English actor Sean Bean was born 17 April 1959 in Handsworth, Sheffield, Yorkshire. He has a younger sister, Lorraine. His paternal grandfather, Harold Bean Jr. was a stud mill labourer and His father owned a fabrication shop that employed 50 people, including Bean’s mother, who worked as a secretary. Despite becoming relatively wealthy, the family never moved away from the council estate as they preferred to remain close to friends and family. As a child, Bean smashed a glass door during an argument, which left a piece of glass embedded in his leg that briefly impeded his walking, and left a large scar This prevented him from pursuing his ambition of playing football professionally.
Bean attended Brook Comprehensive school and graduated In 1975 with O levels in Art and English. After a job at a supermarket and another for the local council, he started work at his father’s firm. Once a week, on day release, he attended Rotherham College of Arts and Technology to study welding. While at college, he came upon an art class, and decided to pursue his interest in art. After attending courses at two other colleges, one for half a day and the other for less than a week, he returned to Rotherham College, where he enrolled in a drama course. After some college plays and one at Rotherham Civic Theatre, he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), starting a seven-term course in January 1981.
After graduating from RADA Bean made his professional acting debut in 1983 as Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury. His early career involved a mixture of stage and screen work and he appeared in an advert for non-alcoholic lager. In 1984 he starred in David and Jonathan by William Douglas-Home at the Redgrave Theatre in Farnham. Between 1986 and 1988, he was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, appearing in productions of Romeo and Juliet, The Fair Maid of the West, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1986 He appeared in his first film, Derek Jarman’s Caravaggio opposite Tilda Swinton, playing Ranuccio Tomassoni, followed in the same director’s War Requiem (1988). In 1989, he starred as the evil Dominic O’Brien in The Fifteen Streets, where he gained a dedicated following.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Bean became an established actor on British television. He appeared in the BBC productions Clarissa and Lady Chatterley (1993) with Joely Richardson. In 1990, Bean starred in Jim Sheridan’s adaption of the John B. Keane play The Field. Also in 1990, his role as the journalist Anton in Windprints examined the difficult problems of apartheid in South Africa. In 1996, he combined his love of football with his career to finally achieve his childhood dream of playing for Sheffield United, as Jimmy Muir in the film When Saturday Comes. His football related work continued in 1998 when he narrated La Coupe de la Gloire, the official film of the 1998 FIFA World Cup held in France.
Bean’s critical successes in Caravaggio and Lady Chatterley contributed to his emerging image as a sex symbol, but he became most closely associated with the character of Richard Sharpe, the maverick Napoleonic Wars rifleman in the ITV television series Sharpe. The series was based on Bernard Cornwell’s novels about the Peninsular War, and the fictional experiences of a band of soldiers in the famed 95th Rifles. Starting with Sharpe’s Rifles, the series followed the fortunes and misfortunes of Richard Sharpe as he rose from the ranks as a Sergeant, promoted to Lieutenant in Portugal, to Lieutenant Colonel by the time of the Battle of Waterloo.
Bean was not the first actor to be chosen to play Sharpe. As Paul McGann was injured while playing football two days into filming, the producers initially tried to work around his injury, but it proved impossible and Bean replaced him. The series ran continuously from 1993 to 1997, with three episodes produced each year. It was filmed under challenging conditions, first in Ukraine and later in Portugal. After several years of rumours, more episodes were produced: Sharpe’s Challenge, which aired in April 2006, and Sharpe’s Peril, which aired in autumn 2008 and was later released on DVD Both of these were released as two cinema-length 90 minute episodes per series. Bean portrayed the enigmatic Lord Richard Fenton in the TV miniseries Scarlett.
Bean made the transition to Hollywood feature films. His first notable Hollywood appearance was that of an Irish republican terrorist in the 1992 film adaptation of Patriot Games. While filming his death scene, Harrison Ford hit him with a boat hook, giving him a permanent scar. Bean’s rough-cut looks made him a patent choice for a villain, and his role in Patriot Games was the first of several villains that he would portray, all of whom die in gruesome ways. In the 1995 film GoldenEye, Bean portrayed James Bond’s nemesis and former colleague Alec Trevelyan (MI6’s 006). He played the weak-stomached Spence in Ronin (1998), a wife-beating ex-con in Essex Boys (2000), and a malevolent kidnapper/jewel thief in Don’t Say a Word (2001). He was also widely recognised as villainous treasure hunter Ian Howe in National Treasure, and played a villainous scientist in The Island (2005).
