Pulitzer Winner Sam Shepard Dies At Age 73

Broadway World reports:

Broadway World has just learned that playwright, actor, author, screenwriter, and director Sam Shepard has passed away. Shepard, who had been ill with ALS for some time, died peacefully on July 30 at home in Kentucky, surrounded by his children and sisters. He was 73 years old.

Shepard is 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. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of pilot Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff (1983).

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.”

  • TuuxKabin

    A very bright light has gone out. What a . . . an everything to so many. Thank you, good sir. Goodbye. Rest in eternal love and peace. Condolences to all who know and love you. Pax.

  • Christopher
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  • Lakeview Bob

    Such a shame. ALS is a terrible disease.

    • FAEN

      Personally I’d rather end it than suffer through that.

      • Judas Peckerwood

        Yes. My ex died of it about a decade ago, and it is indeed a horrific way to go.

        • FAEN

          I’m so sorry matey. **Hugs**

  • Michael R
  • jimbo65

    RIP. Condolences to his children and family. Were he and Jessica Lange longtime partners?

    • FAEN

      They were but had gone their separate ways a few years ago.

  • Megrim Twist

    Very sad, another loss of a great talent. I love his playwriting. RIP Sam.

  • HZ81

    How awful. Loved him as an actor and playwright, of course.


  • TrueWords

    If you have read and/or seen Sam Shepard’s play “Buried Child”…do so…it is worthy of all the praise it received!!!


    • Gustav2

      Written almost 40 years before “Hillbilly Elegy”

  • seant426

    Baby Boom! Frances! Steel Magnolias!

  • bkmn

    Hadn’t heard he had ALS. Sad for his family and friends.

    • Oh’behr in Minnesota

      Neither had I …

  • Ander

    Wow. Sorry to hear this. Coincidentally, some friends and I were just discussing his performance in “Days of Heaven” the other night.

  • Oh’behr in Minnesota

    I’m not saying that I wouldn’t mind a certain narcissistic and petulant child masquerading as POTUS gone (at least impeached), yet if the cloaked one is knocking, why couldn’t it have been POTUS instead?

    • Jeffg166

      Don is on the list.

      • Oh’behr in Minnesota


  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    I guess I’m the one who has to write it. I always had a crush on him.


      You are not alone, friend.

      What a sad loss, so talented. In so many roles he exuded a delicately nuanced masculinity that was just so damned attractive.

  • Leo

    OT. Deplorables then: RASMUSSEN WAS THE BEST POLL! MAGA!
    Rassmussen: Hold my beer.
    Deplorables now: ALL THE POLLS ARE FAKE NEWS.

    • The_Wretched

      I had to read that twice – it’s the ‘strongly’ line. I then checked the overall – it’s at 38% approve. that’s critically above 35% ‘bombs start falling’ times.

    • Sam_Handwich

      same poll ..

      Border wall?

      37% yes
      56% no

      • The_Wretched

        Trump must have his realestate grifts in mind for the boarder wall and pay backs already lined up. That’s the only reason I can think of that makes sense. The political talking point doesn’t need an actual wall being built. And reality means that the wall cannot be built – there’s a river and mountains that would have to get the wall. Both places being notoriously hard from an engineering perspective.

        • Jeffg166

          Plus crossing privately held lands of rich people who don’t want it.

  • BeaverTales

    ALS is a horrible way to die. Just ask Jim Obergefell about his husband. At least his family was there for him in the end and the world recognized his achievements.

    Steel Magnolias is one of my mother’s favorite movies, maybe I’ll watch it with her again and we’ll talk about this man’s life.

  • Octavio

    In the mid 1970s there was this lanky and thin great male beauty with soft brown shoulder-length hair who could be seen hanging out at water front dives from North Beach to Fort Mason. I tried desperately to “run in” to him, but I never got close enough. Several years later I recognized him, sans long hair, showing up in films. Sheppard was the most beautiful man I ever laid eyes on. Such a tragedy he wasn’t bi.

    • stevenj

      I did run into him once in 2000. A friend was the bar manager at a small theater off Union Sq where his play The Late Henry Moss had just opened and had gotten some comp tickets for the hubby and I. Shepard was sitting by himself at the end of the lobby bar sipping a drink. Very soft spoken and all he said was “hope you enjoy the play”. I don’t think it was one of his more successful plays but the cast was dynamite – Sean Penn, Woody Harrelson and Cheech Marin! Really enjoyed some of his films – especially Days of Heaven and The Right Stuff. What a dreamboat.

