Veteran American actor Martin Sheen has revealed that changing his name is something he “regrets” and “later paid for”.
The star of White House TV drama The West Wing, in which he played Democratic President Jed Bartlet, says he never legally changed it and simply adopted it as his stage name.
His real name is Ramon Estevez.
“It’s still Ramon Estevez on my birth certificate,” he said in an interview with Closer Weekly.
“I never changed my name officially. It’s on my marriage license, my passport, my driver’s license.”
Sheen, who was also in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 war film Apocalypse Now, said he lacked “perception” before making the switch.
“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,” he told the magazine.
“But, of course, I only speak for myself.”
His son Emilio Estevez – also an actor – who starred in The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire and The Outsiders, did not follow his father’s lead.
Martin Sheen commented: “The only influence I had on Emilio was keeping his name.
“When he started, his agent was advising him to change his name to Sheen and he didn’t. And I thank God he didn’t.”
Sheen is also the father of Two And A Half Men star Charlie Sheen, 56, real name Carlos Estevez.
Looking back on his time on The West Wing, Sheen said he gets letters from “people who are just finding out.”
He added: “Many young people have been inspired to enter public life because of this.”
Sheen’s father didn’t want him to go into show business.
“You can’t blame him,” he said. “Both my parents were immigrants. My father was Spanish and my mother Irish. My real name is Ramon Estevez.
“My dad was very pragmatic. He was a laborer for most of his adult life, and he wanted me to go to college and improve my chances of earning better than him. very, very painful confrontations over this.”
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