- Fell in love with horses and farming while growing up in California, where one of his first jobs was working with horses at the Santa Anita Racetrack.
- Authored more than 40 plays, including Buried Child, winner of the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and the Tony-nominated True West.
- Played drums in the late-'60s folk band the Holy Modal Rounders, who were featured on the soundtrack of Easy Rider.
- Had a relationship with musician Patti Smith in the early 1970s; reunited with her for a poetry reading four decades later in New York.
- Collaborated with Bob Dylan on several works, including the 11-minute song "Brownsville Girl" on Dylan's album Knocked Out Loaded.
- Ironically suffered from a fear of flying (which he later overcame) at the time of his Oscar-nominated performance as pilot Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff (1983).
- Spent time writing and sharing ideas at the Santa Fe Institute, where a meeting with former CIA operative Valerie Plame helped him prepare for roles in Fair Game (2010) and Safe House (2012).
- 2007, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Nominee
- 2013, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Nominee
- 2014, Independent Spirit Awards — Robert Altman Award: Winner
- 2000, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television: Nominee
- 1996, Tony — Play: Nominee
- 1985, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Adapted Screenplay: Nominee
- 1999, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie: Nominee
- 1983, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Nominee
- 2000, Tony — Play: Nominee
- Jane Elaine Rogers — Mother
- Hannah Jane Shepard — Daughter
- Samuel Walker Shepard — Son
- Sandy Rogers — Sister
- Jessica Lange — Ex-significant Other
- Jesse Shepard — Son
- Patti Smith — Ex-significant Other
- Sam Shepard Rogers Jr. — Father
- Roxanne Rogers — Sister
- O-Lan Jones — Ex-wife
- Attended Mount San Antonio College, Walnut, California, United States
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