Pulitzer prize winning playwright, and stage/film/television actor Sam Shepard has passed away at 73 from complications with ALS. He died surrounded by family and loved ones at his home in Kentucky. He is survived by his children Jesse, Hannah, and Walker Shepard and his sisters Sandy and Roxane Rogers.
Shepard enjoyed a successful multi-hyphenate career, appearing in film, television, and Broadway. His most recent role was in the first season of Netflix’s Bloodline as the troubled family’s patriarch. He received an Academy award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in 1983 for The Right Stuff and a Pulitzer Prize in 1979 for his play Buried Child. Younger audiences will know him for playing Ryan Gosling’s father in the Nicholas Sparks hit The Notebook. Other of his notable works include The Pelican Brief, Black Hawk Down, Mud, and Swordfish.
Shepard was in a relationship with actress Jessica Lange from 1982 to 2009. In a cover interview with AARP The Magazine, prior to the actor’s passing, Lange said, “I wouldn’t call Sammy easygoing and funny, but everybody has their dark side, and he always does it with a sense of humor.”
See the outpouring of love on social media from Shepard’s Hollywood peers and admirers below.
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
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
A great man of the theater has passed. Thank you, Sam Shepard. RIP.
— jason alexander (@IJasonAlexander) 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
R.I.P. Sam Shepard – cowboy poet dramatist of the American family shadow. A legend.
— RainnWilson (@rainnwilson) July 31, 2017