Sam Shepard, the Pulitzer-winning playwright and Oscar-nominated actor, passed away last Thursday at the age of 73 due to complications from Lou Gehrig’s disease. A writer first, Shepard came up in New York’s Off-Off-Broadway scene in the 60’s at venues like La MaMa, and by 1979 won the Pulitzer for Buried Child, a part of his Family Trilogy, a cycle of plays that many consider to be his masterpiece. He was considered by many to be among the finest American playwrights of generation. His other works include Cowboy Mouth, Action, and Kicking a Dead Horse; he also wrote the screenplay for Wim Wenders’ film Paris, Texas, among other.
Shepard was also, in the beginning, an occasional actor, but he came to wider notice as a star on the screen after taking the lead in Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven in 1978. His portrayal of Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff in 1983 would warrant him an Oscar nomination. His other notable roles included August: Osage County, The Notebook, The Pelican Brief, and a recurring role on the Netflix series Bloodline.
Shepard leaves behind three children, one with his ex-wife the actress O-Lan Jones, and two with his longtime partner actress Jessica Lange. Shepard also had a relationship with collaborator Patti Smith.
A giant of the American theater and considered one of the greatest playwrights of his generation, friends, co-stars, famous fans and actors took to social media to commemorate the legend.
Jason Alexander, Tony-winning stage actor
Marcia Gay Harden, actress
Ava Duvernay, director
Marc Maron, actor and comedian
Piper Perabo, actress
Stuart Townsend, actor
Beau Willimon, creator of House of Cards
David Alan Grier, actor and comedian
Jordan Horowitz, producer of La La Land
Ron Galella, photographer
Constance Zimmer, actress
Sharon Lawrence, Shepard’s co-Star in The Only Thrill
Corey Cott, Broadway actor
Sasha Grey, actress
George Takei, actor
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