Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist and Oscar-nominated actor Sam Shepard, has died at 73, a spokesperson for his family told the New York Times.
A multi-dimensional talent, Shepard won the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for drama for his play Buried Child and received an Academy Award nomination as best supporting actor for The Right Stuff for his portrayal of Chuck Yeager. He was married to actress Jessica Lange from 1982-2009.
In 2015, he appeared in Netflix’s dark family drama Bloodline as patriarch Robert Rayburn.
For his playwriting, Shepard won a Drama Desk award for his play A Life of the Mind and Obie awards for the off-Broadway plays La Tourista, Tooth of Crime, Curse of the Starving Class and the trilogy Chicago, Icarus’ Mother and Red Cross.
Shepard’s first produced the play Cowboys in 1964. He went on to write more than 40 produced plays, including True West, Curse of the Starving Class, Fool for Love and A Life of the Mind.
Fool for Love was adapted for the screen as Country in 1976, with Shepard co-starring with his future wife Lange. He made his screen acting debut in Bob Dylan‘s movie Renaldo and Clara. His film acting credits also include Steel Magnolias, playing the husband of the beauty shop owner; Terence Malick’s Days of Heaven, for which his movie career took off; Resurrection; Raggedy Man; Frances; Crimes of the Heart and Baby Boom.
As a screenwriter, Shepard wrote Paris, Texas, which won the Palme d’Or at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival. He had a screenwriting credit on Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point. More recently, he penned Don’t Come Knocking, which was directed by Wim Wenders. He also directed for film, including Far North.
Shepard also played drums in a band he formed called The Holy Modal Rounders, who were featured in Easy Rider, and he accompanied Bob Dylan on the Rolling Thunder Revue tour.
Two volumes of his prose and poetry were published, Hawk Moon and Motel Chronicles.
Shepard directed his plays at San Francisco’s Magic Theater and at the Royal Court in London. He was also active in the University of California, Davis Drama Workshop.
Samuel Shepard Rogers III was born in Illinois on Nov. 5,1943 and grew up in Cody, Wyo and Duarte, Calif. After a brief try at college, he dropped out to join a theater troupe. He began writing plays when pursuing an acting career in New York. Cowboys was based on his roommate and himself. His Western persona — jeans, boot, western shirt — bespoke his upbringing.
Shepard taught playwriting, leading classes and seminar at workshops and universities, including a turn as a Regents Professor at University of California, Davis.
He was honored with the Brandeis University Creative Arts Citation in 1976 and with the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in 1975.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.