The star later advised his son, Emilio Estévez, to keep his birth name when he became an actor. 

Actors changing their names to sound less ethnic is a common tale. Anthony Quinn, Steven Bauer, Rita Hayworth, and Raquel Welch are just some of the performers who opted for more Anglicized monikers to make it in Hollywood. 

Among them is Martin Sheen, who was born Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez. But the Apocalypse Now star now says he regrets the decision. Looking back at his life, the 81-year-old revealed erasing any trace of his Spanish immigrant father's last name was something he was "persuaded" to do when he didn't have "enough insight or even enough courage" to oppose the decision. 

"That's one of my regrets," he told Closer Weekly. "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."

Martin Sheen
Actor Martin Sheen regrets changing the name passed down to him by his Spanish immigrant father
| Credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Sheen, whose mother was an Irish immigrant, later persuaded his actor son Emilio Estévez not to alter his birth name when he decided to pursue his own show business career. 

"The only influence I had on Emilio was to keep his name," Sheen added. "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."

Sheen's son Ramon also took his father's advice and held onto his given surname. Charlie Sheen, however, followed in his famous dad's footsteps. 

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