skip navigation
Sean Bean

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Also Known As: Shaun Mark Bean Died:
Born: April 17, 1959 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Yorkshire, England, GB Profession: actor, voice actor, welder

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A charismatic screen presence who proved equally effective in romantic leads and as a villain, actor Sean Bean carved his path through the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art before making a name for himself on British television and in American films. After spending the latter half of the 1980s making smaller films, he made his U.S. feature debut as a vengeance-minded IRA terrorist in the hit spy thriller, "Patriot Games" (1992), which opened the doors for the actor to play a wide range of bad guys. The following year, Bean was featured as a tough 19th century British officer, Richard Sharpe, in the long-running made-for-television movie series "Sharpe" (ITV, 1993- ) that gave him steady work over the next couple of decades. Meanwhile, he was a former 00 agent-turned-traitor in "GoldenEye" (1995) before playing an inexperienced spy in the thriller "Ronin" (1998). But it was his supporting turn as the proud warrior, Boromir, who falls prey to temptation in "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001) that exposed Bean to his biggest audience and turned him into a widely-recognized figure. From there, he had supporting roles in large scale features like "Troy" (2004) and "The Island" (2005),...

A charismatic screen presence who proved equally effective in romantic leads and as a villain, actor Sean Bean carved his path through the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art before making a name for himself on British television and in American films. After spending the latter half of the 1980s making smaller films, he made his U.S. feature debut as a vengeance-minded IRA terrorist in the hit spy thriller, "Patriot Games" (1992), which opened the doors for the actor to play a wide range of bad guys. The following year, Bean was featured as a tough 19th century British officer, Richard Sharpe, in the long-running made-for-television movie series "Sharpe" (ITV, 1993- ) that gave him steady work over the next couple of decades. Meanwhile, he was a former 00 agent-turned-traitor in "GoldenEye" (1995) before playing an inexperienced spy in the thriller "Ronin" (1998). But it was his supporting turn as the proud warrior, Boromir, who falls prey to temptation in "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001) that exposed Bean to his biggest audience and turned him into a widely-recognized figure. From there, he had supporting roles in large scale features like "Troy" (2004) and "The Island" (2005), while offering compelling turns in smaller movies such as "North Country" (2005) and "The Hitcher" (2007); displaying a versatility that stood Bean apart from his contemporaries.

Born on April 17, 1959 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, Bean was raised in Handsworth by his father, Brian, a welder and steel factory owner, and his mother, Rita, a secretary. Having dropped out of school at age 16, Bean worked a variety of odd jobs before deciding to enroll in at the Rotterham College of Arts and Technology. But he left to briefly attend the Granville College of Education in 1979, only to return to Rotterham where he eventually discovered acting, performing in such shows as "Cabaret" and "The Owl and the Pussycat." Deciding to pursue acting as a career, he enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art on scholarship and further honed his craft, while meeting future second wife, Melanie Hill, after divorcing high school sweetheart, Debra James, in 1981. After graduating RADA in 1983 with a Silver Medal for his performance in "Waiting for Godot," Bean made his professional stage debut â¿¿ then billed as Shaun Behan â¿¿ as Tybalt in a production of "Romeo and Juliet" at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury. Following his British television debut in "Winter Flight" (1984), he spent a season on stage with the Young Writers Festival before joining the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company in 1986, where he acted in repertory, including playing Romeo to Niamh Cusack's Juliet.