Bean’s most prominent role was as Boromir in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. His major screen time occurs in the first installment, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. He appears briefly in flashbacks in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, as well as in a scene from the extended edition of The Two Towers.
In the independent film Far North, he plays a Russian mercenary who gets lost in the tundra and is rescued by an Inuit woman and her daughter, whom he later pits against one another. Other roles gave more scope for his acting abilities. In 1999’s Extremely Dangerous, he portrayed a repentant, poetry-reading Grammaton cleric who succumbs to his emotions in 2003 he portrayed a quirky alien cowboy in The Big Empty, and a sympathetic and cunning Odysseus in the 2004 film Troy. He also appeared with other Hollywood stars in Moby’s music video “We Are All Made of Stars” In 2002, he returned to the stage in London performing in Macbeth. He has also appeared in Patriot Games (1992), Ronin (1998), National Treasure (2004), North Country (2005), The Island (2005), Silent Hill (2006), Black Death (2010), Jupiter Ascending (2015) and The Martian (2015).
As a voice actor, Bean has done voice-over work, mostly in the British advertising industry. He has featured in television adverts for O2, Morrisons and Barnardos as well as for Acuvue and the Sci-Fi Channel in the United States. He also does the voice over for the National Blood Service. Bean’s distinctive voice has also been used in the intro and outro segments of the BBC Formula 1 racing coverage for the 2011 and 2012 seasons. He has also been featured in the video games The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, and the drama The Canterbury Tales. He has received many awards during his career and won an International Emmy for Best Actor. He has also been nominated for a BAFTA and Saturn Award.
Bean completed a one-hour pilot, Faceless, for US television. He has also appeared in Outlaw, and the 2007 remake of the horror film, The Hitcher. In 2009, he appeared in the Red Riding trilogy as the malevolent John Dawson. He also appeared in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010), playing the role of Zeus, the king of Mount Olympus. In 2010 Bean starred in Cash, playing the lead role of Pyke Kubic, a dangerous man determined to recover his wealth during hard economic times. Bean also played the villain’s twin brother, Reese
Bean starred in the first season of Game of Thrones, HBO’s adaptation of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R. R. Martin, playing the part of Lord Eddard Stark who is invited to the realm of King’s Landing by King Robert Baratheon with his family. However Eddard runs afoul of the sinister machinations of the devious Petr “Littlefinger” Baelish and Cersei Lannister, who both have a very different idea about who should rule, and this sets a tumultuous chain of events in motion.
In August 2012, Bean appeared as cross-dressing teacher Simon in the opening episode of the UK television series Accused, which earned him a Royal Television Society best actor award. He starred in Soldiers of Fortune and the 2012 film Cleanskin, in which he plays a secret service agent faced with the task of pursuing and eliminating a suicide bomber and his terrorist cell. He also appeared in Tarsem Singh’s Snow White film, Mirror Mirror, which was released in the U.S. in March 2012. Bean reprised his role as Christopher Da Silva in the Silent Hill film sequel Silent Hill: Revelation. He co-starred in the ABC drama series Missing, which premiered in early 2012. Bean starred in the espionage television series Legends as Martin Odum, an FBI agent who takes on various fabricated identities to go undercover. The show was cancelled after its second season.
Bean is Renowned for frequently portraying characters who die, and his many fictional deaths have earned him status as an Internet meme and An intensive viral marketing campaign was centred on the hashtag #DontKillSeanBean, focusing on the various deaths of his past characters and promising his character in Legends would not suffer the same fate. The campaign culminated with a Funny or Die exclusive video featuring Bean filming a scene for the show where he’s become so accustomed to dying on screen that he expects his character to die a bizarrely gruesome death despite the simplicity of the scene. He currently stars in the ITV Encore drama series The Frankenstein Chronicles.