Date of Birth: August 3rd 1940
Sheen had wanted to act since he was very young, but his father disapproved. In spite of this, Sheen borrowed money from a priest and headed to New York City. It was there that Sheen met the Catholic activist Dorothy Day and, he says, began his commitment to social justice. While Sheen claims he deliberately flunked the entrance exam for the University of Dayton so that he could pursue his acting career, he still has an affinity for UD, and is seen drinking from a "Dayton Flyers" coffee mug during several episodes of The West Wing. Sheen has said that he was greatly influenced by the actor James Dean. Sheen developed a theater company with other actors in hopes that a production would earn him recognition. In 1963 he made an appearance in Nightmare, an episode from the TV science fiction series The Outer Limits. The following year he starred in the Broadway play The Subject Was Roses, which he recreated in the 1968 film of the same name. Sheen was a co-star in the controversial, Emmy-winning 1972 television movie That Certain Summer said to be the first television movie to portray homosexuality in a sympathetic, non-judgmental light. His next important feature film role was in 1973, when he starred with Sissy Spacek in the crime drama Badlands - which he has said in many interviews is his best film.
Although he didn't attend college, Sheen credited the Marianists at University of Dayton as a major influence on his public activism. Sheen is known for his robust support of liberal political causes, such as opposition to United States military actions and a toxic-waste incinerator in East Liverpool, Ohio. Sheen has resisted calls to run for office, saying "There's no way that I could be the president. You can't have a pacifist in the White House … I'm an actor. This is what I do for a living." Sheen is an honorary trustee of the Dayton International Peace Museum.
In May 1995, Martin Sheen and Paul Watson from Sea Shepherd were attacked in a hotel on Magdalen Islands by a number of Canadian sealers, who were upset that they had come there to protest against the annual seal hunt and promote non-lethal alternatives. Sheen was trying to negotiate with the angry mob while Watson was escorted to the airport by police and had to spend the night in hospital. On 28 August 2005, he visited anti-Iraq War activist Cindy Sheehan at Camp Casey. He prayed with her and spoke to her supporters. He began his remarks by stating, "At least you've got the acting President of the United States," referring to his role as fictional President Josiah Bartlet on The West Wing. Cindy Sheehan had been demanding to speak with the actual President, George W. Bush.