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Sam Shepard

Sam Shepard, a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and Oscar-nominated actor best known for his role as Chuck Yeager in 1983 film "The Right Stuff," died Thursday, according to multiple reports. He was 73. reported Monday that Shepard died at his home in Kentucky, surrounded by his children and sisters. He had ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a nervous system disease that weakens the muscles. A family spokesperson confirmed his passing to The New York Times. Shepard, who New York magazine called “the greatest American playwright of his generation,” authored more than 40 plays. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 for his play, “Buried Child.”


  1. He was nominated twice more for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama -- once in 1983, for "True West," and again in 1984 for "Fool for Love."
  2. He was named playwright-in-residence at San Francisco's Magic Theatre in 1975, a title he held for a decade. During his time with the theatre he "bridged the gap between American realism and European absurdism with a voice all his own," former Artistic Director Larry Eilenberg said.
  3. “Sam changed the face of American theatre forever," Magic Theatre's Artistic Director Loretta Greco said in a statement. "He wanted us to feel his plays. He would say, when asked about the meaning of his work, that if he knew the answers he wouldn’t need to write anymore."
  4. Shepard was also a prolific actor, appearing in dozens of films between 1970 and 2017. His portrayal in "The Right Stuff" of war hero Yeager earned him an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor. In 1999, he was nominated for an Emmy for his portrayal of Dashiell Hammett in the television film "Dash and Lilly."
  5. Shepard recently starred in the first season of the Netflix series "Bloodline" as the patriarch of a prominent Florida Keys family who try to keep a web of secrets from destroying their lives.
  6. He is survived by his children, Jesse, Hannah and Walker Shepard, and his sisters, Sandy and Roxanne Rogers, according to the Times.
  7. The Associated Press contributed to this report.