At 83 years old, Martin Sheen has this physical status:
Sheen was greatly influenced by the actor James Dean. Speaking of the impact Dean had on him, Sheen stated, “All of his movies had a profound effect on my life, in my work and all of my generation. He transcended cinema acting. It was no longer acting, it was human behavior.” Sheen developed a theatre company with other actors in hopes that a production would earn him recognition. In 1963, he made an appearance in "Nightmare", an episode of the television science fiction series The Outer Limits. In 1964, he co-starred in the Broadway play The Subject Was Roses; he later reprised his role in the 1968 film of the same name, and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor. Sheen also starred in the television production Ten Blocks on the Camino Real (1966), an adaptation of Tennessee Williams' play Camino Real directed by Jack Landau and presented by NET, a PBS predecessor.
During the 1960s and early 1970s, Sheen appeared as a guest star on many popular television series, including Insight (1960s-1980s), My Three Sons (1964), Flipper (1967), The F.B.I. (1968), Mission: Impossible (1969), Hawaii Five-O (1970), Dan August (1971), The Rookies (1973), Columbo (1973), and The Streets of San Francisco (1973). He also had a recurring role as "Danny Morgan" on Mod Squad (1970–1971). By the early 1970s, Sheen was increasingly focusing on television films and motion pictures.
Sheen portrayed Dobbs in the 1970 film adaptation of Catch-22. He then co-starred in the controversial Emmy Award-winning 1972 television film That Certain Summer, said to be the first television movie in America to portray homosexuality in a sympathetic light. His next important feature film role was in 1973, when he starred with Sissy Spacek in the crime drama Badlands, playing an antisocial multiple murderer. Sheen has stated that his role in Badlands was one of his two favorites, the other being his role as a U.S. Army special operations officer in Apocalypse Now. Also in 1973, Sheen appeared opposite David Janssen in "Such Dust As Dreams Are Made On", the first pilot for the television series Harry O.
In 1974, Sheen portrayed a hot rod driver in the television film The California Kid and that same year received an Emmy Award nomination for Best Actor in a television drama for his portrayal of Pvt. Eddie Slovik in the television film The Execution of Private Slovik. Based on an incident that occurred during World War II, the film told the story of the only U.S. soldier to be executed for desertion since the American Civil War.
Sheen's performance led to Francis Ford Coppola's casting him in a lead role as U.S. Army Captain Benjamin L. Willard in 1979's Apocalypse Now, gaining him wide recognition. Filming in the Philippine jungle in the typhoon season of 1976, Sheen admitted he was not in great shape and was drinking heavily. For the film's legendary opening sequence in a Saigon hotel room, Sheen's portrayal of Willard as heavily intoxicated was aided by Sheen's celebrating his 36th birthday on-set that day, and being actually drunk. Twelve months into filming, Sheen suffered a minor heart attack and had to crawl out to a road for help. While he was recovering, his younger brother Joe Estevez stood in for him in a number of long shots and in some of the voice-overs. Sheen was able to resume filming a few weeks later. In 1979, Sheen acted in The Final Countdown with Kirk Douglas, another actor with family connections to Bermuda (Diana Dill, Douglas's first wife and the mother of their sons Michael Douglas and Joel Douglas was a Bermudian).
Sheen has played U.S. President John F. Kennedy in the miniseries Kennedy; Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in the television special The Missiles of October; White House Chief of Staff A.J. McInnerney in The American President; White House Counsel John Dean in the television mini-series Blind Ambition; sinister would-be president Greg Stillson in The Dead Zone; the President in the Lori Loughlin-Chris Noth television mini-series, Medusa's Child.
In 1993, Sheen's sympathetic portrayal of General Robert E. Lee in the Ronald Maxwell film Gettysburg met with acclaim.
He played fictional Democratic president Josiah "Jed" Bartlet in the acclaimed television drama, The West Wing. He plays Captain Hollister In Firestarter opposite Drew Barrymore and David Keith
In November 2010, Sheen was cast as Uncle Ben in Sony's 2012 reboot of the Spider-Man film series, The Amazing Spider-Man, directed by Marc Webb.
Sheen has performed voice-over work as the narrator for the Eyewitness series and as the "real" Seymour Skinner in the controversial Simpsons episode "The Principal and the Pauper." In addition, he played the role of the Illusive Man in the highly acclaimed video game Mass Effect 2, and the sequel, Mass Effect 3. He provided the voice of Emilio in the English language version of the 2011 animated film Arrugas (Wrinkles). Martin Sheen is also the host of In Focus, a television program whose Facebook page claims airs on PBS affiliate stations on Public Television, but in fact does not, according to the company's spokesperson, as reported in The Washington Post on December 27, 2012.
In 2009, Sheen travelled to Mexico City to star in Chamaco with Kirk Harris, Alex Perea, Gustavo Sánchez Parra and Michael Madsen. Sheen appeared in Martin Scorsese's The Departed as Captain Oliver Queenan, a commanding officer who is watching an undercover cop (Leonardo DiCaprio). Martin Sheen and son Ramon Estevez combined both their real and stage names to create the Warner Bros.-affiliated company, Estevez Sheen Productions. In 2010 the company released The Way, written and directed by Sheen's son Emilio Estevez who also stars in the film as Martin's on-screen son, who dies while hiking the Camino de Santiago. His daughter, Renée, also has a part in the film. Driven by sadness, Martin's character, an American doctor, leaves his Californian life and embarks on the 800 km (500 mi) pilgrimage from the French Pyrenees to Spain's Santiago de Compostela himself, with his son's ashes. The Way premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.
In 2010, he filmed Stella Days in County Tipperary, Ireland, near the birthplace of his mother. Thaddeus O'Sullivan directed and Irish actor Stephen Rea starred, along with IFTA award-winning actress Amy Huberman. Sheen plays parish priest Daniel Barry, whose love of movies leads him to help set up a cinema in Borrisokane.
Sheen played a starring role in Netflix's Grace and Frankie (2015–2022). In December 2019 Sheen signed on to play legendary FBI director J. Edgar Hoover alongside Lakeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemons, and Daniel Kaluuya in Judas and the Black Messiah. Produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, the film was released in 2021. It was directed by Shaka King and chronicles the death of Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton in Chicago on December 4, 1969.