Emilio Estevez Shares The ‘One Thing’ His Dad Martin Sheen Still Regrets About His Career

Jun 02, 2023 by apost team

Martin Sheen has been a critical figure in the entertainment industry since the late 1960s, and he's graced both the big and small screens ever since. He got his start in films before quickly picking up more roles in various television series. Some of his most notable roles include “The Subject Was Roses" and “Apocalypse Now.” Martin is currently still a working actor, and one of his most recent projects is the Netflix series “Grace and Frankie.”

Martin’s birth name is Ramon Antonio Gerardo Estevez — something that he chose not to go by when he became a professional in entertainment. He struggled to get jobs with his birth name, so he opted for a name that didn’t reveal much about his race or ethnicity. Over the course of his career, Martin has been lucky enough to show off his vast array of talents and seems to have passed them down to his children.

His sons — Charlie SheenRamon Estevez, Renee Estevez and Emilio Estevez — have all made careers for themselves in the entertainment industry, just like their father. Although they have gone about their respective careers in different ways, each child has grown into their own and made a name for themselves.

While Charlie’s career was littered with scandals, it seems like the star’s life has since settled down. Emilio, on the other hand, stuck by his roots, keeping his name as he persevered through the struggles of becoming an actor in an ever-changing industry. Both Emilio and his father opened up about their names in the dual-memoir “Along the Way: The Journey of a Father and Son,” which the father and son co-wrote.

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Martin Sheen (1979), (Daniel SIMON/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Emilio was born on May 12, 1962, in New York City and currently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. After deciding not to go to college, Emilio set his sights on making a career out of acting and opted to keep his birth name when he first ventured into the industry.

However, it took some time before Emilio was sure about his decision. In the memoir he wrote with his father, Martin, Emilio explained how he used his father’s stage name for his first batch of headshots. 

“Agents and managers who’d expressed an interest in me had encouraged me to use Sheen because it would make their jobs easier if they could introduce me as Martin’s son … I figured that maybe a non-Hispanic, already-known surname would give me an edge,” Emilio wrote.

But when he received his headshots with Emilio Sheen written in the bottom right corner of the photo, the up-and-coming actor had second thoughts.

“My Latin first name bumped up against my father’s chosen name Sheen in an obvious, dissonant way,” Emilio explained.

Emilio consulted his parents, showing the headshot and name to both his mother and father. Although it was Martin’s choice to go by a stage name, he told his son that he ultimately regretted not sticking with his Hispanic roots, so he told his son to reconsider.

“One of the biggest disappointments I have is that I don’t own the name that I use,” Martin told his son, according to their memoir. “It belongs to a fantasy … So many Hispanics are starting to rise up … You can be a part of that movement.”

In the end, Emilio decided to follow his own path and kept his given name.


Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez (1987), (Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Starring in movies like “The Outsiders” and “The Breakfast Club,” it was no surprise that Emilio had a bright future ahead of him in various movie genres. He had the looks, talent, and connections needed to make it big. During an interview with Vanity Fair in March 2021, Emilio talked more about how he remained so successful throughout his career by rebranding himself and following his true passions. “I didn’t get into this business to be rich or famous,” he said. “I got into this business because I love moviemaking.” 

Some of Emilio’s most recent work includes “The Public” in 2018 and “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers,” which was released in early 2021. While this is undoubtedly similar to his father’s path, Martin grew up in a distinctly different time and place, which likely influenced his decision to change his name.

Martin was born on Aug. 3, 1940, in Dayton, Ohio. After graduating from Chaminade High School, a world full of opportunities opened in front of Martin’s eyes. Although his father did not approve of his dream to become an actor, Martin borrowed some money from a priest and made the decision to move to New York City to try and make it in show business. 

At some point, while trying to make it as an actor, Martin adopted his stage name, pulling inspiration from CBS casting director Robert Dale Martin and televangelist Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. The new name prevented people from knowing Martin’s ethnicity, as his father was Spanish and his mother was Irish. Although he goes by his stage name, he never officially changed it, meaning his legal name is still the one he was given at birth. 

Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez (2011), (Mathew Imaging/WireImage via Getty Images)

In an interview with Closer Weekly, Martin said he wished he’d done things differently when it came to his name.

“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,” he said. 

He added: “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.”

As it turned out, Martin’s experience with his name change did serve as a lesson he could pass on to his son. “The only influence I had on Emilio was to keep his name,” he 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.”

During an interview with Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager, Emilio talked about Martin’s regret in changing his stage name in 1958 and said:

"I think when it was time for me to sort of start making those moves and start getting out and doing auditions, he said, 'Man, if I had one thing to do over, it was that I never would have changed my name.'"

To honor what his father had always wanted, Emilio used Martin’s real name in the credits for the re-release of their 2010 film, “The Way.” “So, as executive producer, it says: Ramón Gerard Estévez,” Emilio shared. The movie was released in select theaters in mid-May 2023.

It’s heartwarming that Martin was finally able to see his real name on the big screen, all thanks to the love of his son.

Did you know Martin Sheen didn’t use his real name for his stage name? Are you a fan of his or his sons’ films and TV shows? Let us know, and pass this along to friends and family, too.

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