Father was the director of the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology).
Majored in mathematics when he entered college, but decided to pursue drama after appearing in a play.
Did graduate work in English literature and dramatics at the University of Minnesota.
Early theatrical training was in classical drama, including Shakespeare.
First notable work on screen was a small part in West Side Story (1961).
Received an Oscar nomination for Prelude (1968), a short he wrote, produced, directed and starred in.
Taught theater at Johns Hopkins University.
Is a Buddhist and a vegetarian.
1968, Oscar — Best Short Subject (Live Action): Nominee
Thomas Astin — Son
Mackenzie Astin — Son
Margaret Linnie Mackenzie — Mother
Valerie Ann Sandobal — Wife
Dr. Allen V. Astin — Father
Suzanne Hahn — Ex-wife
Allen Astin — Son
Patty Duke — Ex-wife
Sean Astin — Son
David Astin — Son
Attended Washington & Jefferson College, Washington, Pennsylvania, United States; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, United States (BA in Drama, 1952); attended the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States