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|Also Known As:||Samuel Shepard Rogers Iii||Died:|
|Born:||November 5, 1943||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Fort Sheridan, Illinois, USA||Profession:||actor, screenwriter, playwright, director, musician, car wrecker, busboy, orange picker, herdsman, sheep shearer, horse breeder, ranch hand, waiter|
Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY
ered good looks into movie stardom playing primarily Western characters that represent a dichotomy for the artist. He had a small role in the Hollywood biopic, "Frances" (1982), which introduced him to star and future companion, Jessica Lange, with whom he began a relationship while divorcing his wife, actress O-Lan Jones, in 1984.Despite being involved in theater for almost two decades at this point, Shepard had shied away from directing anything he wrote. That changed with "Fool for Love" (1983), which depicted a pair of quarreling lovers at a Mojave Desert motel and earned him his 11th overall OBIE award, but his first for Best Direction. Shepard next landed perhaps his most widely recognized film role, playing unflappable pilot Chuck Yeager in the epic drama about the birth of America's space program, "The Right Stuff" (1983). Shepard's restrained and minimalist performance - which mirrored the real life Yeager - was hailed by critics and audiences, including the man he portrayed on film. After starring opposite Lange in the rural drama, "Country" (1984), Shepard scripted Wim Wenders' atmospheric American odyssey "Paris, Texas" (1984), which won the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film...
ered good looks into movie stardom playing primarily Western characters that represent a dichotomy for the artist. He had a small role in the Hollywood biopic, "Frances" (1982), which introduced him to star and future companion, Jessica Lange, with whom he began a relationship while divorcing his wife, actress O-Lan Jones, in 1984.
Despite being involved in theater for almost two decades at this point, Shepard had shied away from directing anything he wrote. That changed with "Fool for Love" (1983), which depicted a pair of quarreling lovers at a Mojave Desert motel and earned him his 11th overall OBIE award, but his first for Best Direction. Shepard next landed perhaps his most widely recognized film role, playing unflappable pilot Chuck Yeager in the epic drama about the birth of America's space program, "The Right Stuff" (1983). Shepard's restrained and minimalist performance - which mirrored the real life Yeager - was hailed by critics and audiences, including the man he portrayed on film. After starring opposite Lange in the rural drama, "Country" (1984), Shepard scripted Wim Wenders' atmospheric American odyssey "Paris, Texas" (1984), which won the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. He next adapted his own play, "Fool for Love" (1985), for director Robert Altman, in which he also starred as Eddie, a cowboy drifter who re-enters the life of his old waitress lover (Kim Bassinger), rekindling both the passion and heated violence of their shared past.
Shepard made another triumphant return to the stage as writer and director with "A Lie of the Mind" (1986), a gritty three-act play about two families suffering the consequences of severe spousal abuse that was first staged off-Broadway at the Promenade Theater. Once again, the playwright earned several awards and accolades, including a Drama Desk Award and a New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best New Play. As his career progressed, Shepard began exploring other avenues of creative expression with more frequency, which left less time to focus on the theater. While early in his career he had at least one play - if not several - released just about every year, Shepard began writing fewer plays by the late 1980s, although the material he did produce was as challenging and engaging as ever. After producing the lesser-known "A Short Life of Trouble" (1987) and co-starring in the comedy "Baby Boom" (1987) opposite Diane Keaton, Shepard made his feature directorial debut with "Far North" (1988), an elliptical drama he wrote about the return of a citified woman (Jessica Lange) to her dour, repressive rural home in Minnesota, where she reverts to her childhood role of trying to prove herself to her injured father (Charles Durning).
Following a small, but noticeable role in "Steel Magnolias" (1989), Shepard co-starred in the contemporary Western, "Bright Angel" (1991), a desolate road movie about a Montana teenager (Dermot Mulroney) and a transient woman (Lili Taylor) who embark on a journey of self discovery after escaping their separate, but similarly troubled paths. After writing the blackmail drama "Simpatico" (1993) for the stage, Shepard made a return behind the camera for the metaphysical Western-cum-Greek tragedy, "Silent Tongue" (1994), which featured Alan Bates and the late River Phoenix. Following his induction into the Theater Hall of Fame in 1994, Shepard reunited with Chaikin for "When the World Was Green" (1996), a play commissioned for the Olympic Arts Festival in Atlanta and reprised for the Signature Theater Company's 1996-97 season that showcased several of his plays. Though Shepard declared the retrospective a bust, the offerings represented a cross-section of his work from old to new, demonstrating his range as a playwright. He was much more satisfied with a 1996 restaging of "Buried Child" on Broadway, directed by Gary Sinese, which earned a Tony Award nomination. Meanwhile, he published Cruising Paradise: Tales (1997), a collection of 40 short stories that explored the themes of solitude and loss.