Bean made his feature debut in Derek Jarman's film "Caravaggio" (1986), playing a man involved in a love triangle with the famed Baroque painter (Nigel Terry) and his other lover (Tilda Swinton). He reunited with the director on "War Requiem" (1988), a docudrama detailing the experiences of a solider (Nathaniel Parker) fighting in World War I. Bean had his first notable film role as an Irishman who becomes involved with shady characters in the moody, jazz-influenced "Stormy Monday" (1988), directed by Mike Figgis. He shined as Richard Harris' repressed son in "The Field" (1990), while proving himself to be an effective villain in the Thames Television production "Lorna Doone" (1990), one of numerous adaptations of the popular 19th century romance novel by Richard Doddridge Blackmore. Turning to romantic leads, Bean delivered a fine portrayal of the vile Robert Lovelace in the adaptation of Samuel Richardsonâ¿¿s "Clarissa" (BBC, 1991) before managing to bed Joely Richardson in a steamy adaptation of D.H. Lawrence renamed "Lady Chatterly" (BBC, 1992). Because of his penchant for villainy, Bean was tapped for his American debut as the chief bad guy in "Patriot Games" (1992), playing an IRA terrorist who seeks revenge against CIA agent Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) for killing his brother during a foiled assassination attempt on members of the Royal Family.

In 1993, Bean began a long-running stint playing fictional 19th century British officer, Richard Sharpe, in a series of made-for-television movies and miniseries that he went back to with regular frequency over the next few decades. He first appeared as the hardened Yorkshire soldier in "Sharpeâ¿¿s Rifles" (ITV, 1993), in which he is tasked with teaching a ceremonial battalion how to fight in a real battle. Bean immediately followed up with 12 more installments from 1993-97, which amounted to about three per year. All the while, he continued to appear in major U.S. and U.K. productions, playing a veritable roguesâ¿¿ gallery of villains like the despicable Earl of Fenton in the miniseries sequel, "Scarlett" (CBS, 1994). His natural affinity for playing bad guys led to a James Bond film, "GoldenEye" (1995), in which he was Alec Trevelyan, Agent 006, who turns traitor against Her Majestyâ¿¿s Secret Service while on a mission with Bond (Pierce Brosnan), only to turn up years later after being presumed dead. After portraying Count Vronsky in the big screen adaptation of Leo Tolstoyâ¿¿s "Anna Karenina" (1997), Bean portrayed the weak-stomached weapons expert, Spence, whose place in a for-hire ops mission is called into question by a rogue agent (Robert De Niro) in John Frankenheimerâ¿¿s thrilling "Ronin" (1998).

Back on British television, Bean starred in the four-part series, "Extremely Dangerous" (ITV, 1999), playing a former MI5 agent who goes on the run to clear his name after being accused of brutally killing his wife and child. He next garnered praise for his portrayal of real-life British soldier Andy McNab who led a secret mission during the Persian Gulf War in the British television drama "Bravo Two Zero" (BBC, 1999). Following a return to villainy as a wife-beating ex-con in "Essex Boys" (2000) and a malevolent kidnapper/jewel thief in "Don't Say a Word" (2001), Bean reached his widest audience playing the proud human warrior Boromir in Peter Jacksonâ¿¿s adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkein's novel, "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001), who aids hobbit Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) on a quest to destroy the One Ring in Mount Doom, only to fall prey to the Ringâ¿¿s temptations. Though credited with the next two installments, "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" (2002) and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (2003), Beanâ¿¿s contributions in those two film were limited to a series of flashbacks.

After roles in the futuristic thriller "Equilibrium" (2002) and the off-kilter comedy "The Big Empty" (2003), Bean returned to epic-style filmmaking when he played the legendary Greek hero Odysseus in "Troy" (2004), the big screen adaptation of Homer's tale of the Trojan War starring Brad Pitt as the hero Achilles. He followed with a turn as Nicolas Cage's villainous rival in the popular, if unambitious adventure film "National Treasure" (2004). Next was playing yet another villain in the sci-fi thriller "The Island" (2005), Michael Bay's ham-handed rip-off of the 1970s television movie, "Parts: The Clonus Horror" (1979). In Bay's version, Bean played a smart, but evil doctor who runs a futuristic medical facility that harvests cloned human beings (Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson) for organ transplants. He next had a supporting role as the captain of an airline flight who refuses to believe the missing daughter of a passenger (Jodie Foster) was ever aboard in the thriller "Flightplan" (2005). Shifting gears, Bean showed a rarely seen warmer side and a potent dose of charm in the drama "North Country" (2005), playing the protective and sympathetic husband of a female miner (Frances McDormand) whose friend (Charlize Theron) launched the first-ever sexual harassment lawsuit against a corporation.

