Sam Shepard, actor and award-winning playwright, dead at 73


Posted on: July 31st, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

Larry Busacca/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Sam Shepard — best-known to most as an actor but even more acclaimed as an award-winning playwright — has died at age 73.

A statement provided to ABC News on behalf of his family reads, in part, “Playwright and actor, Sam Shepard, passed away at his home in Kentucky on Thursday, July 27 from complications from ALS. Born in Fort Sheridan, Illinois, Mr. Shepard, who was 73, was with his family at the time of his death.

“The family requests privacy at this difficult time,” the statement concludes.

Samuel Shepard Rogers III had over four dozen film roles to his credit, and received an Oscar nod for playing Chuck Yeager in 1983’s The Right Stuff.  He had other notable roles in films including Days of Heaven in 1978, his first high-profile screen role, 1986’s Crimes of the Heart, Steel Magnolias three years later, The Pelican Brief in 1993, 2001’s Black Hawk Down, and The Notebook in 2004.  Most recently, he had a recurring role on Netflix’s Bloodline.

But even with his impressive film work, it’s as a playwright that Shepard made his most profound mark.  Hailed as one of America’s finest theatrical writers, Shepard won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979, for his play Buried Child, and was nominated twice more.  He also won ten Obie Awards, and was honored with dozens of other awards wins and nominations.   

Shepard was also a director, writer and educator.  While appearing in the 1982 film Frances, Shepard fell in love with star Jessica Lange.  The pair married that year and had two children together.  Lange and Shepard separated in 2009.

Funeral arrangements remain private, according to the family statement.  Plans for a public memorial have not yet been determined.

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