Martin Sheen to headline Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Clara Valley of Champions

February 03, 2010
Santa Paula News

His parents were immigrants with a large family, and as a boy growing up in Dayton, Ohio he was a “Club Kid” member in an atmosphere that had a tremendous impact on his life. 

And now acclaimed actor and activist Martin Sheen is showing his lifelong gratitude to and strong belief in the mission of the “Positive Place for Kids” by being the keynote speaker for the February 26 Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Clara Valley “Breakfast of Champions.” The event will be held from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at the Museum of Ventura County Farm Heritage Museum, the historic Mill building located on Railroad Avenue.

Sheen is considered an “all-time great” of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for his accomplishments as an adult, but it was as a boy that he was put on that path by the club and his mentor. Born Ramon Estevez - his mother was Irish and his father Spanish - Sheen, one of 10 children, grew up in the South Park district of Dayton. 

Being part of such a large brood sometimes made it tough to get an adult’s attention, but he and his six brothers spent almost every waking moment at the club, where they found a mentor in director Whitey Gates. Gates, and the club, had a tremendous impact on the lives of Sheen and his brothers. 

Sheen grew from his days of being a Club Kid to become one of America’s most celebrated, colorful and accomplished actors and the winner of multiple Emmy and Golden Globe awards. Moving flawlessly between artistic mediums, Sheen’s acting range is breathtaking: he first made his name on Broadway in “The Subject Was Roses” in 1964, reprising his role of troubled Timmy Cleary (which had earned Sheen a Tony Award nomination) on screen in 1968. Now, Sheen is starring in the Mark Taper Forum revival (February 10-March 21), this time playing Timmy’s father, John Cleary.

He has appeared in more than 65 feature films, including a star turn as Army Captain Benjamin L. Willard in Francis Ford Coppola’s landmark film “Apocalypse Now,” his work in the acclaimed 1979 production bringing Sheen worldwide recognition. The film also started Marlon Brando, Dennis Hopper and Robert Duvall. Sheen’s other notable film credits include “Wall Street” (1987), where he appeared alongside his son Charlie Sheen and Michael Douglas.

In addition to series television, Sheen has appeared in several acclaimed made-for-television movies and mini-series, the latter including his role as President John F. Kennedy in “Kennedy” (1983), for which he received a Golden Globe nomination. Sheen was again the president in “The West Wing,” which ranks as one of television’s most acclaimed - and most watched - drama series. Sheen played President Josiah “Jed” Bartlett from 1999 to 2006.

From “Club Kid” to President of the United States wasn’t a stretch for Sheen, who to this day credits the caring Boys & Girls Club staff with providing mentorship and guidance when he needed it most.

For more information on the February 26 “Breakfast of Champions” as well as seating opportunities, call Carole Power, director of club resource development, at 525-7910.

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