The 47th annual International Chicago Film Festival Summer gala was held this weekend, where actor Martin Sheen was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work over four decades. He was in town with his son Emilio Estevez for the showing of Emilio’s directed movie, The Way.
The Way is a story about an American doctor who comes to St. Jean de Port, France to collect the remains of his adult son, killed in the Pyrenees in a storm while walking The Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of Saint James. Driven by his profound sadness over the loss of his son and a desire to understand his son better, Sheen embarks on this historical pilgrimage walk, leaving his comfortable California life behind.
The film was an interesting piece of work, supported by three other talented actors that join Sheen’s journey. What made the film even more intriguing was the journey of Martin Sheen’s life himself. Born in Dayton,Ohioin 1940, he was hit by the acting bug in high school. He borrowed money from a local priest and moved to NY to pursue his acting dreams.
Sheen met up with a man that I met at this summer gala; in New York City and who helped pay for Martin Sheen’s acting lessons. I asked this man, “How do you know Mr. Sheen?” He smiled and told me that they had met in 1964 in NYC. They had remained friends for all of these years. This man is Charlie Sheen’s godfather! Now, this would not seem so unique, until this person told me what he did for a living.
He is a monk! I started laughing, couldn’t help myself, when I thought of just how ironic it is that bad boy Charlie Sheen has a monk for a godfather. I admit that it doesn’t seem to have helped Charlie’s behavior of late, yet I am sure they are still very close.
When I approached Mr. Sheen for an autograph, I told him I met his friend the monk, and he smiled. His face glowed, knowing that his old friend was in the room and that I knew the history. It was a rare moment indeed that made even a prominent movie star who acts for a living and where the line of acting and reality are blurred, become real.
Martin Sheen never forgot his monk friend, the one who believed in him and helped him along the way. The two went different paths, yet still remain close friends. The message here is to always remember those along the way that help you realize your own dream!