(The Hill) — Martin Sheen is calling his decision to change his name when entering Hollywood one of his “regrets.”
“I never changed my name officially. It’s still Ramon Estévez on my birth certificate,” the 81-year-old former “West Wing” star said in a recent interview with Closer Weekly magazine.
“It’s on my marriage license, my passport, driver’s license,” Sheen said of his legal name.
“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,” Sheen said. “But, of course, I’m only speaking for myself.”
“That’s one of my regrets,” Sheen said of his name switch.
While Sheen’s son, Charlie Sheen, adopted his dad’s professional last name, the elder Sheen said he was able to dissuade another from potentially facing the same sense of disappointment.
“The only influence I had on Emilio was to keep his name,” Sheen said of actor Emilio Estévez.
“When he started out, his agent was advising him to change his name to Sheen and he wouldn’t do it,” Sheen said of Estévez. “And I thank God he didn’t.”
In a 2003 interview on “Inside the Actor’s Studio,” Sheen, the son of an Irish mother and a Spanish father, opened up about his name decision.
“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, Sheen said, according to the 2021 book “Race in American Television.”
“I thought, I got enough problems trying to get an acting job, so I invented Martin Sheen,” he said.
“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.”