Join or Sign In

Sign in to customize your TV listings

Continue with Facebook Continue with email

By joining TV Guide, you agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

Writer and Actor Sam Shepard Dead at 73

Shepard was a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Emmy and Oscar-nominated actor

Liam Mathews

Sam Shepard, who the New York Times called "the greatest playwright of his generation" and who also earned acclaim for his acting -- most recently on Bloodline -- has died, the Times reports. He was 73.

Shepard passed Sunday, July 30 at his home in Kentucky. He had been battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Shepard was best known as a playwright. His play Buried Child won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 and earned him his legendary status. Some of his other plays include True West, Fool for Love and A Lie of the Mind.

As an actor, he earned an Academy Award nomination in 1983 for playing Air Force pilot Chuck Yeager in the movie The Right Stuff. He also appeared in movies like Days of Heaven, Steel Magnolias and The Notebook.

He was nominated for an Emmy in 1999 for playing the crime novelist Dashiell Hammett in the TV movie Dash and Lilly. His final and only TV series role was as Rayburn family patriarch Robert Rayburn on the Netflix thriller Bloodline.

Shepard was born on November 5, 1943 in Fort Sheridan, Ill. He moved to New York in 1963 and got involved in the Off-Off-Broadway theater scene. He dated Patti Smith, and their collaborative play Cowboy Mouth is based on their relationship. He was married to actress O-Lan Jones from 1969 to 1984, and was in a long-term relationship with Jessica Lange that ended in 2009. He's survived by his children Jesse, Hannah and Walker Shepard and his sisters, Sandy and Roxanne Rogers.