Renowned for his remarkable acting prowess, the thespian first gained widespread acclaim in 1979 for his portrayal of Captain Benjamin Willard in the iconic film “Apocalypse Now”.
A recipient of multiple accolades including Emmy, SAG, and Golden Globe Awards, he stands tall as one of the United States’ most lauded, accomplished, and vibrant actors.
This enigmatic performer came into the world to an Irish mother, Mary-Ann Phelan, and a Spanish father, Francisco Estévez Martínez. Their fateful meeting occurred in Ohio during citizenship school.
Hailing from Dayton, Ohio, he is one among ten siblings. However, his entry into the world was marked by adversity as forceps during birth crushed his left shoulder, resulting in the paralysis of his left arm for an extended period, limiting its lateral movement.
Despite growing up with financial constraints, he viewed his family’s circumstances as normal during his formative years. Losing his mother before turning 11, though challenging, imbued him with strength, tolerance, and a deep appreciation for his father.
Around the age of six or seven, he discovered his passion for acting while attending movies. During high school, he worked as a caddy for nine years at a private golf club in Dayton, Ohio, assisting his father.
The individual in focus is none other than Martin Sheen. His high school days saw him exclusively involved in the dramatics club, actively participating in various theatrical productions. Father Alfred Drapp, his mentor, provided the financial backing for his relocation to New York.
Making his stage debut as a freshman, he played a yeoman court stenographer in “The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial” by Herman Wouk. Recognizing the impracticality of his birth name in the acting realm due to pronunciation issues, he adopted a stage name upon moving to New York in his early 20s.
For his stage name, he amalgamated Robert Dale Martin, a CBS casting director, and Fulton J Sheen, an American archbishop, while retaining his birth name on official documents.
Martin is happily married to Janet Sheen, an actress and producer renowned for her work in “The Way”, “Kennedy”, and “Beverly Hills Brats”.
Their love story began in 1960 when Janet moved to New York from Ohio. The early years were marked by financial struggles, exacerbated by Janet’s pregnancy with their first son, Emilio. They tied the knot on December 23, 1961, in a brief ceremony at the church of St. Stephen.
Facing evictions and sharing living quarters with Martin’s father and brothers, they weathered challenges, including the birth of their second son, Ramón. Martin’s mistaken anticipation of twins during the complicated delivery highlighted the unpredictability of life.
Martin’s heart attack in the Philippines during the filming of “Apocalypse Now” tested their resilience, with Janet’s grounding influence playing a pivotal role in his mental recovery.
In 2015, Martin underwent quadruple-bypass heart surgery, further showcasing Janet’s unwavering support. Their enduring marriage celebrated its 60th anniversary during the challenges posed by COVID-19.
Martin attributes the longevity of their union to Janet’s honesty and describes her as the “scariest woman” he’s ever met. The family prioritized staying together, even pulling their children out of school whenever Martin had to be away for work.
The actor acknowledges Janet’s integrity and recognizes the enduring mystery within their relationship, stating: “I honestly don’t have a clue who she is because when I get to the point where I’ve caught up with her, she’s gone”.
As a father, Martin is a pillar of support to Emilio, Ramón, Carlos (Charlie Sheen), and Renée. Emilio, recognized for his association with the mid-1980s “Brat Pack,” is a film director, screenwriter, and producer.
Ramón is an actor and theater director with notable appearances in films like “Cadence” and “A State of Emergency”. Carlos, also known as Charlie, achieved fame for his roles in “Platoon”, “Wall Street” alongside his father, and the sitcom “Two and a Half Men”.
Renée, the youngest of Martin’s children, is an actress and screenwriter with credits in films like “Babies Having Babies” and “Shattered Spirits”.
Initially surprised by his children’s interest in acting, Martin witnessed their talent gradually unfolding and made sure they earned their roles based on merit rather than seeking any familial favors.