Sean costars with Julianne Moore in the upcoming English-language adaptation of the Chilean film “Gloria,” from Oscar-winning director, Sebastián Lelio. Sean is the son of Academy and multiple-Emmy Award Winning actress Anna “Patty Duke” Pearce, and acclaimed actor, John Astin. His brother Mackenzie Astin enjoys a thriving motion picture and television career; and, his eldest daughter, Ali, has worked with him on three films, and is now studying theater at Harvard University. Sean attended the Crossroads High School for the Arts and the Stella Adler Conservatory in Los Angeles. He graduated from UCLA in 1997 with a B.A. in History and English (American literature and culture). Sean married Christine Harrell on July 11, 1992. They have three daughters: Alexandra, “Ali” (born November 27, 1996); Elizabeth (born August 6, 2002); and, Isabella, “Bella” (born July 22, 2005).