Many actors are recognized for their iconic roles or for the immense talent they put into a performance. Sean Bean on the other hand has a different recognition, he’s known as the “guy who dies in films” or “the actor whose name we can’t pronounce right”. Doesn’t matter which medieval fantasy land he’s fighting in, Sean Bean’s characters are almost certain to die – fortunately we are here to celebrate something much more joyous, his 60th birthday.
After graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, where he was scholar, Bean frequently appeared in Shakespearean plays such as Romeo and Juliet, The Fair Maid of the West, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This would prompt to his castings on British television, and using his thick Yorkshire accent in narrations or voice roles.
In most of Bean’s films he plays the villain, which is why he often ends up dying by the time the credits roll. These include being the antagonist in the Bond film GoldenEye (1995), Patriot Games (1992), and The Island (2005). He doesn’t die in every film of course, notable ones being the Greek hero Odysseus in Troy (2004), Greek god Zeus in Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (2010), and a king in Mirror Mirror (2012).
But the roles he is most known for are those that attributed to his death-worthy status, both occurring in fantasy novels. In the film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Bean plays Boromir – the only member of the Fellowship to die (after being shot by three arrows in the chest) – , and in the TV series Game of Thrones based on George R.R. Martin’s novel, he plays Ned Stark – the first major character to die after getting beheaded.
Because of Bean’s rough and solitary appearance (and his Yorkshire accent), it is often surprising to see him out of his usual shell like he was in National Treasure (2004), The Martian (2015), and the Silent Hill films. All the same, his many deaths onscreen has prompted the popularity of the hashtag #DontKillSeanBean whenever he has a new project. We hope he’s enjoying the final season of Game of Thrones, seven seasons after Ned’s untimely death, and that enjoys another blessed birthday.
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