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Martin Sheen: 1940—: Actor, Activist

An Acting Dynasty

Unlike many celebrities, Sheen and his wife Janet have been happily married for four decades. Three of their children, Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez, and Renee Estevez, are actors; son Ramon is both an actor and a songwriter. Like his father, Charlie Sheen has had a much publicized struggle with alcohol and drugs. According to acquaintances, Martin felt a strong sense of responsibility for his son's problems, feeling that he was not there for his son growing up and gave Charlie too many material things. Martin has taken a "tough-love" approach to Charlie's problems. He called on Charlie's fellow actors Rob Lowe and Clint Eastwood to participate in a confrontation demanding that Charlie straighten up. Sheen stated in The New York Times, "Pray for my boy, he has appetites that get him into trouble." Finally he alerted authorities that Charlie had broken the terms of his probation by using drugs. Charlie then attended a rehabilitation center, which has helped him stay sober.

Martin Sheen has appeared with his children in film and television. Most notably, Martin directed himself and sons Charlie and Ramon in the well-intentioned if heavy-handed Cadence. Charlie plays a young private thrown into the stockade. Martin plays the racist stockade commander. Martin Sheen both directed and acted in the television movie Beverly Hill Brats with son Ramon. His wife Janet was the producer. Martin had a small role parodying Apocalypse Now in Hot Shots Part Deux, which his son Charlie starred in. Martin also guest-starred on Charlie's hit series Spin City. Daughter Renee has a regular role on The West Wing with her father. The head of such a successful acting dynasty is certain to act in many more laudable roles, alone and with his family, and it is certain that his fans will follow him with the avid interest he deserves.

Selected filmography

The Incident, 1967.

The Subject Was Roses, 1968.

The Andersonville Trial, 1970.

Catch-22, 1972.

Badlands, 1974.

Apocalypse Now, 1979.

The Final Countdown, 1980.

Gandhi, 1982.

Firestarter, 1984.

Cadence, 1989.

JFK, 1991.

The American President, 1995.

Spawn, 1997.

Not Another Teen Movie, 2001.

The Confidence Game, 2002.

We the People, 2002.

Catch Me If You Can, 2002.



Current Biography 1977, 38th edition, Moritz, Charles, ed., H.W. Wilson, 1977.

Gale Who's Who in the Theatre, 17th edition, Gale Research, 1981.

Hargrove, Jim, Martin Sheen: Actor and Activist, Children's Press, 1991.

Riley, Lee, and David Schumacher, The Sheens: Martin, Charlie and Emilio Estevez, New York, 1989.

International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses, St. James Press, 1996.

International Motion Picture Almanac 1996 edition, Quigley Publishing Co, 1996.

Sorkin, Aaron, Sheen, Martin, The West Wing, Pocket Books, 2002.


The American Feminist, Spring, 2001.

The Guardian (Manchester), November 2, 2001.

Horizon Magazine, December, 1999.

The New York Times, February 4, 2002.

People, January 5, 2001.

Toronto Sun, March 2, 1999; June 30, 1999.

—Ruth Savitz

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Paul Anthony Samuelson (1915– ) Biography to Bessie Smith (1895–1937) BiographyMartin Sheen: 1940—: Actor, Activist Biography - Proud Of Hispanic Heritage, Heart Of Darkness, Dedicated To Social Causes, An Acting Dynasty