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Martin Sheen Regrets Changing His Name from Ramon Estévez

The actor never legally changed his name, but said he wishes he had used it professionally as well.

Martin Sheen confessed that if he could do it all over again, he'd go by his birth name professionally.

The actor told Closer Weekly on Saturday that he wishes he'd gone by Ramon Estévez instead of changing his name when launching his career. Sheen had his first breakout role in the 1968 production of Hamlet in New York City. He explained that his father never wanted him to go into show business, but “You couldn’t blame him. Both my parents were immigrants,” the actor explained. “My father was from Spain, and my mother was from Ireland. My real name is Ramon Estévez. My father was very practical. He was a factory worker for most of his adult life, and he wanted me to go to college and improve my chances of making a better living than he did. We had some very, very painful confrontations about it.”

But while his father would eventually begin taking his acting aspirations seriously, Sheen said that Americanizing his name in order to pursue those dreams is “one of my regrets.” He added, “I never changed my name officially. It's still Ramon Estévez on my birth certificate. It's on my marriage license, my passport, driver's license. 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. But, of course, I'm only speaking for myself.”

Although he has some regrets about his professional life, Sheen said he never stood in the way of his sons, Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen, pursuing their own careers in show business, partially because he had no idea they were even interested. “I honestly have to say I wasn't aware of it,” he said. “I was so self-involved and trying to be a provider that I wasn't aware of their inclination to being actors.” Sheen added that he didn't really realize his sons were actors until he “was doing a show one time, and Emilio showed up. I thought he was there to visit me, but he'd gotten a part in the same show.” But the actor added that “the only influence” he did have on his son “was to keep his name” because “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.”

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