Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez (born August 3, 1940), better known by his Stage Name
as Martin Sheen, is an acclaimed American actor, best known for his portrayal of President Jed Bartlet on The West Wing
, which earned him several Emmy nominations, a Golden Globe, and two SAG Awards. He has one Emmy, for, of all things, a guest appearance on Murphy Brown
in the early 1990s.
Prior to The West Wing
, Sheen had a lengthy career in film and television, with his most famous role undoubtedly being the lead in Apocalypse Now
. Other notable parts include The Subject Was Roses
, The American President
(an earlier Aaron Sorkin
work where he played the White House Chief of Staff character instead of the President) and The Departed
. He also voices (and supplies the appearance of
) The Illusive Man of the Mass Effect
series. Most recently he played Uncle Ben in The Amazing Spider-Man
reboot. He will also reportedly be in the sequel out next year despite, you know, Uncle Ben being dead.
Sheen is also known as the father of a number of other actors, most notably Charlie Sheen
(who, alone of his siblings, makes use of his father's stage surname) and Emilio Estevez
. He has appeared with his children in a couple of films, most notably as Charlie's father in Wall Street
and starred in The Way
which is directed by Emilio. His daughter Renee Estevez has a recurring minor role on The West Wing
as the president's secretary.
He's well known for putting on jackets by flipping them back over his head, the result of his left arm being partially paralyzed after it was damaged by forceps during his birth.
Tropes related to Martin Sheen:
- Celebrity Resemblance: in Badlands with Alain Delon young and James Dean, which is lampshaded.
- John F. Kennedy: Is one of a couple actors to have played both John (in the miniseries Kennedy) and Robert (In the TV movie The Missiles of October) Kennedy.
- Life Imitates Art: Averted; despite repeated entreaties, he has turned down attempts to get him to run for public office in Real Life, saying that despite playing one on TV, he really doesn't have the experience for that sort of thing. Though this hasn't stopped him from being a prominent pro-life liberal activist.
- Sheen specifically rejected the idea of becoming President as he is a pacifist and thus sees himself as unsuited to being Commander-In-Chief.
- Playing Against Type: These days, he usually portrays father-figures, mentors, or morally-upstanding politicians. But his best known role aside from The West Wing is as Captain Benjamin Willard in Apocalypse Now - a morally conflicted assassin with nihilist tendencies working form Army Intelligence during the Vietnam War. Other exceptions include:
- In the Mass Effect series he plays the scheming Magnificent Bastard, The Illusive Man, head of the pro-human terrorist organization known as Cerberus. Sheen maintains that The Illusive Man is untrustworthy and a horrible human being. If only he knew...
- His signature role gets inverted in hindsight in the 1983 film The Dead Zone, were he plays a trigger-happy American President whose destiny is to doom the world after an unnecessary nuclear strike. It's worth pointing out that The West Wing includes on rare occassion similar tendencies, but in the end he tends to remain reasonable.
- Not to mention his character in Terrence Malick's Badlands, a sociopath who was also a Sympathetic Murderer.
- Plays against his "father figure" character type in the TV series "Anger Management" by playing Martin Goodson, a distant, uninvolved father who got back in his son's life because he didn't want to be alone after divorcing his current wife and none of his other kids wanted anything to do with him.
- Named After Somebody Famous: His stage name is a tribute to Bishop Fulton J. Sheen.
- Real-Life Relative: Has made numerous appearances in his children's projects.