Pulitzer-winning Playwright Sam Shepard Dies At 73

People Sam Sheppard

Shepard, who had been ill with ALS for some time, died peacefully on July 27 at his home in Kentucky, surrounded by his children and sisters. His 1978 play Buried Child won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, as well as another Obie; a 1996 revival was nominated for the Tony Award. He racked up almost 70 acting credits in his career as well, and was nominated for an Academy Award for his supporting role as pilot Chuck Yeager in 1983's space drama "The Right Stuff".

Mr. Shepard's output, and his standing as a pivotal theatrical force, declined in the new century, though he continued to act, direct and write. He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1986 and that same year was elected to The American Academy of Arts and Letters.

In addition to being a playwright, Shepard was also a screenwriter, penning the scripts for films like Michelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point in 1970 and Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas in 1984.

Since the 1960s, Shepard had published dozens of plays that made their way to the stage, developing a reputation for bleak stories about people on the fringes of US society. Cowboys, A Life of the Mind, Fool for Love and his trilogy Chicago, Icarus's Mother and Red Cross are among his many noted stage productions.

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More recent screen credits included "August: Osage County" (2013) and the Netflix TV series "Bloodline", in which he portrayed Robert Rayburn. My agent was going insane.

Shepard poses with Canadian actress and director Sarah Polley, his co-star in Don't Come Knocking, at Cannes in May 2005.

When asked about his performances on stage, he said he wasn't quite as comfortable as on screen. His New York agent, Patrick Herold of ICM Partners, would not confirm the death and declined to comment, according to his office. "You just sit there. You do less. I find the whole situation of confronting an audience terrifying". In February 2007, Knopf published Shepard's first work of long fiction, The One Inside. He is survived by three children. "RIP maestro." - Writer-producer Beau Willimon on Twitter. "Even when you didn't like something he'd done, you were glad you saw it".


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