Sean Bean was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England on April 17, 1959. He left school at 16 with "O" levels, in art and English. He worked a variety of jobs, including welding and working at a supermarket, before discovering acting.

Bean won a scholarship to RADA where he was awarded a silver medal in 1983 for his graduation performance in Waiting For Godot. He made his professional debut at the Watermill Theatre (Newbury) as Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet and he has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

He married, and later divorced from, his childhood sweetheart Deborah Anderson, and in 1991 he married actress Melanie Hill, who played Aveline in the Carla Lane comedy Bread. The couple had two daughters Lorna and Molly, and divorced in 1997.

While best known in the USA as villains in films such as Patriot Games, Clarissa and GoldenEye, on British television, Sean has played several romantic leads including the gamekeeper Mellors in Ken Russell's adaptation of Lady Chatterley's Lover for the BBC, and, most notably, Richard Sharpe in the dramas adapted from Bernard Cornwell's Peninsular War novels.

Bean played the tragic Boromir in The Fellowship of the Ring, the first part of Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. He reprised the role in flashback sequences in both its sequels.

He recieved an Honorary Doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University in November 1997 and married his third wife, Abigail Cruttenden, who played Jane Sharpe in the Sharpe television series in the same year. The couple had one daughter Evie Natasha, who was was born in 1998, before divorcing in 2000.


Sean Bean, apart from his most edifying name (non-canonical variants: Shawn Bhawn / Seen Been), is probably the one modern actor who dies at the end of a great many films he has appeared in, whether as a protagonist, antagonist, tragic hero, megalomaniac or just a regular man. His only notable competition is John Hurt, whose on-screen characters also die with alarming frequency—in fact, Hurt's 43 on-screen deaths (prior to his real-life death in 2017) top the list—Bela Lugosi (35) and Vincent Price (33) both have quite a jump on Sean's 25-or-so deaths through the year 2020.

The frequency with which he has been killed onscreen has not been lost on the internet meme scene; for example, when actor James Purefoy was doing a Reddit AMA a year or so ago, he was promoting a new film he was appearing in called Wicked Blood (which, unfortunately, ended up being released straight-to-video). One of the first questions from the Reddit peanut gallery was "So, I see that Sean Bean is in your new movie. How does he die?"

The following is a list of Sean Bean's on-screen deaths, listed chronologically along with the cause of his character's demise. I should probably mention that reading the list below may spoil some of his movies for you, but then, it's Sean Bean. How else do you expect his films to end?

The Many Deaths of Sean Bean

YearFilm/TV titleCause of death
1986CaravaggioThroat cut
1989War RequiemShot and bayonetted
1990Lorna DooneDrowned
1990The FieldChased off a high cliff by stampeding cattle (!)
1991Tell Me That You Love MeStabbed
1992Patriot GamesImpaled on an anchor then exploded
1997Anna KareninaWar casualty (implied)
1995GoldenEyeCrushed by a falling aerial
2000Essex BoysShot
2001The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingShot with arrows
2001Don't Say A WordBuried alive
2003Henry VIIIHanged
2005The IslandShot and hanged by a grappling hook (!)
2007The HitcherShot
2007Far NorthHypothermia
2008Red Riding: The Year of Our Lord, 1974Shot
2010Black DeathDrawn and quartered while suffering from bubonic plague
"Victory is mine! Hah!" *horses neigh*
2010Death Race 2Shot
2011Game of ThronesBeheaded on false pretenses
2011Age of HeroesShot
2012Silent Hill: RevelationBifurcated
2014Wicked BloodBlown up along with a meth lab
2015The Frankenstein Chronicles: Lost and FoundHanged
2016Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XVLost a fight to the death (voice only)

If this list seems incomplete, try Cinemorgue (for the full list).

I've a strong feeling that we haven't seen the last of Sean Bean dying on-screen. Watch this space as I catalogue his various deaths. Note that about in about a third of the films listed above, his characters die by being shot. I'll go ahead and chalk this up to uncreative screenwriters.

Don't get me wrong. Sean Bean is a fine actor. He just seems to be cast in a whole lot of roles where he's playing a doomed character, possibly approaching the death numbers that career stunt performers have achieved on-screen, which is no mean feat for an actor who by and large doesn't do his own stunts. But that's Hollywood!... or Pinewood Studios.

Update 2019: Sean Bean has apparently had enough of being a meme! He stated in September 2019 that he'll no longer accept roles in which his character is destined for the wrong end of some deadly weapon following a campaign on Twitter in which the hashtag #DontKillSeanBean made quite the rounds. BoredPanda has the story.

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