Actor and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard died Thursday at his home in Kentucky, the New York Times confirmed, due to complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease). He was 73.
Shepard was Oscar nominated for his supporting role as test pilot Chuck Yeager in “The Right Stuff,” and was most recently seen as the Rayburn family father in Netflix’s “Bloodline.” He was also a renowned playwright, winning the Pulitzer for drama in 1979 for “Buried Child.”
Shepard and Jessica Lange met on the set of the 1982 film “Frances” and were together for almost 30 years before separating in 2009. They had two children together, Hannah and Samuel. He was married to actress O-Lan Jones from 1969 to 1984, and they had a son, Jesse.
Stars reacted to Shepard’s passing, as the news broke on Monday, July 31:
Friends, go get yourself a copy of True West and read it. Read it out loud if you really want to know. Sam Shepard was a giant. https://t.co/IZl9tex3Qb
— Craig Mazin (@clmazin) July 31, 2017
First became a Sam Shepard fan as a playwright when I was in Buried Child @BU_SOT Tremendously talented actor as well. Gone too soon. RIP
— Michael Chiklis (@MichaelChiklis) July 31, 2017
Jeanne Moreau, Sam Shepard thank you for enlighten us at 24 frames per second. RIP pic.twitter.com/fPi6HTLnzp
— Antonio Banderas (@antoniobanderas) July 31, 2017
One of the most iconic shots in cinema was the final moment of Sam Shepard as Chuck Yeager in THE RIGHT STUFF. pic.twitter.com/G7YStE2XOU
— Steven Santos (@stevensantos) July 31, 2017
Sam Shepard is one of the greats. These eyes saw so much, and he wrote of what he saw with fearless, timeless honesty. RIP maestro. pic.twitter.com/pIY4FWxXtZ
— Beau Willimon (@BeauWillimon) July 31, 2017
Literally bumped into Sam Shepard many years ago, both of us on our way to see Pillow Man on Broadway. We had a great chat/walk. #hero RIP
— Don Cheadle (@DonCheadle) July 31, 2017
“When you hit a wall — of your own imagined limitations — just kick it in.” Sam Shepard was a brilliant artist who gave us all so much. #RIP pic.twitter.com/4REeI4pUjw
— Tribeca (@Tribeca) July 31, 2017
Sam Shepard the original subtweet pic.twitter.com/GrIHBIq6rQ
— Marc (@MarcSnetiker) July 31, 2017
“I hate endings. Just detest them.” — Sam Shepard pic.twitter.com/itu4IGaZnW
— Tim O’Brien (@TimOBrien) July 31, 2017
We’ve lost a national treasure, Sam Shepard has passed away… Playwright, actor, director, personification of cool. You will be missed. RIP
— Linden Ashby (@lindenashby) July 31, 2017
Sam Shepard. Whenever he came on-screen, you knew you were in good hands. A frame from “Days of Heaven.” May he rest in love. pic.twitter.com/DQc0fy7EqN
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) July 31, 2017
Shepard’s final film, “Never Here,” premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June 2017 and will be distributed by Vertical Entertainment.
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