Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez, known professionally as Martin Sheen, is a Hollywood veteran in every sense of the word, having worked in the industry since 1961. As early as 1969 Sheen had enough influence to be nominated for the Golden Globe Award as best supporting actor in a feature film for his role in The Subject Was Roses (1968). He subsequently received over 45 nominations for prestigious awards, of which he won no less than 20.
From the short report mentioned above, anyone can easily deduce what a brilliant reputation the star enjoys in the industry and in general, which could give the impression that he has been involved with it all these years. So in this article, we give you a boundless account of Martin, including the glamorous, the not so glamorous and other aspects of his life and career.
Martin Sheen’s Fact Card
Martin Sheen’s Challenged But Inspiring Childhood
On August 3, 1940, a pint-sized baby named Ramon Antonio Gerardo Estevez was born in Dayton, Ohio. This baby turned into the man Martin Sheen we know today. He was the seventh of his parents’ twelve children, two of whom died in childbirth. His father Francisco Estevez came from Spain and his mother Mary-Ann (née Phelan) from Ireland. So both parents of Martin were immigrants. His father was a factory worker at the NCR Corporation (then known as the National Cash Register Company) in Daytona, Ohio. Before Martin was born, the family lived on the island of Bermuda off the coast of North Carolina.
At Martin’s birth, an accident occurred that resulted in his small left arm being crushed by a pair of pliers. So he grew up with a partially paralyzed left arm, which is a few centimeters shorter than the right arm. As he got a little older, he again suffered a seizure of polio, which tied him to the bed for a year. He would have died (or at best permanently paralyzed) because of this polio attack, but because of his doctor’s use of Nurse Kenny’s method, which was considered controversial at the time.
Martin Sheen was only 11 years old when his mother died in 1951. As you should know, this was a very traumatic experience for Martin and his entire family. In fact, her father considered the possibility of placing her in various foster families, but for a timely intervention by the local Holy Trinity Catholic Church (Dayton), who took over the care of the children. In this way, Martin and his siblings were raised under strict discipline by priests and nuns. Finally, Martin went through the Chaminade Julienne Catholic University in Dayton.
How Did He Go Into Acting?
Martin Sheen’s interest in acting became known during his school days. He decided to act professionally in addition to his role in high school theater productions, but his father wouldn’t let him. Instead, his father wanted him to go to college after high school as soon as his time in high school was over. In an interview, Martin confessed that he had intentionally failed the college entrance exam to pursue his passion. Again, when his father still refused to encourage him to pursue acting, Sheen borrowed money from a priest in his parish to enable him to move to New York to pursue his acting career.
In New York Martin Sheen worked on several menial jobs to survive. He enrolled for his first successful audition in a hotel where he worked as a janitor. This is how he came into contact with the Catholic social activist/journalist Dorothy Day. This is how he began working with Day’s Catholic labor movement on a pro bono basis. But it was only through his service there that his acting career received a professional boost.
Many years later, in 1996, Sheen was to play Peter Maurin, the founder of the Catholic Labour Movement, in the independent film Entertaining Angels by Day: The Story of Dorothy Day. However, Sheen’s career would never have flourished if he hadn’t changed his name. His long legal name, by his own admission, made it difficult for him to get jobs, apparently because it was difficult for the average English speaker to pronounce. Therefore he created the name “Martin Sheen” as a tribute to two men he respected – Robert Dale Martin and Fulton John Sheen.
Robert Dale Martin was the CBS casting director to whom Martin Sheen owes his first major breakthrough in the industry. Fulton John Sheen was a Catholic Archbishop at the time, who also worked as a television preacher, which Martin Sheen found very inspiring. He testifies that although the change of professional name worked, he still uses ‘Estevez’ in his legal documents. He also admits that he regrets how his new name has taken over his real name.
Did You Know Martin Sheen Isn’t The Only Actor in His Family?
Martin Sheen has had a long and successful career since 1961, a career that cannot even be finished in several volumes of his biography. Perhaps best known for his portrayal of President Josiah Bartlet in the NBC political drama series The West Wing between 1999 and 2006, he first came into the limelight when he caught the attention of those who still refused to acknowledge his acting abilities in the role of Timmy Cleary in The Subject Was Rose of 1968.
Another role for which he is remembered is that of Captain Benjamin in the epic war movie Apocalypse Now from 1999. It would be very difficult to combine Martin Sheen’s success as an actor with just a few roles. He is phenomenal and very versatile in playing all kinds of roles. Moreover, he is so passionate about his profession that he can pursue it in his family, as both his siblings and all his children are actors.
During the shooting of “Apocalypse Now” Sheen suffered a heart attack and his brother Joe Estevez, who is also an actor, had to represent him in several shots and voice-overs. When Sheen recovered from the seizure, he stopped taking drugs and reduced his alcohol consumption. Oh yes! You heard it; he was once an alcoholic and drug addict.
What Do We Know About His Wife and Children?
The actor is happily married to Janet Templeton, and they have been together since December 1961. Just like Martin, his wife is in show business. She is a professional actress and producer, best known for her role in the 1983 American-British television series Kennedy. She is believed to have been the executive producer of the 2010 drama The Way, written and directed by her son Emilio Estevez, but it is also known that she was an associate producer of the 1989 comedy film Beverly Hills Brats.
Martin and Janet first met while studying art at the New York New School for Social Research. Together they have four children: their three sons Charlie Sheen, Ramon Estevez, and Emilio Estevez. Their fourth child and only daughter, Renee Estevez, was born on April 2, 1976. All of his children have also followed the same career path as their parents, establishing themselves in the American entertainment industry. Interestingly, Martin and his children have starred in several films, including Wall Street, No Code of Conduct, The War at Home and West Wing.