After starring in films like The Breakfast Club and The Outsiders, Martin Sheen’s eldest son, Emilio Estévez, became a household name. As a member of one of Hollywood’s most famous families, the Golden Globe nominee candidly revealed why he decided not to use a stage name like some of his family members. 

Why Didn’t Emilio Estevez Change His Name?

Emilio made several memorable acting appearances in the early ‘80s. His younger siblings, Ramón Estévez, Charlie Sheen and Renée Estévez, were also bitten by the acting bug early on. Charlie chose to perform under the name Sheen, just like his dad and his mom, Janet Sheen

Martin was born Ramón Estévez in 1940. As he looked to establish a career in Hollywood, he decided to use a stage name.

“Back in the day, in 1958, he changed his name from Ramón Estévez to Martin Sheen because, at the time, there was a lot of prejudice against people with the Hispanic name,” Emilio shared on Today in May 2023. “Years later, in 1967, my grandfather Francisco, to whom I dedicate [the movie The Way] to, came to see him on Broadway when he was doing The Subject Was Roses. He stood outside of the theater and looked up at the marquee, and my dad saw him shake his head in disappointment, and so he never got over that.”

Emilio Estevez: Why He Didn't Change Name to Sheen

When it came to his own acting career, Emilio admitted that he initially considered going by the last name Sheen.

“I thought using the name Sheen would help [with auditions],” the Mission: Impossible actor admitted. “At the time, my dad said, ‘Don’t make the mistake that I did. Don’t change your name.’”

Much to his father’s delight, Emilio decided to keep acting under the family name Estévez. It has remained a decision Martin continues to praise.

“I was so self-involved and trying to be a provider that I wasn’t aware of their inclination to being actors,” the dad of four told Closer in June 2022 about his kids getting into the entertainment industry. “I 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. The only influence I had on Emilio was to keep his name. 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.”

Although Emilio ended up not changing his last name to Sheen, there was another nickname he was given that he believes affected his career in a plethora of ways. The Bobby actor was part of the group known as the Brat Pack in the ’80s, which also included Rob Lowe, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Demi Moore and Molly Ringwald. They dominated Hollywood coming-of-age films and were teen icons.

Emilio explained there was more “damage done” from the label that outweighed some of the positive things that came from it. He was unsure if he would entirely erase the label from his career.

“I think that’s a difficult question to answer because you can only know the known,” he shared in the 2024 Hulu documentary Brats. “Was it something we benefited from? Maybe. But in the long run, I think we did not. I think there was more damage done by it than good.”

Martin Sheen Regrets Changing His Name

Martin worked with Emilio on The Way in 2010, a film that will be re-released in May 2023. He is credited as an executive producer under his given name, Ramón Estévez, something his late father would have been thrilled to see. 

“That’s one of my regrets,” Martin said. “I never changed my name officially. It’s still Ramón 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.”