About this Famous Person
American film actor
Source : Tim DOWLING
Sheen was born in Dayton, Ohio, the son of Mary-Ann (née Phelan; 1903–1951) and Francisco Estévez Martinez (1898–1974). During birth, Sheen's left arm was crushed by forceps, giving him limited lateral movement of his left arm, which is three inches shorter than his right. Both of Sheen's parents were immigrants, his father from Parderrubias, Galicia, Spain and his mother from Borrisokane, County Tipperary, Ireland. After moving to Dayton in the 1930s, his father was a factory worker/machinery inspector at the National Cash Register Company. Sheen grew up on Brown Street in the South Park neighborhood, one of ten children (nine boys and a girl). Due to his father's work, Sheen also spent part of his childhood in Bermuda, where the family lived on St. John's Road, Pembroke. He graduated from Chaminade High School (now Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School) and was raised Catholic. Sheen was the first of the children born in the United States. At age 14 he organized a strike of golf caddies while working at a private golf club in Dayton, Ohio. He complained about the golfers: "They often used obscene language in front of us. . . . we were little boys and they were abusive . . . anti-Semitic . . . And they, for the most part, were upstanding members of the community."
Sheen 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. It was there that he met the legendary Catholic activist Dorothy Day. Working with her Catholic Worker Movement, he began his commitment to social justice, and would one day go on to play Peter Maurin, cofounder of the Catholic Worker Movement, in Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story. Sheen deliberately failed the entrance exam for the University of Dayton so that he could pursue his acting career.
He adopted his stage name, Martin Sheen, from a combination of the CBS casting director, Robert Dale Martin, who gave him his first big break, and the televangelist archbishop, Fulton J. Sheen. In a 2003 Inside the Actors Studio interview, Sheen explained, "Whenever I would call for an appointment, whether it was a job or an apartment, and I would give my name, there was always that hesitation and when I'd get there, it was always gone. So I thought, I got enough problems trying to get an acting job, so I invented Martin Sheen. It's still Estevez officially. I never changed it officially. I never will. It's on my driver's license and passport and everything. I started using Sheen, I thought I'd give it a try, and before I knew it, I started making a living with it and then it was too late. In fact, one of my great regrets is that I didn't keep my name as it was given to me. I knew it bothered my dad."