Nationality: American. Born: Samuel Shepard Rogers VII in Fort Sheridan, Illinois, 5 November 1943. Education: Attended Mount Antonio Junior College, Walnut, California, 1960–61. Family: Married 1) the actress O-Lan Johnson, 1969 (divorced), son: Jesse Mojo; children with the actress-producer Jessica Lange, daughter: Hannah Jane, and son: Samuel Walker. Career: 1962—joined a theatrical repertory group but left the next year; by 1966 several of his one-act plays had been produced off-Broadway; by the late 1960s began to write film scripts and continued to write plays which were performed nationwide; 1978—selected to play the lead in Days of Heaven , his first of several major acting roles; 1988—wrote and directed Far North , and Silent Tongue , 1993; 1995—in TV mini-series Streets of Laredo . Awards: Three Obie Awards, 1965–66; Brandeis University Creative Arts Medal, 1976; Pulitzer Prize, for play Buried Child ,
Bronco Bullfrog (Platts-Mill) (as Jo)
Days of Heaven (Malick) (as the Farmer); Renaldo and Clara (Dylan) (+ co-sc)
Resurrection (Daniel Petrie) (as Cal Carpenter)
Raggedy Man (Fisk) (as Bailey)
Frances (Clifford) (as Harry York)
The Right Stuff (Kaufman) (as Chuck Yeager)
Country (Pearce) (as Gil Ivy); Paris, Texas (Wenders) (+ sc)
Fool for Love (Altman) (as Eddie, + sc)
Crimes of the Heart (Beresford) (as Doc Porter)
Baby Boom (Shyer) (as Dr. Jeff Cooper)
Steel Magnolias (Ross) (as Spud Jones)
Defenseless (Martin Campbell) (as George Beutel); Voyager ( Homo Faber ) (Schlöndorff) (as Walter Faber); Bright Angel (Fields) (as Jack Russell)
Thunderheart (Apted) (as Frank Coutelle)
The Pelican Brief (Pakula) (as Thomas Callahan)
Safe Passage (Ackerman) (as Patrick Singer)
Lily Dale (Masterson—for TV) (as Peter Davenport)
The Only Thrill (Masterson) (as Reece McHenry)
Snow Falling on Cedars (Hicks) (as Arthur Chambers); Curtain Call (Yates) (as Will Dodge); Purgatory (Edel—for TV) (as Sheriff Forrest/Wild Bill Hickok); Dash and Lilly (Kathy Bates—for TV) (as Dashiell Hammett)
Hamlet (Almereyda) (as Ghost); One Kill (Menaul—for TV) (as Major Nelson Gray); All the Pretty Horses (Thornton) (as Banker)
Me and My Brother (Frank) (co-sc)
Zabriskie Point (Antonioni) (co-sc)
Oh! Calcutta! (Aucion) (co-sc)
True West (Sinise and Goldstein—for TV) (+ pr)
Curse of the Starving Class (McClary—for TV)
Five Plays (includes Chicago , Icarus's Mother , Fourteen Hundred Thousand , Red Cross , Melodrama Play ), Indianapolis, 1967.
La Turista , Indianapolis, 1968.
Operation Sidewinder , Indianapolis, 1970.
Mad Dog Blues and Other Plays (includes Cowboy Mouth , Cowboys No. 2 ), New York, 1971.
The Unseen Hand and Other Plays (includes The Rock Garden , 4-H Club , Forensic and the Navigators , Cowboys No. 2 , The Holy Ghostly , Shaved Splits , Back Bog Beast Bait ), Indianapolis, 1971.
The Tooth of Crime and Geography of a Horse Dreamer , New York, 1974.
Action and The Unseen Hand , London, 1975.
Angel City and Other Plays (includes The Rock Garden , Cowboys No. 2 , Cowboy Mouth , Mad Dog Blues , Action , Killer's Head , Curse of the Starving Class ), New York, 1976.
Buried Child and Other Plays (includes Suicide in Bb: A Mysterious Overture , Seduced ), New York, 1979.
Buried Child and Seduced and Suicide in Bb: A Mysterious Overture , London, 1980.
Four Two-Act Plays (includes La Turista , The Tooth of Crime , Geography of a Horse Dreamer , Operation Sidewinder ), New York, 1980.
Seven Plays (includes Buried Child , Curse of the Starving Class , The Tooth of Crime , La Turista , True West , Tongues , Savage/Love ), New York, 1981.
True West , London, 1981.
Chicago and Other Plays , 1982.
Fool for Love and The Sad Lament of Pecos Bill on the Eve of Killing His Wife , San Francisco, 1983.
