Sam Shepard, actor, playwright and director, has died at the age of 73.
He had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and died with family by his side on July 27.
BREAKING: Sam Shepard, actor and playwright, dies at 73, family spokesman says.
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 31, 2017
A family spokesperson said Monday that Shepard died Thursday at his home in Kentucky from complications related to Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Actor Ethan Hawke, who co-starred with Shepard in Snow Falling on Cedars (1999) and Hamlet (2000), remembered Shepard in a statement: “He was a poet of the first order. I’ve acted in many of his plays and directed A Lie of the Mind. He played my father twice on film. Some days he could be irascible. At other times he could be profoundly wise and kind. He was the writer any serious American actor of my generation cut their teeth on. It is a gross understatement to say, he will be missed.”
After news of his passing spread, condolences began pouring in on Twitter.
Sad. RIP Sam Shepard. One of the greatest to ever do it. Was a big inspiration for me when I was a theater student and later as a filmmaker. pic.twitter.com/Lry8M8wmic
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) July 31, 2017
Director, playwright, and actor, Sam Shepard (1943-2017). pic.twitter.com/S7JLzVdxfT
— TIFF (@TIFF_NET) 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. 💜
— Sasha Grey (@SashaGrey) 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
RIP Sam Shepard. Ride on, genius.
— marc maron (@marcmaron) July 31, 2017
In both prose & performance you were a beacon, guiding writers & actors to a deeper understanding of the human experience.
— Troy Baker (@TroyBakerVA) July 31, 2017
"I hate endings. Just detest them." — Sam Shepard pic.twitter.com/itu4IGaZnW
— Tim O'Brien (@TimOBrien) July 31, 2017
Sam Shepard. 1943-2017. pic.twitter.com/zPNSmutdyA
— City Lights Books (@CityLightsBooks) July 31, 2017
Actor. Playwright. Pulitzer Winner. Hair Icon. Sam Shepard passed away today at age 73. He was the epitome of having 'the right stuff.' pic.twitter.com/9uDjM5ulfI
— One Perfect Shot (@OnePerfectShot) July 31, 2017
Sad news to start the week, unfortunately: we've lost both legendary actress Jeanne Moreau and legendary playwright/actor Sam Shepard. RIP. pic.twitter.com/zTc07G1cnP
— The Black List (@theblcklst) 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
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
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
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
A great man of the theater has passed. Thank you, Sam Shepard. RIP.
— jason alexander (@IJasonAlexander) 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
R.I.P. Sam Shepard – cowboy poet dramatist of the American family shadow. A legend.
— RainnWilson (@rainnwilson) 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
— The Tony Awards (@TheTonyAwards) July 31, 2017
Shepard wrote more than 40 plays and won the Pulitzer Prize for drama for Buried Child in 1979.
“I always felt like playwriting was the thread through all of it,” Shepard said in 2011. “Theatre really when you think about it contains everything. It can contain film. Film can’t contain theatre. Music. Dance. Painting. Acting. It’s the whole deal. And it’s the most ancient. It goes back to the Druids. It was way pre-Christ. It’s the form that I feel most at home in, because of that, because of its ability to usurp everything.”
He went on to be Oscar-nominated for his role in the 1983 film The Right Stuff and starred in many other films including Black Hawk Down and Pelican Brief.
Shepard recently starred in the first season of the Netflix series Bloodline as the patriarch of a prominent Florida Keys family who tries to keep a web of secrets from destroying their lives.
Shepard is survived by his children, Jesse, Hannah and Walker Shepard and his sisters, Sandy and Roxanne Rogers.
—With files from The Associated Press