Sam Shepard 1943-2017


Some sad news to start the week as we are just learning that respected actor and Pultizer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard reportedly passed away last Thursday at his home in Kentucky. His death was a result of complications from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) aka Lou Gehrig’s disease. Shepard is best known to most people for his roles in movies like The Right Stuff, Days of Heaven and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, but he was also an acclaimed playwright and screenwriter who won the Pulitzer Prize for his play Buried Child in 1979. He was 73 years old.

Shepard got his start in theatre in the early ’60s, winning several Obie Awards before Hollywood came calling, leading to writing gigs like Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point. Throughout the ’70s he continued to write for the stage and collaborated with iconic musicians like Bob Dylan and Patti Smith. He started his acting career by playing The Farmer in Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven and a few years later landed the role of Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff, for which he earned an Academy Award nomination.

He co-wrote the screenplay for Wim Wenders’ 1984 road movie Paris, Texas and soon after went on to star in Robert Altman’s adaptation of his own play Fool for Love. Other major film credits over the years include Steel Magnolias, Resurrection, Black Hawk Down, The Notebook, The Pledge and Mud. He also had a recurring role on the Netflix series Bloodline and his final film is the Camille Thoman thriller Never Here. What are your favourite Sam Shepard works?

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  • Flo Lieb

    Didn’t even know he had ALS. Saw him last on Bloodline: Season 1, what a shame.