Several actors have changed their ethnic names to more English-sounding names to make it in Hollywood. Some of these performers include Anthony Quinn, Rita Hayworth, Raquel Welch, Steven Bauer, and several others.
Legendary actor Martin Sheen is also among the lot. The actor was born Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez but changed his name to Sheen when he got into Hollywood. The “American President” actor’s name is still Gerardo in his official documents, despite being widely known as Sheen.
In a recent interview, the 81-year-old admitted that he regretted making the decision and encouraged his children, who were in show business, to keep their given names as actors. Looking back at the time, Sheen said that he was “persuaded” to make the decision and agreed because he didn’t have “enough insight or even enough courage” to go against the decision.
Martin Sheen Said He Regretted Changing His Name
Sheen regrets giving up his birth name for a more anglicized stage name for show business. The iconic actor appeared in an interview with Closer Weekly and shed some light on what brought about the decision.
According to Sheen, he’d never officially changed his name, and Ramon Estévez was still on all his official documents. He said, “That’s one of my regrets. 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 license.”
The 81-year-old continued, “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 Didn’t Know His Children Wanted To Act
Further on in the interview, the actor revealed that when he found out that his children wanted to get into Hollywood, he made sure not to stand in their way. The actor admitted that he initially wasn’t aware of their interests until finding himself on the same set as his son, Emilio Estévez.
“I honestly have to say I wasn’t aware of it,” Sheen said. “I was so self-involved and trying to be a provider that I wasn’t aware of their inclination to being actors.” He recalled when he was on set for a show, and Emilio showed up. “I thought he was there to visit me, but he’d gotten a part in the same show,” he said.
Sheen revealed that the only impact and influence he had on his son was to ensure that he kept his name while getting into the business. “When he started out,” the 81-year-old said. “His agent was advising him to change his name to Sheen, and he wouldn’t do it. I thank God he didn’t.”
His other son, Ramon Estévez, and daughter Renée Pilar Estévez took the same advice not to change their names. “Two And A Half Men” star Charlie Sheen, born Carlos Irwin Estévez, however, followed the footsteps of his father and changed his name.
Martin Sheen On Working With His Son
Besides their impromptu on-set meeting, Sheen worked with his son Emilio on his 2010 dramatic comedy film, “The Way.” The actor revealed that the movie gave him “the deepest gratitude and satisfaction” despite his previous movie roles.
He recalled, “‘We made it in Spain about the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela and dedicated it to my father, who was from Galicia. It was written, directed, and starred by my son Emilio Estevez. It is the best thing I’ve ever done. Thousands of people have seen the film and been inspired to do the pilgrimage. That is a great source of satisfaction and pride.”
Sheen also discussed his time as President Josiah Bartlet on “The West Wing.” The acclaimed series ran from 1999 to 2006. He revealed that everyone on set treated each other with “respect, passion and, above all, joy.” “I still get letters from people who are just discovering it, and a lot of young people were inspired to go into public life because of it. The blessings were just endless with that show, and they’re still coming,” he said.
Sheen’s Parents Discouraged Him From Going Into Hollywood
Sheen revealed that despite his desire to be an actor, his father initially tried to dissuade him from getting an acting career. According to the Ohio native, this stemmed from the fact that his parents were immigrants and his father was a factory worker.
“You couldn’t blame him,” the veteran actor said. “Both my parents were immigrants. My father was from Spain, and my mother was from Ireland… My father was very practical. He was a factory worker for most of his adult life, and he wanted me to go to college and improve my chances of making a better living than he did.” Sheen added that he and his father had some “very, very painful” confrontations concerning the issue.