West Wing and Apocalyse Now star Martin Sheen has spoken out about his one great regret in a long acting career.
Sheen, now 81, said he regretted taking on a stage name as he started out in show business decades ago.
Sheen was born Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez, the son of a Spanish father and an Irish mother. The name change was unveiled for a New York production of Hamlet in 1968.
“That’s one of my regrets,” he told Closer Weekly this week.
“I never changed my name officially. It’s still Ramon Estévez on my birth certificate. It’s on my marriage license, my passport, driver’s licence.
“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. But, of course, I’m only speaking for myself.”
Sheen later persuaded his actor son Emilio Estévez to keep his own birth name when he also went into acting.
“The only influence I had on Emilio was to keep his name,” Sheen said.
“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.”
But Estévez’s younger brother, Carlos, did go down the name-change route – he became actor Charlie Sheen.
Martin Sheen said he almost didn’t realise his sons were also actors until he “was doing a show one time, and Emilio showed up. I thought he was there to visit me, but he’d gotten a part in the same show”.
“I was so self-involved and trying to be a provider that I wasn’t aware of their inclination to being actors,” he said.
Sheen’s namesake third son, Ramon Estévez, also kept his Spanish-influenced name. Another former actor, Ramon is now involved in the family’s Warner Bros-affiliated production company, Estévez Sheen Productions.
Daughter Renee Estévez, the youngest child of Martin Sheen and his artist wife Janet, is also a former actor and a screenwriter.
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