November 2, 2002
To my friend's story, all I can add is this...
OH, MY GOD, WE BOTH TOUCHED MARTIN SHEEN!!!!
And we both got our pictures taken with him. What a very, very nice man. As patient as could be with all the people thronging
around asking for autographs.
He looked great, just as good as on television. And most of the people there seemed to know him, or at least were
very casual about him being there. Two of the men at our table had been arrested with Martin at some point.
Martin received a standing ovation as he walked down to make his speech. They referred to him as "the Acting President
of the United States", which, of course, he is.
He spoke beautifully, but I was a bit distracted as I tried to stretch my camera zoom to get a decent shot of him.
He was presented with a very nice award, which he accepted quite graciously. He was friendly and nice to everyone who went
up to him during and after the event.
I think the fact that all of us were able to maintain our composure in his presence is a testament to the fact that
Martin Sheen behaves as though he is just a regular guy, no better than anyone else in the room, and he makes you feel very
comfortable. There were no "handlers" trying to keep people away from him, and my guess is that he wanted it that way. Many
of the people in this organization (Office of the Americas) are his friends or acquaintances, and Martin treated everyone
with respect. Star struck as I was, that sort of relaxed atmosphere kept me from losing my bearings.
At the end of the program, he stayed on the stage and that is when the audience approached him for autographs and to say
I'll tell you folks, Martin Sheen has 20 years on me, and I was getting a bit worn out standing under the lights waiting.
That's without all the energy he had to expend to speak with everyone. Still, he had a smile for everyone, patience with the
photos and autographs, conversations with the people who knew him, and not a cross word or impatient action.
He didn't try to hurry away. I was fearful the whole time that he would leave before we got up to the front of the crowd,
but he stayed.
He believes in these causes, and, as was said in the program, Martin Sheen is a person first, and an actor second.
I wouldn't hesitate to add that he is a FINE person and a FINE actor.
While we were having dinner, some of our table companions asked how we knew Martin or what cause we were supporting.
My friend replied that we were longtime fans of his work as an actor.
I had to do some fast talking to mitigate that remark. I implied that to be a real Martin Sheen fan meant that you knew
and agreed with his viewpoints on things. And we did listen politely to quite a long speech from our dinner companion on his
political views. All the while, I was on pins and needles, thinking Martin would walk in any second and be seated at
the table right next to us. I kept wanting to look to check, but I kept my attention on the gentleman at our table.
In the end, it worked out well because that is the gentleman who got us the introductions to Martin. You'll be proud to
know that we did not go up to Martin when he finally did arrive, after the dining room had emptied. Good manners won as we
respected his space and let him eat in peace, knowing he was probably thinking about the speech he was about to give.
Instead we asked our new friend, who knows Mr. Sheen, to ask if we could meet him, and if he didn't want to be disturbed,
he could say so without giving offense. That gentleman approached him and returned to us saying that Martin would come meet
us when he had finished his meal.
So we were in a state of tension for the next few minutes. Then it was time for Martin to leave the dining room and join
the presentation, and a few people were walking with him. He would have headed right out the door, but apparently he glanced
at us and remembered we were there to meet him. That's when he greeted my friend and shook her hand. I was standing behind
her, so I thought he would just walk out. But no, he saw me and leaned in behind her and said, "Hi, I'm Martin," and extended
his hand. I haven't remembered my own name since. He didn't stop and chat, he didn't even really stop walking, just paused
for a moment because he knew we had been waiting.
After the program, a photographer pulled me up to have my picture taken with Martin. After the picture, I thanked
My advice to all of you is, if you have a chance to see Martin Sheen, take it! Because he seems always willing to take
the time to meet his fans. What a wonderful man he is, and it's a thrill to find someone famous who really is as nice as he