Award-winning actor known as activist for peace, social justice
Hollywood actor, humanitarian and social activist Martin Sheen will headline the 2007 Dallas-Fort Worth Black Tie Dinner at the Adam’s Mark Hotel on November 17.
Sheen, whose real name is Ramon Gerard Antonio Estevez, is a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards winner. He has been nominated for an Emmy 10 times, winning two Daytime Emmy awards and one primetime Emmy, that one for a guest appearance on “Murphy Brown” in 1988.
But he is as well known for his political and humanitarian efforts as he is his acting skill.
Deiadra Burns, co-chair of the fundraiser, said coordinators of the event consider it an “honor and a privilege” to have Sheen be the keynote speaker at the 26th annual dinner.
“Martin Sheen is one of the most exciting and dynamic actors and speakers in the country,” Burns said.
As an actor, Sheen may be best known for his political roles. He has played the president of the U.S. four times: Jed Bartlett on the television series “The West Wing,” which began in 1999 and ran for eight years; in the television movie, “Medusa’s Child,” in 1997; as John F. Kennedy in the mini-series, “Kennedy: The Presidential Years,” in 1983; and as President Greg Stilson in the movie “The Dead Zone,” in 1983.
Sheen first began attracting notice as a stellar actor in 1964 when he was nominated for Broadway’s 1965 Tony Award as best supporting or featured actor in the play, “The Subject Was Roses.” He recreated that role for a movie with the same name.
In 1972 Sheen co-starred in “That Certain Summer,” which is believed to be first television movie to portray homosexuality in a tolerant light. He played Timmy Clearly, the lover of a gay father, Hal Holbrook, who was having difficulty revealing his sexual orientation to his son.
Then in 1985, Sheen played the role of a father who was unable to accept that his son was gay in the movie, “Consenting Adult.”
Sheen is known as an advocate for peace. He has protested political repression in Central America, brought attention to Salvadoran death squads and sought improvement to U.S. political asylum policies.
Sheen has been arrested 70 times during protests, including ones against U.S. military actions and against a toxic waste incinerator in Ohio. He joked recently that he had been arrested the same number of times as years that he has been alive.
Sheen has campaigned for animal rights, the environment, the homeless, migrant workers and pacifism.
In politics he has campaigned for Bill Clinton and Al Gore. In 2002, he stumped for Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Janet Reno who ran unsuccessfully against sitting Gov. Jeb Bush. Rosie O’Donnell and Elton John joined Sheen in that effort.
Sheen was the first actor to participate in the LGBT Victory Fund’s “Breakthrough” podcast series in a chat with New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn about his role in “That Certain Summer.”
Randy Ray, co-chair of the fundraiser, said the 2007 event would combine top-notch entertainment and speakers to make it “an experience like no other.”
“The addition of Martin Sheen as the keynote speaker makes this year’s dinner one of the freshest events in our history,” Ray said.
Sheen has been married to his wife, Janet, for 40 years and is father to four children: Charlie, Emilio, Renee and Ramon, who are all actors. He is the brother of actor Joe Estevez.
The first dinner attracted 140 guests and raised $6,000.
The dinner now attracts thousands of guests. In 2006, it raised $1.35 million for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and 18 local beneficiaries.
In its 25-year history, the event has raised a total of $10.5 million.
For information call 972-733-9200 or visit www.blacktie.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, June 15, 2007.