American playwright, screenwriter and actor Sam Shepard has passed away at the age of 73. After a long battle with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), Shepard spent his final moments surrounded by family at his home in Kentucky.
Sam Shepard leaves behind a legacy filled with success. He was the author of forty-four plays, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 for his play Buried Child. Many critics have praised him as one of the most influential writers in the Off Broadway movement, noting his capture of the darker side to the American family. Shepard also wrote a number of books and short stories along with a variety of essays and memoirs. In 2009, he was named the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a master in the field of American Dramas.
Shepard also made his mark in the world of film. Beginning with Terrence Malick’s 1978 Days of Heaven, Shepard starred alongside well-known actors Richard Gere and Brooke Adams. Shepard went on to star in several acclaimed films such a Philip Kaufman’s The Right Stuff and the 1991 drama Voyager, the former getting Shepard nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1983. In 1986, Shepard played the lead role in Fool for Love, a film adaptation of his own play being directed by Robert Altman. Known for more than just acting, Shepard worked as a writer behind several films, serving as the director to some as well.
Sam Shepard goes down in history as one of the most original voices of his generation. Surviving him are his children, Jesse, Hannah and Walker Shepard, and his sisters, Sandy and Roxanne Rogers. No plans have been made for a public memorial.
CGMagazine offers our heartfelt condolences to Sam Shepard’s friends and family, wishing them the best as they go through this difficult time.