Birthday: August 3, 1940 Birth
Place: Dayton, Ohio, USA Height: 5' 7"
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Martin Sheen has appeared in a wide variety of films ranging from the embarrassing to the sublime. In addition to appearing in numerous productions on stage, screen, and television, Sheen is the father of a modern dynasty of actors and a tireless activist for social and environmental causes, particularly homelessness. Born Ramon Estevez on August 3, 1940, he was the seventh of ten children of a Spanish immigrant father and an Irish mother. Growing up in Dayton, OH, Sheen wanted to be an actor so badly that he purposely flunked an entrance exam to the University of Dayton so he could start his career instead. With his father's disapproval, he borrowed cash from a local priest and moved to New York in 1959. While continually auditioning for shows, Sheen worked at various odd jobs and changed his name to avoid being typecast in ethnic roles. "Martin" was the name of an agent/friend, while he chose "Sheen" to honor Bishop Fulton J. Sheen; until his early twenties, the actor had been a devoted Catholic. He joined the Actor's Co-op, shared a loft, and with his roommates prepared showcase productions in hopes of attracting agents. For a while he worked backstage at the Living Theater alongside aspiring actor Al Pacino, and it was there that he got his first acting jobs. Around that time, Sheen married, and in 1963 broke into television on East Side West Side; more television would follow in the form of As the World Turns, on which he played the character Roy Sanders for a few years. In 1964, Sheen debuted on Broadway in Never Live Over a Pretzel Factory, and that same year won considerable acclaim for his role in The Subject Was Roses, which in 1968 became a film in which he also starred. After making his feature film debut as a subway punk in The Incident (1967), Sheen moved to Southern California in 1970 with his wife and three children. During the beginning of that decade, he worked most frequently in television, but occasionally appeared in films as a supporting actor or co-lead. His movie career aroused little notice, though, until he played an amoral young killer (based on real life murderer Charles Starkweather) in Terrence Malick's highly regarded directorial debut, Badlands (1973). Further notice came in the mid-'70s, when the actor was cast by Francis Ford Coppola to star in a Vietnam War drama filmed in the Philippines. Two years and innumerable disasters later — including a near-fatal heart attack for Sheen — the actor's most famous film, Apocalypse Now (1979), was complete, and it looked as if he would finally become a major star. Although the film won a number of honors, including a Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival, and Sheen duly gained Hollywood's respect, he never reached the heights of some of his colleagues. This was possibly due to the fact that during the 1970s and 1980s, he appeared in so many mediocre films. However, Sheen turned in memorable performances in such films as Ghandi (1982) — from which the actor donated his wages to charity — and Da (1988), in which he took production and starring credits. He also did notable work in a number of other films, including Wall Street (1987), The American President (1995), and Monument Ave. (1998). In 1999, he could be seen in a number of projects, including Ninth Street and Texas Funeral, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival that year; O, a modern-day adaptation of Othello; and The West Wing, a television series that cast him as the President of the United States (a role for which he would win the Best TV Series Actor in a Drama Award at the 2000 Golden Globe Awards).In 1986, Sheen made his directorial debut with the Emmy-winning made-for-TV movie Babies Having Babies. All three of his sons, Emilio Estevez, Ramon Estevez, and Charlie Sheen (whom he directed in 1991's Cadence), as well as his daughter, Renee Estevez, are movie and television actors. His brother, Joe Estevez, also dabbles in acting.
Father of Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Renée Estevez and Ramon Estevez.
Brother of actor Joe Estevez.
Martin was one of 22 people arrested for crossing over a line established by the Air Force in an anti-militarization protest at California's Vandenberg Air Force base. He was charged with trespassing. [7 October 2000]
Is a strong advocate for the closing of The School Of The Americas, a military base which trains Latin American soldiers (allegedly teaching techniques of torture and political terror). Has been involved in a large protest every year since 1998.
Auditioned for the role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather (1972).
Pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years probation for trespassing at an Air Force base during a protest against the United States building a missile defense system. [27 June 2001]
Publicly credited Carroll O'Connor for helping his son Charlie to get off drugs and back on the right track. He read one of the scriptures at Carroll's funeral.
His mother, Mary Ann Phelan, was an Irish immigrant with IRA connections, and his father, Francisco Estevez, was a Spaniard who came to the U.S. by way of Cuba. Sheen seems to have identified more, at least publicly, with his maternal ethnic heritage. Son Emilio appears to have reversed that trend.
Was considered for the recurring role of Sloan on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (1993).
Stumped in Florida for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Janet Reno in her unsuccessful campaign against sitting Gov. Jeb Bush, June 2002, who also drew major support from Rosie O'Donnell and Elton John.
Has played American Presidents four times; Jed Bartlett on TV series "The West Wing" (1999), in the TV movie Medusa's Child (1997) (TV), as John F. Kennedy in the mini series "Kennedy" (1983) (mini) and as the "future" president (in a premonition) Greg Stilson in The Dead Zone (1983).
His admiration for the Rev. Fulton J. Sheen prompted him to adopt the bishop's name for his acting career.
His left arm is 3" shorter than his right due to complications during his birth.
Is the seventh of ten children
His parents met at citizenship school in Dayton
Was arrested over 70 times mainly for liberal protests.
Along with Steve McQueen and James Dean, is mentioned in R.E.M.'s song "Electrolite".
His father, Francisco Estevez, died shortly before the premiere of "Blind Ambition" (1979) (mini). As he was unable to attend the funeral, Martin mourned his father in the scene in which John Dean cries in his jail cell.
Has memorized and can sing every single Frank Sinatra song.
He can only put his jacket on by flipping it over his head (like Bartlet in "The West Wing" (1999)). His left arm was crushed by forceps when he was born and he has limited lateral movement.
Was nominated for Broadway's 1965 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Dramatic) for "The Subject Was Roses," a role that he recreated in the film version of the same name, The Subject Was Roses (1968).
Due to his commitment to "The West Wing" (1999), was unable to reprise the role of Robert E. Lee in the Gettysburg (1993) prequel, Gods and Generals (2003). The role was instead played by Lee descendant Robert Duvall, who, ironically, starred with Sheen in the popular Vietnam War film Apocalypse Now (1979).
Has played both Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in The Missiles of October (1974) (TV) and President John F. Kennedy in the mini-series "Kennedy" (1983) (mini).
Ranked #5 on Tropopkin's Top 25 Most Intriguing People [Issue #100]
Of all the U.S. presidents he admires Jimmy Carter the most
Is portrayed by James Hayden in The Patricia Neal Story (1981) (TV)
Suffered a severe heart attack while filming Apocalypse Now (1979).
According to friends and family, he is closest to son Charlie than anyone else. Indeed, he and son Charlie often appear together on screen and Martin has even played Charlie's on screen father twice.
Received an honorary doctor of letters degree from Marquette University (2003) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin during the dedication of the school's new library (according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel web site).
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