Brian McGuirk / Flickr.com
  • Faith: Christian - Catholic
  • Career: Actor
  • Birthday:  August 03, 1940

Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez, known professionally as Martin Sheen, is an actor who, in a career spanning 60 years, has received numerous accolades, including three Emmys, a Golden Globe, and four Screen Actors Guild Awards. Sheen rose to fame in his breakthrough roles in Terrence Malick’s crime drama “Badlands” and Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam War drama “Apocalypse Now.” He’s also known for notable films like “Catch-22,” “The Subject Was Roses,” “The California Kid,” “Gandhi,” “Wall Street,” “Gettysburg,” “The American President,” “Catch Me If You Can,” “The Departed,” “Selma,” and “Judas and the Black Messiah.” He also played Uncle Ben in “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

Sheen is also known for playing Robert F. Kennedy in “The Missiles of October,” Eddie Slovik in “The Execution of Private Slovik,” John Dean in “Blind Ambition,” and John F. Kennedy in “Kennedy.” He received the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his role in “Murphy Brown.” He played President Jed Bartlet in “The West Wing,” for which he received six Emmy nominations, and he played Robert Hanson in the Netflix series “Grace and Frankie.”

Born and raised in the United States by an Irish mother and a Spanish father, he adopted the stage name Martin Sheen to help him gain acting parts. He’s the father of four children, all of whom are actors. Sheen directed one movie, “Cadence,” in which he appeared alongside his sons Ramón and Charlie. He’s narrated, produced and directed documentary projects and has been active in liberal politics. Sheen was born in Dayton, Ohio, to Mary-Ann and Francisco Estévez Martínez. Sheen was the seventh of ten children. Sheen contracted polio as a child and had to remain bedridden for a year. His doctor’s treatment using Sister Kenny’s method helped him regain the use of his legs. Sheen’s mother died when he was 11 years old, and the children faced the possibility of living in foster homes or an orphanage.

Fortunately, the family was able to remain together with the assistance of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Dayton. Sheen graduated from Chaminade High School, now Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School. He was drawn to acting at a young age, but his father disapproved of his interest in the field. Despite his father’s opposition, Sheen borrowed money from a Catholic priest and moved to New York City in his early 20s, hoping to make it as an actor. He spent two years in the Living Theatre Company. In New York, he met Catholic activist Dorothy Day and worked with her Catholic Worker Movement.

He started his commitment to social justice and would one day go on to play Peter Maurin, co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, in “Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story.” Sheen purposefully failed the entrance exam for the University of Dayton so he could pursue his acting career.

What religion is Martin Sheen?

Sheen is a Catholic who had his faith restored during conversations in Paris with Terrence Malick, director of Sheen’s breakthrough movie, “Badlands.” In a 1983 interview with The Varsity, he said that he’s a Catholic on a “spiritual level” and that he “couldn’t care less about religion.” He’s also said that he believes in reincarnation and is a supporter of the Catholic Worker movement.

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