Born in Sheffield in April 1959, Sean Bean had a variety of jobs before discovering acting while attending an art course at Rotherham College - including selling cheese in a supermarket, shovelling snow and working as a welder at his father's steel fabrication shop.
One of thirty successful applicants out of a field of 11,000 to win a scholarship to London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Bean was awarded a silver medal for his graduation performance in Waiting for Godot. His professional acting debut was as Tybalt in the Glasgow Citizens' Theatre production of Romeo and Juliet, and he appeared on stage in London's West End in a number of productions, including The Fair Maid of the West, Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream for the Royal Shakespeare Company.
More recently Bean's career has focused away from theatre and he is now internationally recognised in the film world as the baddie in GoldenEye and Patriot Games, and the illicit lover in Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. In Sharpe for Central/Carlton Television, he played the Napolenic hero who marched his way through France, Portugal and Spain in the series adapted from Bernard Cornwell's Peninsular War novels. And Bean reluctantly continued to earn the reputation as a heart throb as the disolute rogue, Lovelace, in Clarissa for the BBC, Mellors in Ken Russell's BBC adaptation of Lady Chatterley, and Paul, the compromised photographer, in A Woman's Guide to Adultery.
Never one to shy away from doing his own stunts, Bean carries a souvenir from his appearance in Patriot Games - during one of the fight scenes, Harrison Ford accidentally cut him above his eye, leaving him with an injury which required stitches to close. Bean's other distinguishing mark is a black 100% Blade tattoo on his left shoulder - a reference to his beloved football team, Sheffield United.
Bean is married to actress Abigail Cruttenden, who played his wife Jane in the Sharpe television series, and they are currently expecting a child. He also has two young daughters, Lorna and Molly, from his second marriage to actress Melanie Hill.
Bean can also be seen later this year in
the spy thriller Ronin about an international team of former
intelligence agents who are hired to carry out a dangerous mission.
Directed by John Frankenheimer, the film also stars Robert de
Niro and Jonathan Pryce.
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