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sean astin.jpg

Sean Astin Is Fine With Nepo-Baby Label: 'It's Just True'

By Emily Richardson | Celebrity | December 4, 2023 |

By Emily Richardson | Celebrity | December 4, 2023 |


sean astin.jpg

Listen, I know we’re all sick of listening to nepo babies talk about being nepo babies (and the term “nepo baby” in general). But, the odd time, a celeb gets it right (Allison Williams) and delivers a take that isn’t defensive (Jamie Lee Curtis) or downright haughty (Ben Platt). Today’s chill nepo baby is Sean Astin, aka Mikey from The Goonies, Rudy in Rudy, Samwise Gamgee, and poor, doomed Bob from Stranger Things.

In case ya didn’t know, Sean Astin’s mom is Oscar-winning actress Patty Duke (The Miracle Worker, The Patty Duke Show, Valley of the Dolls, and roughly a zillion TV movies). She passed away in 2016. His adoptive father is Addams Family actor John Astin… but put a pin in that. Sean’s first role was in the 1981 after school special Please Don’t Hit Me, Mom. You can probably guess what it was about based on the title: a single mom, played by Patty Duke, physically abuses her 8-year-old son, Sean Astin.

52-year-old Sean tells Page Six that when people ask him how he got started in Hollywood, he always answers, “Nepotism”:

“Listen, it’s just true,” he continued. “Life is hard, work is hard. Finding your way in the world is hard. So when people have some good fortune, I don’t begrudge that.”

“And I don’t begrudge myself having been born into a family where I was given a lot,” he explained. “I also feel that that comes with a lot of responsibility that you have the opportunity to embrace or not.”

“So yeah … you know … [you] nailed it,” he joked about being a recipient of nepotism. “Got it in one!”

Sean adds that he’s grateful for his career success, and enjoys going to Comic-Cons to meet his Lord of the Rings fans:

“I’ve spent many weekends a year going to places where people (give me) feedback, how important those films are to them and how much they mean. I’m grateful, I’m always grateful.”

Now, let’s get back to matter of Sean’s father, which is equal parts complicated and juicy. In 1970, 23-year-old Patty Duke became involved with three men: 40-year-old John Astin, who was married, Lucille Ball’s 17-year-old son Desi Arnaz Jr, and music promoter Michael Tell, a “total stranger” who was subletting her apartment. That June, Patty found out she was pregnant with Sean. Patty, who battled bipolar disorder, impulsively married Michael Tell to avoid a scandal. The marriage was annulled two weeks later.

Sean was born in February 1971. In 1972, John Astin finalized his divorce from his first wife, married Patty, and adopted Sean. John and Patty welcomed another baby, Mackenzie Astin (The Facts of Life) in 1973. When Sean was 14, Patty told him that his biological father was actually Desi Arnaz Jr, and Sean and Desi developed a relationship. However, in his twenties, Sean met a relative of Michael Tell’s, who suggested Michael might be his dad. These pictures of Michael might give you a good idea why they thought that. Sean did a genetic test, which confirmed Michael was the father.

Oh, by the way, Patty and John divorced in 1985, and she married drill sergeant Michael Pearce the very next year. So now Sean has four father figures in his life. In 2004, he told ABC News: “I can call any of them on the phone any time I want to. John, Desi, Mike or Papa Mike… my four dads.”

Let’s end on a cute note. Here’s Sean hanging out with his original Dad, John Astin, several years ago. John turns 94 next March:



Header Image Source: Getty