Emilio Estevez Biography

photo: Emilio Estevez

Son of actor Martin Sheen and brother of Hollywood badboy Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez was born into a family of fame but decided early on to forsake the Sheen surname and find his own way to the marquee.

Emilio is the eldest son of Martin (born Ramon Estevez) and his wife Janet. The couple went on to have three other children (Charlie, Ramon and Renee) - two of whom also kept the Estevez name.


"I swore to myself that I'd make it through drive, ambition and hard work. I wanted to know I got it that way and not because of my bloodlines," Estevez said of his decision to keep his father's original name.

"The most significant thing my father has taught me is that my job is no more or less important than someone else's."
 

Estevez spent his formative childhood years in Malibu, California, after the family moved there from New York City in 1968. His childhood pals were also future Hollywood stars in the making and included brothers Rob and Chad Lowe, as well as Sean and Chris Penn.

From an early age, Estevez took an interest in the movie business, trying his hand at amateur script-writing, filmmaking and acting. He also dabbled in poetry. Just before his eighth birthday, Estevez submitted a script for Rod Serling's off-beat television show, 'The 'Night Gallery'. The script ended up being turned down.

Estevez's big break came in 1982 when he appeared in his first feature-length film opposite Matt Dillon in 'Tex' - the first of three adaptations of S.E. Hinton's books. 'The Outsiders' (1983), also starring Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Tom Cruise, C. Thomas Howell and Ralph Macchio, pushed him further into the limelight.

The following year, he cemented his status talent in his own right, playing a disaffected, car-repossessing-punk-rocker, alongside Harry Stanton, in the 1984 cult-classic 'Repo Man.

It was an auspicious year for Estevez who became a parent for the first time with the birth of his son Taylor Levi in June by his model girlfriend, Carey Salley. The couple went on to have a second child, Paloma Estevez, who was born two years later.

Under his own steam, Estevez blazed a trail in show business that was uniquely his own but success - at least of the kind found by his younger brother Charlie - has eluded him.

Ironically, it was the role that Estevez almost played but lost that ended propelling Charlie to the big time. Estevez was originally slated to play the lead role in an early version of Oliver Stone's film 'Platoon' (1986) but he lost the job when financing fell through. Eventually, when the financial pieces fell into place, Charlie won the lead.

The missed opportunity had a silver lining for Estevez in that he ended up linking up with director John Hughes for the 80s hit which he is best remembered: 'The Breakfast Club' - a seminal teenage movie experience for Generation X-ers.

From there, Estevez graduated to college-age roles. In his next feature, 'St. Elmo's Fire', he shared the spotlight with his "Club" buddies Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Andrew McCarthy. It was a New York magazine article - about the making of the film - wherein Estevez and his peers earned The Brat Pack moniker.

Determined not to be pigeon-holed, Estevez decided to try a new genre, starring in the Stephen King horror film 'Maximum Overdrive'. The picture was panned by fans and critics alike. Undaunted, Estevez went behind-the-camera becoming Hollywood's youngest talent to write, direct and star in the 1986 movie 'Wisdom'. The film - a road trip/romance co-starring his then real-life girlfriend Demi Moore - flopped at the box office.

Estevez rebounded in 1987, starring alongside Richard Dreyfuss in the catchy, comedy-thriller 'Stakeout', the success of which was good enough to sell producers - but not audiences - on a sequel in 1993.

He also enjoyed success with the Western box office hit 'Young Guns' (1988) in which Estevez portrayed a winsome Billy the Kid. The 1990 sequel proved less popular with audiences but by then Estevez was back at it again, writing and directing his first feature comedy 'Men at Work'. Starring beside his brother as two garbage men who get caught up in a murder, the film was savaged by critics though it did find redemption at the video store as a mini-cult classic.

In 1992, Estevez - in a pattern that seems to define his career - had both good and bad cinematic fortunes. Following the flop of his sci-fi thriller 'Freejack', Estevez triumphed in the popular GP Disney hit 'The Mighty Ducks'. In between the filming of its sequel 'D2' (1994), Estevez took on two other comedies of mediocre success: 'National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon I' (1993) and 'Another Stakeout' the same year.

His personal life, at least when it came to love, was also fraught during this time. In 1992, Estevez married famed pop singer Paula Abdul, but the couple divorced two years later.

Estevez appeared for a third time in the Disney trilogy 'D3' (1996) after negotiating a financing deal with the movie house for the making of his own film 'War at Home' (1996). The Vietnam-era drama, featuring his father and Academy Award winning actress Kathy Bates, petered out after playing in other three cities.

Two years later, Estevez was back on the Hollywood horse, this time playing a cowboy in a made-for-cable spaghetti Western called 'TNT'. Then in 2000, he recruited brother Charlie to share the stage with him in 'Rated X' (2000) an original Showtime movie based on the real-life siblings Jim and Art Mitchell, directors of the infamous adult film 'Behind the Green Door'. The effort not only won the praise of critics but gave Estevez some money needed leverage on the finance front.

Estevez fell off the radar over the next five years, making a few unremarkable performances and appearances. He also retreated to the director's chair, working of various television shows including 'Cold Case' (CBS, 2003) and 'CSI:NY' (CBS, 2004).

When he pushed back into the public eye in 2005 with 'Culture Clash in AmeriCCa' - a live performance documentary about an Hispanic-American comedy troupe - Estevez fell flat on his face. The picture went almost straight to video and was roundly condemned by critics as an insult to spectators and to the film's subjects.

Undeterred, Estevez regrouped and worked his connections to assemble an A-list of celebrities for what has been described as his make-or-break theatrical feature 'Bobby' (2006). The cast included Sharon Stone, Martin Sheen, Demi Moore, Lindsay Lohan, Anthony Hopkins and Elijah Wood. The highly publicised film, about the night of Senator Robert F. Kennedy's assassination, is considered Estevez's most ambitious work to date but despite the high gloss finish, failed to garner him with praise or vindication that he has been looking for.

Despite the ups and downs of his career, Estevez says he has taken it all in stride by keeping his perspective on what is important in life. He counts his 2006 engagement to journalist Sonja Magdevski, and his children as blessings that have helped him buffer bad times professionally.


"I've got two extraordinary children.... they’re functioning human beings in the world and so that was part of my life's work.''

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