  • TampaDink

    My late friend Gary, once he got to know my long suffering spousal unit decided to give him the nickname, Spud…based on similarities with Sam Shepard’s role in Steel Magnolias. So, naturally, I was given Truvy as my nickname. I’d shared that story with another friend of many years who never met Gary….and to this day, she refers to him as Spud. He’s as outgoing as ever.
    R.I.P. Mr. Shepard. Thank you for sharing your talents with the world.

  • Harveyrabbit

    RIP Sam Shepard.

    One of the things my ex and I did on our Honeymoon vaca in NYC years ago was go and see one of his plays “”Curse of the Starving Class” off Broadway.

    Thoroughly enjoyable and very thought provoking it wasn’t the kind of thing most people would do on a honeymoon LOL but we both agreed it was the best thing we did/saw while we were there.

  • Superman

    That scene in Baby Boom where Diane Keaton realizes he’s a veterinarian…it was such a funny scene and he was so handsome.

  • boatboy_srq

    WeAlso lost Jeanne Moreau.

  • Gerry Fisher

    I studied his “Buried Child” in a college literature class in the early 80s. I saw “Fool for Love” performed live, and it was excellent, thought provoking. RIP

    • Gerry Fisher

      The other night we went to see Sam’s play
      Doin’ the things that we want to
      It was very physical it held you to the stage
      Doin’ the things that he want to …

      The guy’s a cowboy from some rodeo
      Doin’ the things that we want to
      The girl had once loved him, but now she want to go
      Doin’ the things that we want to …

      The man was bullish, the woman was a tease
      Doin’ the things that we want to
      They fought with their words, their bodies and their deeds
      Doin’ the things that we want to
      When they finished fighting, they excited the stage
      Doin’ the things that we want to
      I was firmly struck by the way they had behaved
      Doin’ the things that we want to …

      It reminds me of the movies Marty made about New York
      Doin’ the things that we want to
      Those frank and brutal movies that are so brilliant
      Doin’ the things that we want to
      ‘Fool For Love’ meet ‘The Raging Bull’
      Doin’ the things that we want to
      They’re very inspirational, I love the things they do
      Doin’ the things that we want to …

      There’s not much you hear on the radio today
      Doin’ the things that we want to
      But you still can see a movie or a play
      Doin’ the things that we want to
      Here’s to ‘Travis Bickle’ and here’s ‘Johnny Boy’
      Doin’ the things that we want to
      Growing up in the mean streets of New York
      Doin’ the things that we want to

      I wrote this song ’cause I’d like to shake your hand
      Doin’ the things that we want to
      In a way you guys are the best friends I ever had
      Doin’ the things that we want to …


  • Ernest Endevor

    Steel Magnolias??? Not Days of Heaven?

  • JWC

    Another loss in the entertainment world…..sad

  • bJason

    Was lucky enough to work on productions (college) of two of his shows.
    Such a talent. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d02420df48ca64542d00298eb42f7b114c88c91b92a8a32fcc30a40e8d1e5849.jpg

  • coram nobis

    From “The Right Stuff”, Sam Shepard as Chuck Yeager (in the brown leather jacket, making pointed jokes about “spam in a can”), and in a cameo, the real Chuck Yeager as the old bartender in the hat.


  • Rebecca Gardner

    So sad. I really liked him as an actor. R.I.P.

    I see Joe has posted a clip from the greatest ChickFlick ever made. I love that movie so much. If you have Netflix check out “Cold in July.” I thought it was pretty good.

  • Derrick Johns

    I guess Shepard is the definition of an artist…an American artist.

  • Pat

    Really saddened by this. I didn’t know he had ALS, horrible disease. To me, he always was the quintessential American artist. His characters had a quiet confidence, a dignity and a depth of the positive values that we claim we hold dear. He was unique and will be sorely missed. Rest in peace.

  • JerryRich

    I had the privilege of seeing his play The Late Henry Moss (2000) in San Francisco before it opened Off-Off Broadway. Our cast featured Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Woody Harrelson, Cheech Marin, and James Gammon in the title role (the New York cast was much less starry). Seeing famous people in person always makes me nervous.

  • gothambear

    Fool for Love, Buried Child, True West – genius, RIP handsome talented man.