Samuel Shepard Rogers III born in November 5 1943 and died July 27 2017 Sam was an American playwright actor author screenwriter and director Born in Fort Sheridan Illinois he was named after his father a person he characterized as a drinking man and growing up in a dysfunctional environment is what reflected in his writings for years to come His father was a teacher farmer who served in the US air force as a bomber pilot durning WW2 Jane Elaine was his mother also a teacher and native of Chicago During his high school years Sam began acting and writing Working on the ranch as a teenager Sam decided to study animal husbandry shortly after graduating from high school Not very long after Sam dropped out and joined a theatre that took a stop at his town Bishop s company He hit the road and after almost 2 years of traveling he moved to New York city where a new chapter of his life began Shepard became involved in the off off broadway theatre scene when he got a job as a busboy at village gate nightclub He was introduced to the theatre through the head waiter Ralph Cook who worked at the same nightclub His plays started being staged at places like off off broadway and theatre genesis this was also the time he felt right to change his name to Sam Shepard Sam s initial writing was for stage and during the years of 1966 and 1968 he six Obie awards Winning six awards in the span of 2 years and at such a young age proved him worthy and he was presented the opportunity to screen write Me and my brother 1968 and Zebraiskie Point 1970
Shepard entered 70 s no longer a single man he married actress O lan Jones Dark and their first son Jesse Mojo was born in 1970 Through the late 60s and early 70s Shepard also played the drums for a psychedelic band called The Holy Modal Rounders Shepard relocated to London with his wife and son Shepard was involved in an extramarital affair with singer Patti Smith who didn t know who Shepard actually was in the beginning neither did she know his achievements Shepard play cowboys mouth was a coloration with then lover Patti and the story was based on their relationship After the relationship with Patti Smith ended Shepard abandoned the play cowboys mouth on the opening night Shepard wrote 5 plays during his time in London and won another Obie award in 1973 which was presented to him in the US later that year Sam relocated back to the States For a while he wrote plays out of his home he accompanied bob Dylan as a screenwriter on Renaldo and Clara 1978 since much of the film was improvised Shepards services were rarely used but they both went on to co write the 11 minute brownsville girl included on Dylan album a decade later In 1975 he was named playwright in residence at the magic theatre were he created many of his notable works Buried child 1978 which won the Pulitzer prize also got nominated for 5 Tony awards
Also in 1978 he began his acting career and his debut was a major role as he got casted in Terrence Malicks Days Of Heaven This let to other important roles like resurrection 1980 also in that year he wrote one of the plays that still regarded as the best True West At this point Shepard was in his prime he also went on to write fool for love 1983 till 1984 Shepard won a record breaking 10 Obie awards Shepard moved in with Jessica Lange on the set of a film and then went on to live for 30 years till they separated in 2009 In the beginning of his career shepard didn t direct his own plays but later on in the 70s he decided that his plays need his vision to direct and after that he directed most of his own plays Shepard worked on the movie The Right Stuff 1984 where he played the character of Chuck Yeager for which he got nominated for best supporting actor academy awards His play Fool for Love got a film adaptation directed by Robert Altman in which Sam himself played the lead role and at this time shepard was working steadily as an actor Over the years Shepard started teaching the craft of screen writing and other aspects of films giving workshops
Shepard claimed that he was always scared of flying due to the character In his 1966 play Icarus s Mother he went through an airline crash in his film Voyager and he finally pledged to never fly again after his very rocky trip to Mexico Jannary 3 2009 was the date when Shepard was arrested and charged with drunk reckless driving in Illinois He was guilty and charged with 24 months probation and 100 hours of community service Shepard was arrested again in 2015 in New Mexico for drunk driving While struggling with ALS he wrote his final work a novel Spy of The First Person it is based around a dying man and was published 5 months after his death Shepard died on July 27th 2017 at his home in Kentucky at the age of 73 from complications of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ALS His work is split between the Wittliff of Southwestern Writers Texas state University comprising 27 boxes and the harry ransom centre at the university of Austin Texas with 30 boxes
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