In "Silent Hill" (2006), a supernatural horror feature based on the popular video game, Bean played the husband of a desperate mother (Radha Mitchell) trying to find an answer for her daughter's mysterious recurring dream that pulls her out of bed to sleepwalk. Against her husband's objections, she takes her to a fog-shrouded ghost town inhabited by a variety of strange beings â¿¿ including demons â¿¿ and overcome by a living darkness that transforms everything it touches. Despite negative reviews, "Silent Hill" opened No. 1 at the box office with over $20 million in box office dollars. That same year, he returned to playing Richard Sharpe in "Sharpeâ¿¿s Challenge" (ITV, 2006), which he followed up with strong performances in thrillers like "Outlaw" (2007) and "The Hitcher" (2007). After another go-round with "Sharpeâ¿¿s Peril" (ITV1, 2008), Bean had a role on the heavily-promoted, but ultimately failed series "Crusoe" (NBC, 2008-09) before appearing in the three-part British series "Red Riding" (Channel 4, 2009). Back in the high-end feature world, he played Zeus in "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" (2010), who accuses the titular Percy (Logan Lerman) of stealing his lightning bolt. He returned to American television for the epic medieval series, "Game of Thrones" (HBO, 2011- ), to play the honorable Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark, who remains so doggedly loyal to the King of the Seven Kingdoms (Mark Addy) he is willing to leave his family.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Pixels (2015)
3.
4.
 Martian, The (2015)
5.
 Maudie (2015)
6.
 Hooligan (2012)
7.
 Cleanskin (2012)
9.
 Black Death (2011)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Handsworth, England
1983:
Made professional stage debut as Tybalt in "Romeo and Juliet" at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury (credited as Shaun Behan)
1984:
British TV-movie debut, "Winter Flight"
1985:
Spent a season acting on stage with the Young Writers Festival
1986:
Joined the Royal Shakespeare Company
1986:
Feature film debut in Derek Jarman's "Caravaggio"
1988:
Delivered a fine performance as an Irish janitor in Mike Figgis' "Stormy Monday"
1988:
Reunited with Jarman for "War Requiem"
1990:
Portrayed the wicked Carver Doone in the Thames Television production "Lorna Doone"
1990:
Co-starred opposite Richard Harris in "The Field"
1991:
Garnered praise for playing Lovelace on the BBC adaptation of "Clarissa" (aired on "Masterpiece Theatre" in 1992)
1992:
Cast as gamekeeper Mellors opposite Joely Richardson's "Lady Chatterley" (BBC)
1992:
American film debut as an Irish radical in "Patriot Games" opposite Harrison Ford
1993:
Landed breakthrough role as the Napoleonic era British soldier Richard Sharpe on "Sharpe," a series of 14 TV-movies adapted from Bernard Cornwell's novels (aired in the U.S. on "Masterpiece Theatre")
1994:
Cast as Lord Richard Fenton in the CBS miniseries "Scarlett," filmed as a sequel to "Gone With the Wind" (1939)
1994:
Portrayed Esau to Matthew Modine's "Jacob" in the TNT biblical movie
1997:
Cut a dashing figure as Vronsky in the remake of "Anna Karenina," starring Sophie Marceau
1998:
Co-starred in the international thriller "Ronin"
1998:
Portrayed real-life British soldier Andy McNab in the TV drama "Bravo Two Zero"
1999:
Played a man accused of murdering his family in the four-part ITV miniseries "Extremely Dangerous"
2000:
Offered a strong performance as a volatile ex-con in the British gangster film "Essex Boys"
2001:
Cast as the leader of a gang of jewel thieves who resort to blackmail and murder in the thriller "Don't Say a Word"
2001:
Portrayed Boromir in the Peter Jackson directed "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," an adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic novel
2002:
Had small but pivotal role in the futuristic thriller "Equilibrium" (a.k.a. "Librium")
2003:
Featured in the comedy "The Big Empty" opposite Jon Favreau
2003:
Reprised role as Boromir in Jackson's "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"
2004:
Cast as the Greek hero Odysseus in director Wolfgnag Petersen's epic "Troy"
2004:
Cast opposite Nicolas Cage and Harvey Keitel in "National Treasure"
2005:
Played Frances McDormand's husband in "North Country"
2006:
Co-starred with Radha Mitchell in the thriller "Slient Hill"
2007:
Starred in a remake of a 1986 horror film "The Hitcher"
2010:
Cast as Zeus, Lord of the Sky and Ruler of Olympus, in the film adaptation of "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief"
2011:
Portrayed Eddard 'Ned' Stark on HBO's "Game of Thrones," based on author George R. R. Martin's best-selling <i>A Song of Ice and Fire</i> series
2012:
Cast as the King in the fantasy comedy "Mirror Mirror," starring Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen and Lily Collins as Snow White
2012:
Appeared in "Soldiers of Fortune"
2015:
Landed a supporting role in "Jupiter Ascending"
2015:
Nabbed a supporting part in Ridley Scott's "The Martian"
2015:
Nabbed a recurring part in "The Frankenstein Chronicles"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Rotherham College of Arts and Technology: -
Granville College of Education: -
Brook Comprehensive School: -
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art: London , England - 1981 - 1983

