Martin Sheen Opens Up About His Biggest Career Regret


Martin SheenHe is a Hollywood legend. He’s been nominated for 12 Emmy Awards (winning one), and starred in the all-time classic Apocalypse Now. Sheen’s opening up about his biggest career regret and it’s a doozy.

Martin Sheen’s Humble Beginnings

Sheen was the son of immigrant parents. He was born in 1940 and grew up in Ohio, Bermuda and California. His father was an industrial worker. Sheen’s early days were beset by tragedy and hardship. His arm was crushed during childbirth resulting in Erb’s palsy. His bout with Polio left him in bed soon. The death of his mother, Sheen, at the age of 11 nearly forced them into foster homes.

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Sheen and his five siblings were able, through the Catholic Church, to remain together. He began acting as a hobby at an early age. He deliberately failed his entrance exams in order to pursue his passion. Sheen was inspired by James Dean and started his acting career with a theatre company in 1960s.

What’s In A Name?

Of course, he wasn’t born Martin Sheen. His real name is Ramón Estévez. His new name was created by merging the names of Fulton Sheen, televangelist, and Robert Dale Martin, CBS director who gave his big break. It wasn’t an easy choice, but the DepartedStar felt that his name was causing him to lose work. 

Interview with (2005) The GuardianSheen explained why Sheen changed his name. “It’s difficult enough trying to get started as an actor, and my name kept throwing people—they couldn’t pronounce it. I thought, ‘I’ve got enough problems, I can’t be bogged down with this name.’” Sheen never changed his government name, so he’s officially Ramón Estévez on his license and passport.

His One Big Mistake

Sheen is now in his 80s Looking back on his long career. His two names are still alive in his two successful children: Emilio Estévez and Charlie Sheen. Interview with CloserHe says that Emilio’s main influence was his insistence on keeping his last name. “When he started out, his agent was advising him to change his name to Sheen and he wouldn’t do it. And I thank God he didn’t.”

The West Wing star is then asked if he’s sorry he changed his name. “That’s one of my regrets,” Sheen says. “Sometimes you get persuaded when you don’t have enough insight or even enough courage to stand up for what you believe in, and you pay for it later.”It seems like Sheen would stick to his birth name if he had to do it again.

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