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Sam Shepard (1943 -2017)

Getty / AFP / Alberto Pizzoli

Sam Shepard (1943 -2017)

Sam Shepard, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Oscar-nominated actor, died Monday, July 31, 2017, according to multiple news sources. He was 73.

A representative for Shepard's family said he died of complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease.

Shepard won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1979 for his play “Buried Child.” He also received nominations for “True West” and “Fool for Love.” Shepard, who penned nearly four dozen plays, also had two Tony Award nominations.

Between 1964 and 2014, Shepard wrote stage and motion picture scripts including “Paris, Texas,” “Zabriskie Point,” “The God of Hell,” and “Kicking a Dead Horse.”


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Tall and handsome, Shepard played roles in films including “Days of Heaven,” “Frances,” “Crimes of the Heart,” “Steel Magnolias, and “Safe House.”

He was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar for playing the test pilot Chuck Yeager in 1983’s “The Right Stuff.”

Samuel Shepard Rogers III was born Nov. 5, 1943, in Fort Sheridan, Illinois. After moving to New York City, Shepard acted in small theaters while also writing plays.

Shepard once said he preferred acting onstage to doing films.

“You’re still much more afraid of the audience,” he told the Hartford (Connecticut) Courant in 2005, “and yet on the other hand, you desperately want to plunge into new territory. So every once in a while the real opportunity to make this leap gets handed to you. It’s like jumping into cold water.”

As for film, Shepard said movies are “all about narcissism. Terrence Malick called it ‘sanctioned vanity.’ Everything is attended to. ‘Would you like some Perrier? Anything we can do? May we throw ourselves on the ground in front of you?’ This unbelievable barrage of indulgence.”

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