Emilio Estevez reveals the tragic reason father Martin Sheen made him keep his Hispanic name
Emilio Estevez has spoken about the words his father, Martin Sheen, gave him when he thought about changing his name.
Sheen was born Ramón Estévez, however, due to prejudices in the industry, he changed his professional name to Martin Sheen in 1958 in a bid to land more acting roles.
When he began auditioning as an actor, Estevez said he, too, used the name Sheen as he thought it would help open doors in Hollywood.
However, he recalled that, at the time, his father said: “Don’t make the same mistake that I did.”
Estevez said that in 1967, his grandfather Francisco (who was born in Spain) went to see Sheen on Broadway in Frank D Gilroy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, The Subject Was Roses.
Upon seeing his son’s new, English name on the marquee, Estevez said Sheen saw his father “shake his head in disappointment”.
“He never got over that,” Estevez said. “So, when it was time for me to start making those moves and doing auditions he said, ‘Man, if I had one thing to do over, I never would have changed my name.’”
Sheen was credited as Ramón Estévez on screen for the first time as an executive producer on Estevez’s 2011 film The Way, which is soon to be re-released in cinemas across the US.
The film follows Sheen's character walking the Camino de Santiago following the death of his estranged adult son.
Sheen previously revealed his regrets over his name change in an interview last year.
“Sometimes you get persuaded when you don’t have enough insight or even enough courage to stand up for what you believe in, and you pay for it later,” he explained.
“The only influence I had on Emilio was to keep his name,” the West Wing star added. “When he started out, his agent was advising him to change his name to Sheen and he wouldn’t do it. And I thank God he didn’t.”
However, Martin’s second son Charlie, who is famous for his role in Two and a Half Men, took on the Sheen stage name. His real name is Carlos Estévez.