As the new millennium approached, Shepard found himself in demand more as an actor, which gave him greater exposure to audiences, but unfortunately also limited his stage output for a spell. On the small screen, he starred as famed noir writer Dashiell Hammett in the made-for-television biopic, "Dash and Lily" (A&E, 1999). He next played a sheriff of an Old West town that actual turns out to be "Purgatory" (TNT, 1999). Following a co-starring role in "Snow Falling on Cedars" (1999) and a big screen adaptation of "Simpatico" (1999), Shepard played the Ghost of Hamlet's father in the contemporary adaptation of "Hamlet" (2000), which he followed with a supporting turn in "All the Pretty Horses" (2000). Back on the stage, he wrote "The Late Henry Moss" (2001), a minor work that covered the old ground of brothers struggling through a volatile relationship, which debuted at the Magic Theater. Continuing to act more than write, Shepard was seen in numerous onscreen projects, including "Black Hawk Down" (2001), "Swordfish" (2001) and "The Pledge" (2001).
As time wore on and the world became more darkly complex, Shepard's writing started becoming more political as a reflection of the times. With "The God of Hell" (2004), the playwright sought to tackle what he deemed "Republican fascism" by depicting a peaceful Wisconsin dairy farmer and his wife whose lives are destroyed by an overzealous and patriotic government employee. On the big screen, he co-starred in the psychological thriller "Blind Horizon" (2004), playing a busy small-town sheriff in New Mexico who is warned by a mysterious man (Val Kilmer) without any memory that the president will be assassinated. Following a small role in "The Notebook" (2004), Shepard teamed up with Wim Wenders again, writing the script for "Don't Come Knocking" (2005), the director's dark drama about a man (Shepard) trying to turn over a new leaf. He next played the commander of a top secret Navy squadron in "Stealth" (2005), followed by a supporting role in the Mexican Western "Bandidas" (2006). After narrating the endearing "Charlotte's Web" (2006), Shepard earned a SAG nomination for his performance in "Ruffian" (ABC, 2007). He played Frank James in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (2007), subsequently unveiled the play "Kicking a Dead Horse" (2007), starring Stephen Rea, and later appeared in Jim Sheridan's war-vet drama "Brothers" (2009).
In 2010, Shepard separated from Lange after decades together, though the two managed to keep the split under wraps for a while. After a small part in the tense, real-life-based drama "Fair Game" (2010), he made the unlikely move of taking on a lead role for "Blackthorn" (2011), a Western where he played an aged Butch Cassidy who must confront his outlaw past. Before long, Shepard turned up in numerous high-profile films, with a brief appearance in the crime movie "Killing Them Softly" (2012), featuring Brad Pitt, and a small role in the thriller "Safe House" (2012). Following a notable supporting part in the Southern Gothic tale "Mud" (2012), where he played a reluctant father figure to Matthew McConaughey's trouble-prone title character, he portrayed another flawed patriarchal role in the film adaptation of Tracy Letts's acclaimed play "August: Osage County" (2013), which found him acting opposite no less than Meryl Streep.eenwriter; the other an aimless drifter and thief - who encounter each other at their mother's home after years of separation. First performed at the Magic Theater in San Francisco, "True West" was revived on numerous occasions and starred several high-profile actors over the years, including Gary Sinese, John Malkovich, Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly. Meanwhile, thanks to his performance in "Days of Heaven," Shepard began landing other roles in features with greater regularity. Tall, lanky and brooding, he parlayed his weath
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CAST: (feature film)
Milestones close milestones
He received a 1967 Rockefeller Foundation grant and a 1968 Guggenheim Foundation grant.
Shepard was awarded a fellowship from Yale University in 1968 and one from the University of Minnesota in 1969
Brandeis University presented him with the Creative Arts Medal in 1976.
"I still haven't gotten over this thing of walking down the street and somebody recognizing you because you've been in a movie. There's this illusion that movie stars only exist in the movies. And to see one live is like seeing a leopard let out of the zoo." --Sam Shepard quoted in The New York Times, November 13, 1994.
About why betrayal is so central to his work: "I feel it's in my bones somehow. It's something that has not only affected me personally, being raised up in this country, but that is in the whole fabric of the culture. I can't put my finger on it and I don't have the cure for it and I would never pretend to. It certainly feels, as time goes by, that there is a very mysterious betrayal of some kind that we don't understand. We keep paying for it and paying for it and we don't know why we're paying for it. There's all kinds of sociological bullshit you can explain it away with--genocide, for example--but we can't seem to come to terms with it as Americans. We don't seem to be able to face what has actually become of us." --Shepard in Interview, June 1996.
Writing to Joseph Chaikin in 1983: "Something's been coming to me lately about this whole question of being lost. It only makes sense to me in relation to an idea of one's identity being shattered under severe personal circumstances--in a state of crisis where everything that I've previously identified with myself suddenly falls away. A shock state, I guess you might call it. I don't think it makes much difference what the shock itself is--whether it's trauma to do with a loved one or a physical accident or whatever--the resulting emptiness or aloneness is what interests me. Particularly to do with questions like home? family? the identification of others over time? people I've known who are now lost to me even though still alive." --Sam Shepard quoted in American Theatre, July-August 1997.
"The really tragic thing about [Oedipus] isn't that he lost his eyes. The tragic thing is that he did everything he could to get out of his fate, and he just went falling right into it ... That really compels me." --Sam Shepard to New York, February 2, 1998.
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