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.