Sam Shepard Dead at 73: Celebs Pay Tribute to Playwright - Rolling Stone
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Sam Shepard: Celebrities Pay Tribute to Legendary Playwright and Actor

Best known for capturing darker side of American family life, Sam Shepard worked with Julia Roberts, Jessica Lange, John Malkovich, Diane Keaton, Sissy Spacek and more

PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 18: Actor Sam Shepard poses for a portrait during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival at the Getty Images Portrait Studio at the Village At The Lift Presented By McDonald's McCafe on January 18, 2014 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

Pulitzer-winning playwright and actor Sam Shepard starred in 'The Right Stuff,' 'Steel Magnolias,' 'Crimes of the Heart and more movies.

Larry Busacca/Getty

Sam Shepard’s death Thursday spurred an outpouring of old Hollywood memories from some of the industry’s biggest stars, including Alyssa Milano, Antonio Banderas and Jason Alexander.

Shepard died at his Kentucky home surrounded by loved ones, his family announced Monday. The celebrated playwright and actor had been battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, family spokesperson Chris Boneau told ABC News. He was 73.

Over the course of his prolific career, Shepard wrote more than 40 plays and won the Pulitzer Prize for his drama, Buried Child, in 1979. He is one of the most influential early writers in the Off Broadway movement, and had a particular knack for capturing the darker side of American family life. (Common themes included combative spouses, siblings struggling to find their identities and the failed American Dream.)

Shepard also displayed his talents on-screen as well, most notably in his Oscar-nominated role in 1983’s The Right Stuff, as well as 1986’s Crimes of the Heart, 1989’s Steel Magnolias  and 1999’s Dash and Lilly. He most recently starred in Netflix’s 2015 Bloodline and had a role in this year’s Never Here, which hit theaters this past June.

He has worked with actors ranging from Julia Roberts, Diane Keaton and Sissy Spacek to John Malkovich, Meryl Streep and Richard Gere.

Shepard had a high-profile romance with Oscar-winning actress Jessica Lange from 1982 to 2009, and the pair welcomed two children. The actor also has a son from a previous relationship.

He is survived by his children – Jesse, Hannah and Walker Shepard – and his sisters, Sandy and Roxanne Rogers.

In This Article: Sam Shepard


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