He dropped out of acting in 1966 when his family moved to Harbor City, California, where he finished elementary school. He was a top creative writing and cinematography student at Alexander Fleming Junior High, and attended the 10th grade at Narbonne High School, where he wrote for the school literary magazine and newspaper.
During the summer of 1973, he left home at age 14 after a family dispute and spent three months living on his own as a street kid in Hollywood. He supported himself by selling box lunches at movie studios, and during that time answered an open casting call at NBC's Burbank studios for a new television show called "Apple's Way." He landed the role of a recurring character named "Barry Steele," and used, for the first time, the acting name of "Sean Simmons" due to the fact he had been reported as a runaway to police. He had appeared in eight episodes of the series when, due to payroll tax information being sent to his parents' address, he was forced to return home by authorities. Later that year, he moved with his family to the high desert community of Lancaster. He decided at that time to keep the name "Sean" as his legal first name.
During his remaining two years of secondary education at Antelope Valley High School, he appeared in every school drama production, was twice editor of the school literary magazine, was sports and features editor for the school newspaper (which won honors in both years as the state's top student publication), won first place in the California state student poetry competition in 1976 and authored the Class Motto for his graduating class. He also had a small role in an episode of "The Rockford Files" in 1975.
In 1982 he left journalism to get he A.A. degree in language arts at Antelope Valley College, graduating second in his class, and worked as a substitute teacher, college remedial English and English as a Second Language instructor and foreign language tutor in California and Oregon through 1987. When he returned to Southern California, he got a featured role in the children's film "Mac and Me," which earned him Screen Actors' Guild membership.
He decided to study screenwriting at the Hollywood Scriptwriting Academy, sponsored by New World Cinema, and was one of six student/staff scriptwriters which developed the popular television show "The Wonder Years," writing three scripts for the series' first year, including the pilot episode which won an Emmy award. However, the only substantial income he received that year in the entertainment field came from appearing on TV game shows, and in 1988 he returned first to teaching and then worked full-time as a congressional district coordinator in the Democratic presidential campaign.
During the first six months of 1989, he worked and lived in San Jose, Costa Rica as an English Instructor and volunteered at the Friends (Quaker) Peace Center there. When he returned to the U.S., he decided to finish his bachelor's degree. He spent a year at California State University-Bakersfield as a European Languages/Latin American Studies major and active volunteer with the United Farmworkers Family Literacy Program.
He then transfered to Southern Oregon State College in Ashland, Oregon, where he received a double B.A. in Communications and Health & Physical Education in 1994. For his senior project, he spent the summer attending Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, where he fell in love with the country, people and culture, and also felt moved to help fight some of the social problems caused by poverty there. He has since traveled to Thailand an average of two times per year, founded or co-founded four non-governmental charity groups, including The CAPCAT Project and English for E-san, and has organized several international conferences.
With his return full time to Ashland in 1998, he decided to dust off some old projects and old scripts. The project to film the Stephen King short story "Stud City" began in 1991 and the television show featured in it, "Captain Carl Stormer & His Country Buckaroos," was completed with Sean playing the title role. However, the project was ultimately side-tracked due to the illness and death of his father that year. An attempt to resurrect the project in 1994 failed for lack of time due to his new commitments to volunteer projects in Asia.
The work to finish the filming of "Stud City" has spawned the idea to create a new weekly television series called "Night Moves, using "Stud City" as the pilot episode. Sean is set to direct two more episodes for that project based on stories and scripts that he wrote: "The Mind's Eye," about an abused boy who fights back using telekenetic powers, and "Blessed Be," about a young girl who finds hope in the memory of her dead grandfather as she faces the prospect of losing her father to cancer. He will also appear in a supporting role in another episode which he wrote, "The System," about a pulp crime novelist who creates characters by borrowing from the lives of those around him.
Sean Parlaman hopes to complete his first feature film in 2002, a Vietnam Conflict-era mystery set in Thailand called "Flesh and Fire," a story adapted in part from the award-winning Joseph Caldwell novel "In Such Dark Places." He has three original scripts in development: "Victim of Circumstance," a police drama set in Portland, Oregon; "Fast Track," a romatic comedy set in Tacoma, Washington; and "Crusaders," a dystopian view of life in a future America governed by right-wing fundamentalists.
In Ashland, he owns and operates an international communications company which provides web page design and desktop publishing services for small businesses and non-profit organizations. He also works as a regional student placement coordinator for international student exchanges, and organizes international educational and athletic exchanges. His main hobby is the martial arts. He holds a Red Belt rank after seven years' study of Tae Kwon Do and plans to test for his Black Belt in 2001, and is also an intermediate Karate student Ashland Champion Karate (Chun Kuk Do/U.F.A.F.) where he is an assistant instructor in the children's program.