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Sam Shepard, Veteran Screenwriter & Actor, Passes Away At 73-Years-Old

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Sam Shepard, a veteran American playwright, actor, author, screenwriter, and director, has passed away at the age of 73 years old. His cause of death is unknown at this time.

Shepard, who had been battling ALS for some time, died on July 30 at his home in Kentucky.

The author of forty-four plays as well as several books of short stories, essays, and memoirs, Shepard received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 for his play Buried Child.  In acting, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of pilot Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff in 1983.

Chris Boneau, a spokesman for Shepard’s family, said that the family “requests privacy at this difficult time.”

via Broadway World:

Shepard received the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a master American dramatist in 2009. New York described him as “the greatest American playwright of his generation.”

His many plays include: Cowboys, The Rock Garden, Chicago, Icarus’s Mother, 4-H Club, Red Cross, La Turista, Cowboys #2, Forensic & the Navigators, The Unseen Hand, Oh! Calcutta! (contributed sketches), The Holy Ghostly, Operation Sidewinder, Mad Dog Blues, Back Bog Beast Bait, Cowboy Mouth, The Tooth of Crime, Geography of a Horse Dreamer, Action, Angel City, Suicide in B Flat, Inacoma, Curse of the Starving Class, Buried Child, Tongues, True West, Savage/Love, Fool for Love, A Lie of the Mind, A Short Life of Trouble, Baby Boom, States of Shock, Simpatico, Tooth of Crime, Eyes for Consuela, The Late Henry Moss, The God of Hell, Kicking a Dead Horse, Ages of the Moon, Heartless and A Particle of Dread.

Throughout the years, Shepard has done a considerable amount of teaching on writing plays and other aspects of theatre. His classes and seminars have occurred at various theatre workshops, festivals, and universities. Shepard was elected to The American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1986. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1986.

Shepard, whose plays were known for their “bleak, poetic, often surrealist elements, black humor and rootless characters living on the outskirts of American society”, had been described as “the greatest American playwright of his generation.”

Shepard, who was together with Academy Award-winning actress Jessica Lange for nearly 30 years, is survived by his three children.

Shepard’s final play was A Particle of Dread (Oedipus Variations).


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