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Sam Shepard, the Oscar-nominated actor and Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist, died on Thursday from complications from ALS. The playwright and actor passed away at his home in Kentucky and was with his family at the time of his death. He was 73.
The multidimensional talent, who most recently appeared on Netflix’s Bloodline, received an Academy Award nomination as best supporting actor for his portrayal of Chuck Yeager in 1983’s The Right Stuff and won the 1979 drama Pulitzer Prize for his play Buried Child.
The Black Hawk Down and Pelican Brief star was in a relationship with actress Jessica Lange from 1982 to 2009. “I wouldn’t call Sammy easygoing and funny, but everybody has their dark side, and he always does it with a sense of humor,” Lange said about Shepard in an interview conducted prior to the news of his death for this month’s AARP The Magazine cover story.
Plans for a public memorial have not yet been determined and funeral arrangements remain private, the family announced on Monday. He is survived by his children, Jesse, Hannah and Walker Shepard, and his sisters, Sandy and Roxanne Rogers.
Reactions from Shepard’s peers were quick to pour in after the news broke. See the social media tributes and reflections below.
So sad to hear about Sam Shepard passing. A truly original actor and an incredible writer. Sending love to his family. #RIP
— Reese Witherspoon (@RWitherspoon) July 31, 2017
Sam Shepard’s work was loved by theatergoers, cowboys, rock stars, hippies, Hollywood, literati, and fans of The Notebook. So, everyone.
— Mara Wilson (@MaraWilson) July 31, 2017
There’s a restaurant in the East Village we refer to as the Sam Shepard restaurant because we saw him there once. This will continue.
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) July 31, 2017
Sam Shepard. Whenever he came on-screen, you knew you were in good hands. A frame from “Days of Heaven.” May he rest in love. pic.twitter.com/DQc0fy7EqN
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) July 31, 2017
Literally bumped into Sam Shepard many years ago, both of us on our way to see Pillow Man on Broadway. We had a great chat/walk. #hero RIP
— Don Cheadle (@DonCheadle) July 31, 2017
I had the honor of playing Sam Shepard’s son in one of my first films. He was a class act whose work profoundly influenced me & the world.
— Paul Wesley (@paulwesley) July 31, 2017
— The Tony Awards (@TheTonyAwards) July 31, 2017
A great man of the theater has passed. Thank you, Sam Shepard. RIP.
— jason alexander (@IJasonAlexander) July 31, 2017
Sam Shepard was a towering figure in American theater and film. He indeed had “the right stuff.” His voice will truly be missed. https://t.co/gkkK8KHxum
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) July 31, 2017
Heartbroken to loose our great American playwright, Sam Shepard a real cowboy heart, a real artist. pic.twitter.com/dw0ojUYbsF
— Piper Perabo (@PiperPerabo) July 31, 2017
Sam Shepard. A legend. Rest in peace.
— Emile Hirsch (@EmileHirsch) July 31, 2017
RIP Sam Shepard. Ride on, genius.
— marc maron (@marcmaron) July 31, 2017
Jeanne Moreau, Sam Shepard thank you for enlighten us at 24 frames per second. RIP pic.twitter.com/fPi6HTLnzp
— Antonio Banderas (@antoniobanderas) July 31, 2017
Such sad news. https://t.co/Qei4QmoPup
— Owen Teague (@RealOwenTeague) July 31, 2017
Goodby to Sam Shepard, a true American icon of letters. “Is that a man?” “You’re damn right is is!”
— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) July 31, 2017
A hero of theatre. A hero of writing. A hero of acting. A hero of mine. Sam Shepard RIP.
— Nikolaj CosterWaldau (@nikolajcw) July 31, 2017
— Ron Perlman (@perlmutations) July 31, 2017
Sam Shepard is one of the greats. These eyes saw so much, and he wrote of what he saw with fearless, timeless honesty. RIP maestro. pic.twitter.com/pIY4FWxXtZ
— Beau Willimon (@BeauWillimon) July 31, 2017
First became a Sam Shepard fan as a playwright when I was in Buried Child @BU_SOT Tremendously talented actor as well. Gone too soon. RIP
— Michael Chiklis (@MichaelChiklis) July 31, 2017
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) July 31, 2017
Sam Shepard, Patti Smith, NYC, 1971 pic.twitter.com/2czI5o5sTE
— John DeVore (@JohnDeVore) July 31, 2017
RIP Sam Shepard, too young. Loved acting in his stuff way back when I was a more actorly actor. So much fun. https://t.co/AqVkhbNX5e
— Bill Corbett (@BillCorbett) July 31, 2017
And now Sam Shepard pic.twitter.com/vF85U6hNWM
— Larry Karaszewski (@Karaszewski) July 31, 2017
There’s gonna be a general lack of toast in the neighborhood this morning. Goodbye Sam Shepard.
— Thomas Lennon (@thomaslennon) July 31, 2017
Sam Shepard has long been a hero of mine. A versatile artist with an unflinching style entirely his own. A renegade renaissance man. RIP.
— John Gallagher, Jr. (@JohnGallagherJr) July 31, 2017
I had the privilege of working with Sam Shepard when I was very young. I remember a very giving a generous man. Sad to see him go. pic.twitter.com/TNpgPnviBT
— Jesse Lee Soffer (@jesseleesoffer) July 31, 2017
R.I.P. Sam Shepard – cowboy poet dramatist of the American family shadow. A legend.
— RainnWilson (@rainnwilson) July 31, 2017
RIP Sam Shepard. A true hero is gone. I’ll always be thankful for his reality, his honesty, his art. Condolences to his family. pic.twitter.com/YUOmewDHvS
— Sasha Grey (@SashaGrey) July 31, 2017
Paul just said “He left us a lot” about Sam Shepard. He’s right.
— zoe kazan (@zoeinthecities) July 31, 2017
We lost a true legend today. One that created characters and stories beyond genius. RIP Sam Shepard. Truly one of the best.
— Corey Cott (@NapOnACott) July 31, 2017
Sam Shepard!!! NO. Not acceptable. He made me, he made all of us, want to be better, deeper, more imaginative, more terrifying on the page
— Sarah Treem (@SarahTreem) July 31, 2017
— Tribeca (@Tribeca) July 31, 2017
“I think without writing I would feel completely useless.”
Sam Shepard — here with Wim Wenders — the screenwriter behind PARIS, TEXAS. pic.twitter.com/QJqnIMzRkN
— TIFF (@TIFF_NET) July 31, 2017
Friends, go get yourself a copy of True West and read it. Read it out loud if you really want to know. Sam Shepard was a giant. https://t.co/IZl9tex3Qb
— Craig Mazin (@clmazin) July 31, 2017
I have the nicest memories of Sam Shepard. Knew him for a brief moment in time. The only actor I’ve ever worked with who wanted to hang out every night after shooting and every night I looked forward to it. @diane_keaton called him captivating. He truly was…
A post shared by Nancy Meyers (@nmeyers) on
I had the pleasure of working with Sam Shepard twice. It was first Black Hawk Down and more recently Bloodline. I never got to know him very well but what I did know was extraordinary. One of my favorite moments with him was playing the Ukelele with him at lunch. He had been working on “You are my sunshine” and we played it till it was time to shoot. He actually plays the song in Bloodline. It’s a memory I will always keep. He was the real thing. Rest In Peace.
A post shared by enriquemurciano (@enriquemurciano) on
A post shared by Linda Cardellini (@lindacardellini) on
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