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SUNDAY READING

The Unsheltered : Martin Sheen Discovers the Distance Between the Haves and the Homeless

April 27, 1986

Actor Martin Sheen, whose screen credits include "The Missiles of October," "The Execution of Private Slovik" and "Apocalypse Now," will soon be seen in a television movie in which he portrays Mitch Snyder, a man who has devoted his life to the homeless. Snyder, leader of the Community for Creative Non-Violence, ended a 32-day hunger strike on behalf of those without shelter March 16 and spent the first week of April in Santa Barbara, which , he charges , is "the worst (city) in the country" in terms of helping the homeless. Recently, CBS news correspondent Charlie Rose interviewed Sheen on location for a special edition of "Nightwatch."

Charlie Rose: Of all the things you could do, why this? Martin Sheen: Well, I'll tell you, of all the people in my whole life that I have really envied--and there are just a handful of them--Mitch Snyder is one. And the reason is because he is in full possession of his soul, which is what I would like to be in possession of. I'm sure all of us would. Q: What does it mean to be in full possession of your soul? A: Basically, that he has transcended the image of what it means to be a person to really be a person. One of the first things he asked me when we got together just a few days ago, the first time I met him . . . he asked me to go out andsit on the grate that he had spent four months on and just chat. . . . Well, one of the first things he asked me was: "Martin, how many pairs of shoes do you own?" And I quickly thought, and I said, "I guess about four or five." He said: "You're only entitled to one, because there are a lot of people running around out there barefoot." That's where he began; I can at best be only a shadow of this man.

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