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Entertainment Weekly


Sam Shepard, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and actor, dies at 73

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Sam Shepard, the celebrated playwright and Oscar-nominated actor, has died at the age of 73. A spokesman for Shepard’s family said that he died Thursday at his home in Kentucky of complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Shepard was one of the most influential and acclaimed playwrights of the past half century, whose output included True West, Fool for Love, and Buried Child, for which Shepard won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979. He also wrote the BAFTA-nominated script for Wim Wenders’ 1984 film Paris, Texas.

In addition to his work as a writer, Shepard found acclaim an actor and was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance as test pilot Chuck Yeagar in 1983’s The Right Stuff. Hit other screen credits included Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven, Steel Magnolias, Thunderheart, All the Pretty Horses, Black Hawk Down, The Notebook, Cold in July, and the Netflix series Bloodline.

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

Funeral arrangements will remain private, the family spokesman said. Plans for a public memorial have not yet been determined.