Emmy Award-winning American actor Martin Sheen was born on August 3, 1940 in Dayton, Ohio. The son of Spanish and Irish immigrants, his father was a machinery inspector while his mother fled her home country due to her family’s connections to the IRA. He was raised a Roman Catholic Christian, and studied at the Chaminade High School. He claims that in order to pursue his acting career in defiance of his father, he deliberately flunked the University of Dayton entrance exam, then adopted his stage name in honor of the theologian Fulton Sheen. He later went on to act in various productions such as the TV show The Outer Limits and the Broadway play The Subject Was Roses. In 1972, Sheen took on a co-starring role in the controversial, Emmy-winning TV movie That Certain Summer. He was then given one of his more important roles, with Sissy Spacek in the crime film Badlands.
Martin Sheen received an Emmy Award nomination for Best Actor in a television drama for 1974’s The Execution of Private Slovik. His performance was recognized by direcot Francis Ford Coppola, who chose him to star in his 1979 film, Apocalypse Now.
In 1999, the acclaimed drama series The West Wing aired, with Sheen playing Josiah Edward Bartlet, the fictional Democratic U.S. president of the show. Bartlet is a devout Roman Catholic who graduated from the University of Notre Dame as summa !$#!# laude. He embarked on his political campaign and was elected President of the United States. Martin Sheen received six Emmy nominations for his portrayal of the character. He also won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in TV-Drama and two Screen Actors Guild awards for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series. Sheen is also the father of actors Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez.