Actor Charlie Sheen (right) with good friend Tony Todd backstage at 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.' (Photo courtesy Tony Todd)

Actor Charlie Sheen (right) with good friend Tony Todd backstage at ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.’ (Photo courtesy Tony Todd)

BURBANK — It may have come 30 years late, but provocative actor Charlie Sheen is finally a high school graduate.

Sheen received his Santa Monica High School diploma on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on Wednesday from long-time friend and classmate Tony Todd, who volunteers his time as an assistant baseball coach for the Vikings.

Coming up just a credit short of his requirements in 1983, Sheen, who was born Carlos Estevez, was denied his diploma after an argument with a teacher. He spent the last 30 years hoping for the chance to redeem himself, but it was a little string pulling by Todd that helped pave the way to graduation.

After some assigned course work that Todd helped arrange, Sheen qualified for graduation in the spring and was expected to cross the stage with the class of 2013, but a mass shooting at nearby Santa Monica College that day put the ceremony in jeopardy.

Sheen decided that it would be in poor taste to cross the stage that day.

“I guess it just wasn’t meant to happen,” Sheen told Leno before the talk-show host produced a blue cap and gown and told the actor he had a surprise for him. Todd then came walking out from stage left with a diploma in hand.

“You can’t go to Kinkos and get this,” Todd said on the show. “This is the real deal.”

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent Sandra Lyon said the decision to grant Sheen a diploma was made by former Samohi Principal Laurel Fretz, who researched Sheen’s records and updated his transcripts to reflect his eligibility.

“He’s pumped,” Todd said of Sheen’s reaction. “It was an honor to give it to Charlie on the Jay Leno show.”

Todd initially broached the idea of doing the ceremony on TV and “Tonight Show” producers were immediately happy to accommodate.

“It was such a bummer when he couldn’t graduate with the kids,” Todd said of the June ceremony. “But, to do it this way, it was awesome.”

Sheen is a major booster for the Samohi baseball team, donating tens of thousands of dollars over the years to help improve the baseball field on campus.

 

daniela@smdp.com