Notes

Received honorary doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University in 1997

Bean has lent his unique vocal abilities to TV documentaries (i.e., "Paradise Blues" 1999; "Treacherous Places" 2001), TV commercials (for Hellmann's mayonaise and the London Times) as well as audio books (e.g., "The Big Game" 1999).

"He is arguably one of Britain's sexiest actors, makes a fine villain and has the nation's best-known bottom. His face is unusual but attractive: slitty-eyed, roughened, but with a fine bone structure supporting cheeks that look somehow well worn - as if they've been punched and kissed in equal measure." --Grace Bradberry writing in the London Times, January 1, 1999.

"I've never seen myself as the romantic lead, really.

"I don't get up in the morning and think, `I wonder who's going to offer me the romantic lead this week.' I've played a lot of criminals too." --Sean Bean quoted in WM Magazine, Autumn 2000.

"... I sort of leave the character at the end of the day. I don't carry anything around with me - no excess baggage or unnecessary thoughts. I think it's too exhausting to do that. To put things into perspective - your work is your work, and your leisure time is something else. You don't actually constantly think about your character 24 hours a day. It's probably detrimental - it would have been in my case, with the character of Jason Locke in 'Essex Boys'. I think everybody's got different methods of working which suit the particular individual. Mine is to sort of play the part, and give 100%, to concentrate and focus on it while I'm actually working, but then leave it behind until the next day." --Sean Bean to Winona Kent in a 2001 interview published at "The Compleat Sean Bean" (http://mypage.direct.ca/w/wkent/seanbean.html)

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Debra James. Hairdresser. Were childhood sweethearts; married in 1979; divorced.
wife:
Melanie Hill. Actor. Met while both were attending drama school; together from 1980; married in 1991; second wife; separated in 1996; divorced; appeared in the features "Shopping" and "Brassed Off".
wife:
Abigail Cruttenden. Actor. Born c. 1968; married on November 22, 1997; appeared together in "Sharpe" series; divorced in 2000.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Brian Bean. Welder, steel factory owner.
mother:
Rita Bean.
sister:
Lorraine Bean. Younger.
daughter:
Lorna Bean. Born c. 1987; mother, Melanie Hill.
daughter:
Molly Bean. Born c. 1991; mother, Melanie Hill.
daughter:
Evie Natasha Bean. Born in November 1998; mother, Abigail Cruttenden.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Sean Bean: The Biography" Piatkus Books

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute