Michael Tell: Breaking Down the Complex Relationship Between Sean Astin & His Father

Michael Tell: Breaking Down the Complex Relationship Between Sean Astin & His Father
Michael Tell: Breaking Down the Complex Relationship Between Sean Astin & His Father

Michael Tell, an American rock promoter, gained fame as the former husband of the late American actress Patty Duke. Their marriage in the early ’70s captured headlines, but they soon went their separate ways shortly after exchanging vows. Despite many years passing since their split, Duke’s admirers remain intrigued by Michael and his connection to the beloved actress.

Another factor that has intrigued people for decades is Tell’s connection to renowned actor, Sean Astin. Tell is in fact Astin’s father, however, there is a perplexing yet captivating story behind this. So, let’s explore the life of Michael Tell and detail his illusive relationship with his son, Sean Astin.

Who Is Michael Tell?

Michel Tell and Patty Duke

Michael Tell is still alive today, but he has opted for a quiet life away from the public eye after retiring as a music producer. With no presence on social media, information about him is scarce and pictures are hard to come by. His brief time in the limelight was primarily due to his tumultuous relationship with Patty Duke, with whom he was married for just 13 days. The whirlwind marriage took place on June 26, 1970, with Patty marrying her former subletter in a manic state, according People. Regretting her impulsive decision, the marriage was annulled less than two weeks later on July 9. Since then, little has been known about Michael as he has chosen to lead a private and quiet existence. However, to this day, his complicated relationship with Sean Astin is still talked about.

Dissecting the Complex Relationship Between Michael Tell and Sean Astin

Sean Astin in The Goonies (1985)

Sean Astin was born on February 25, 1971, little than a year after Patty Duke and Michael Tell’s marriage ended. For years, many of Duke’s fans believed that Michael was Sean’s father. Patty did, however, also have connections with a few other men at the same time. With that said, there was uncertainty regarding Sean’s biological father. Eventually, Patty concluded that her baby boy was fathered by Oscar-nominated actor John Astin. However, for a while, John and Patty kept their relationship a secret because he was married at the time and reportedly engaging in an affair. Then, in 1972, following the dissolution of his marriage to Suzanne Hahn, John wed Patty.

Sean Astin became a big star in the 80s which carried over into the early 90s thanks to roles in classic movies like The Goonies, California Man, and Rudy. As his name continued to ascend in Hollywood, so did the gossip around who his biological father really is. At the age of 14, during the peak of his fame, Sean’s mother Patty Duke claimed that Desi Arnaz Jr. was in fact his biological father. As a result of this, Sean improved his relationship with Arnaz . However, when Sean was about 26 years old, he ran into a relative of Michael Tell who claimed they were related in some way. This set off a journey for Astin to once and for all find out who his real father was.

In 2001, Astin had DNA tests done on himself and the three potential fathers. To that, Michael Tell was revealed to be his biological father. When speaking with People shortly after results became public knowledge, Astin said “If you want to know who I am, John Astin is my father, Michael Tell is my biological father.” 

Are Sean Astin and Michael Still Close After Tell and Patty Duke Split?

Michael Tell and Sean Astin

Patty Duke and John Astin divorced in 1985 and the split was reportedly very amicable. As a result, their family unit was still very much intact, meaning John was around for Sean’s teenage years. As mentioned, Sean considers John his father as he is the man who raised him. Since it was revealed that Tell was Astin’s biological father, the two have only been photographed together once. Furthermore, with Tell now living a quiet life in Las Vegas away from the glitz and glamour of the Hollywood limelight, it’s difficult to determine if the two have formed any kind of a bond.

Astin’s mother Patty Duke sadly died of sepsis on March 29, 2016. She was 69 years of age. As of the time of writing, John Astin is still alive and well at 93 years of age. In terms of Sean Astin’s Hollywood career, after a slowdown in the mid 2000s, he was propelled back into the spotlight when he joined Season 2 of the smash hit show, Stranger Things. Want to read more about Astin? Here’s our pick of his top 5 movie roles.

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