Sean Astin Pays a Visit to the U

c1dx0773 Greyson Harness

Sean Astin, actor, activist and runner, addressed U students and the public in the Union ballroom Tuesday night. He spoke about his experience as a college student, acting life, his family and what it means to have balance in one’s life.

“If you want to find balance, know who you are. You have to know what you want. Sometimes balance means hustling your butt off. Sometimes it means being quiet—being still,” said Astin.

Astin has had to learn the balancing act throughout his life. He is the father of three daughters, works as an actor and activist, and will run his 13th marathon in New York City—not to mention training for and completing his first triathlon in Hawaii.

He noted a typical day of feeding his daughter when she was a baby, reviewing his scenes for a movie, emailing his executive producer and at the same time speaking to a travel agent on the phone about booking a flight to Honolulu, where he would meet with the Army as a civilian aid—a balancing act.

“Doing what you’re doing while you’re doing it is really important. Have a sense of yourself, who you are, what you like, what you want. […] Have a world view and know what your relationship is to the rest of the world,” said Astin.

He also spoke of his mother, the late actress Patty Duke, who taught him valuable life lessons.

“One of the things I wish I would’ve known in college—I knew it because my mother told me, but I still didn’t believe it through college—is that you can’t do everything,” said Astin.

Duke was an activist for gay rights throughout her life. When she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1985, she spoke out about her illness. Astin has carried on her legacy by being an activist for mental health.

He also mentioned his role in the movie “50 First Dates” and the importance of falling in love with someone every day.

“When I think of that movie and I think of my wife, I want to hide under a rock because I’m a total failure compared to Adam Sandler,” joked Astin.

Those in attendance listened intently about Astin’s experiences and his emphasis on balance, with the occasional boisterous laughter at his jokes.

“I like his whole idea of running, which is something that calms him down and helps him focus. Finding something like that I think is really important,” said student Rachel Cantrell. “I just want to keep finding that balance–something that calms me down–not say yes to everything.”

Astin has been spending time working on Hillary Clinton’s campaign and travels the country in support of for her in the upcoming election. He spoke about some of his experiences on the campaign trail and how it is something that is important to him. Activism, he said, begins with the little things.

“Care about what you’re doing while you’re doing it,” said Astin. “Live your life with strength and confidence.”

Astin has made appearances at San Diego Comic-Con, has been in many movie and television roles, including his widely-acclaimed role as Samwise Gamgee in the “Lord of the Rings” Trilogy and graduated from UCLA with honors.

r.folland@dailyutahchronicle.com