Fool for Love and Other Plays (includes Angel City , Cowboy Mouth , Suicide in Bb: A Mysterious Overture , Seduced , Geography of a Horse Dreamer , Melodrama Play ), New York, 1984.
States of Shock , New York, 1991.
Simpatico , New York, 1995.
Joseph Chaikin & Sam Shepard: Letters and Texts , edited by Barry Daniels, New York, 1994.
Hawk Moon: A Book of Short Stories, Poems, and Monologues , Los Angeles, 1973.
Rolling Thunder Logbook , New York, 1977.
Motel Chronicles , with photographs by Johnny Dark, San Francisco, 1982.
Paris, Texas (screenplay), with Wim Wenders, edited by Chris Sievernich, NewYork, 1984.
Joseph Chaikin and Sam Shepard: Letters and Texts: 1972–1984 , edited by Barry Daniels, New York, 1989.
Cruising Paradise , New York, 1996.
"Sam Shepard, Writer on the Way Up," interview with Mel Gussow, in New York Times , 12 November 1969.
"Metaphors, Mad Dogs, and Old Time Cowboys," interview with Kenneth Chubb, in Theatre Quarterly , August/October, 1974.
"Saga of Sam Shepard," interview with Robert Coe, in New York Times Magazine , 23 November 1980.
"The New American Hero," interview with Pete Hamill, in New York , 5 December 1983.
"Myths, Dreams, Realities—Sam Shepard's America," interview with Michiko Kakutani, in New York Times , 29 January 1984.
"The Natural," interview with Blanche McCrary Boyd, in American Film , October 1984.
"Who's That Tall, Dark Stranger?," interview with Jack Kroll, in Newsweek (New York), 11 November 1985.
"Strong Words," interview with Jonathan Cott, in Vogue (New York), September 1988.
"The Man on the High Horse," interview with Jennifer Allen, in Esquire (New York), November 1988.
Auerbach, Doris, Sam Shepard, Arthur Kopit, and the Off-Broadway Theatre , Boston, 1982.
Shewey, Don, Sam Shepard: The Life, the Loves behind the Legend of a True American , New York, 1985.
Oumano, Ellen, Sam Shepard: The Life and Work of an American Dreamer , New York, 1986.
Marranca, Bonnie, American Dreams: the Imagination of Sam Shepard , 1981.
DeRose, David J., Sam Shepard , New York, 1992.
Tucker, Martin, Sam Shepard , New York, 1992.
Bottoms, Stephen J., The Theatre of Sam Shepard: States of Crisis , Cambridge, 1998.
Callens, Johan, Sam Shepard—Between the Margins and the Centre , 1998.
Taav, Michael, A Body Across the Map: the Father-Son Plays of Sam Shepard , 1999.
Pyle, F., "One Bad Movie Too Many: Sam Shepard's Visions of Excess," in Velvet Light Trap (Austin), Fall 1993.
Brantley, Ben, "Sam Shepard, Storyteller," in New York Times , 13 November 1994.
"Fool for Sam," in Village Voice (New York), in 20 February 1996.
Schiff, Stephen, "Shepard on Broadway," in New Yorker , 22 April 1996.
Marks, Peter, "Sam Shepard Is Happy to Be on Broadway, but It's Just a Visit," in New York Times , 28 May 1996.
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Sam Shepard has spent almost his entire adult life as an artist. He has written numerous plays, has published short fiction and screenplays, and has acted, directed, and collaborated on a variety of film projects with artists ranging from Bob Dylan to Wim Wenders.
After a brief stint with a theatrical repertory group and writing several one-act plays that were produced off-Broadway, it was the "transformation" techniques of actor-director Joseph Chaikin in the mid-sixties that inspired Shepard to act. Many of his film characters are concealed and enigmatic, a reflection of his own publicityshy nature.
Shepard made his feature motion picture debut when director Terrence Malick cast him as a wealthy and mysterious farmer in Days of Heaven . In 1980 he co-starred opposite Ellen Burstyn in Resurrection . He was featured in Raggedy Man with Sissy Spacek, and then co-starred with Jessica Lange in Frances , where the two met and established a long-term relationship. He followed his performance in Frances with one as test pilot Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Again he teamed with Jessica Lange in Country , then played the starring role of "Eddie" in his own screen adaptation of his long-running play Fool for Love , directed by Robert Altman. He also appeared in Crimes of the Heart with Diane Keaton, Lange, and Spacek; followed by Baby Boom with Keaton; Steel Magnolias ; and nonlead roles in Thunderheart , The Pelican Brief , and Safe Passage . He made his film directing debut with Far North in 1988.