Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen

2010 Guest

Your IU Department of Theatre and Drama presented an early spring treat for the faculty, staff, and students of IU Bloomington. This special appearance by world-renowned humanitarian and star of stage, film, and television Martin Sheen took place in the IU Auditorium. During his visit, Mr. Sheen spoke with students in the theatre program. Mr. Sheen's public session included discussions about his body of work in acting, as well as his activism and humanitarian work. Both sessions were inspirational. We are deeply grateful for Mr. Sheen’s visit.

Martin Sheen, Award-winning actor, social activist, and Humanitarian

In addition to the main event in the IU Auditorium, Mr. Sheen will engage in a session with students, faculty, and staff of the Department of Theatre and Drama in the Ruth N. Halls Theatre in the afternoon.

Martin Sheen is one of the busiest, most conscientious actors in Hollywood, putting together a Herculean body of work. He became established playing youths run amok, and though his resume boasts its share of villains, he has grown over the years into a patriarchal figure, whose rectitude and social responsibility are in keeping with his very liberal Catholic activism. A fervent promoter of the principles of Catholic social thought in word and in action, Martin Sheen’s passion for activism and its necessary place in today’s political, humanitarian and social arenas has inspired generations. For over four decades, he has been an ardent supporter of causes that advocate peace and encourage justice throughout the world.

Born Ramon Estevez to immigrant parents, Sheen left his Dayton, Ohio home for the bright lights of NYC, apprenticing at Judith Malina and Julian Beck’s Living Theater. He grabbed attention in Frank Gilroy’s The Subject Was Roses (1964) with a Tony-nominated turn as a returning war veteran opposite Jack Albertson, later reprising his role in the 1968 film version. Sheen’s feature debut came as a delinquent terrorizing the occupants of a subway car in The Incident (1967), but his real breakthrough came as the alienated, amoral yet charismatic killer on the run with Sissy Spacek in Terrence Malick’s Badlands (1973).
In the 70’s Sheen embarked on a series of critically-acclaimed projects for the small screen, earning an Emmy nomination for his sensitive portrayal of the deserter in The Execution of Private Slovik. Also, that same year was the powerful The Missiles of October which saw him slip into the skin of Attorney General Robert Kennedy, his first of many fictional forays into political life. Sheen’s turn as the military assassin sent to terminate the command of a crazed Marlon Brando in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now that remains one of his signature roles.

Despite the time devoted to social justice, his amazing output of film and TV roles has never slowed. He donated his salary for his work on Gandhi (1982) to various charities and he portrayed a union official father at odds with the insider trading world of his financier son (Charlie) in Oliver Stone’s absorbing Wall Street (1987). He executive produced and starred in two features, playing Barnard Hughes’ son in DA and a trial judge in Leo Penn’s Judgment in Berlin, and he also executive produced and starred in the TNT movie Nightbreaker (1989), in which son Emilio essayed his character at an earlier stage.

One of the most prominent feature roles of the 90’s came as an advisor of The American President (1995) which introduced him to screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. So it perhaps came as no surprise when he surfaced as U.S. President Josiah Bartlet on the critically-acclaimed The West Wing. Finishing up seven years on The West Wing, Sheen has recently appeared in The Departed, directed by Martin Scorsese with Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson and Matt Damon; Bordertown, directed by Gregory Nava with Jennifer Lopez and Antonio Banderas and Bobby, written and directed by his son, Emilio Estevez, and staring Anthony Hopkins, Sharon Stone, Helen Hunt, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher.

Martin has been married to his wife Janet for over forty years and their four children Emilio, Renee and Ramon Estevez and Charlie Sheen are all involved in the entertainment business.