Martin Sheen regrets changing his name from Ramon Estévez

The West Wing star is delighted he was able to convince his son Emilio Estévez not to change his name.

When Martin Sheen began an acting career in the early 1960s, he made a crucial decision that would accompany him for the rest of his life. The then-young actor, who was raised by a Spanish father and Irish mother, decided to give up his first name Ramon Estévez and use the stage name Martin Sheen to get more work.

The move paid off as Sheen was able to build a highly successful acting career that has included roles in films such as Apocalypse Now and iconic TV characters such as President Jed Bartlet in The West Wing and Robert Hanson in Grace and Frankie. And the actor is still going strong at 81 as he’s preparing to star alongside his son Charlie in Entourage creator Doug Ellin’s new show Ramble On.

Still, when he looks back on his eventful career, Sheen has some regrets. In a new interview with Closer Weekly, the actor revealed that he wishes he had pursued an acting career under his original name.

“That’s one of my regrets,” Sheen said. “I never officially changed my name. My birth certificate still says Ramon Estévez. It’s on my marriage certificate, my passport, my driver’s license. Sometimes if you don’t have enough insight or even enough courage to stand up for what you believe in, you can be persuaded and end up paying for it later. But of course I only speak for myself.”

All of Sheen’s children have pursued acting careers, and he advised them to keep their Spanish names. Some, like Emilio Estévez, took their father’s advice. But others, like Charlie Sheen, are known to have followed in his footsteps and adopted his stage name. While Sheen acknowledges that everyone is free to make their own choices in life, he is thankful that his son Emilio didn’t change his last name to Sheen.

“The only influence I had on Emilio was keeping his name,” he said. “When he first started, his agent advised him to change his name to Sheen, and he didn’t do it. And I thank God he didn’t.”

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Lindsay Lowe

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