Playwright and actor Sam Shepard dead at 73

Sam Shepard in The Accidental Husband ©Entertainment Pictures/Keystone PressPulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Oscar-nominated actor Sam Shepard has died at the age of 73 from complications of Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS.

Shepard first gained prominence as a playwright, having written more than 40 plays over the course of his career, including True West and Fool for Love, both of which were produced on Broadway and were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Shepard won a Pulitzer in 1979 for his play Buried Child.

In more recent years, Shepard focused mainly on acting, appearing most recently on the Netflix original series Bloodline as the patriarch of the Rayburn family. Other notable performances include Beverly West in August: Osage County (2013), Frank James in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford  (2007), Frank Calhoun in The Notebook (2004) and Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff, for which he received a 1983 Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination.

Divorced, Shepard is survived by his three children — son Jesse from his marriage to O-Lan Jones, and daughter Hannah and son Samuel Walker Shepard from a longtime relationship with actor Jessica Lange. He is also survived by his sisters, Sandy and Roxanne. ~Alexandra Heilbron

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