America has lost another beloved actor and playwright. Sam Shepard, best known for his performance as Chuck Yeager on ‘The Right Stuff’ passed away on Monday as a result of complications from Lou Gehrig’s disease. The Shepard family confirmed his passing on Monday.
Sam Shepard was seen as one of the last remaining actors from Hollywood’s Golden era. Shepard had a lengthy film resume including roles in ‘Days of Heaven’ and ‘Baby Boom.’ Unlike most celebrities, he was not looking for the glitz and glamour. He preferred to be portraying a handful of characters at the National Theatre. He wrote and performed in many plays including ‘True West,’ ‘Fool for Love’ and ‘Buried Child.’ Mr. Shepard delivered strong performances as the classic cowboy and homesteader and created characters that many had not seen in performances before such as dysfunctional families who could resort to violence.
He was a classic star in Hollywood, he was the handsome, rough and tough gentleman with a gravel-voice. Shepard was the son of a bomber-pilot, which caused him to be cast as military heroes such as General Garrison in Black Hawk Down. Through his entire life, Sam Shepard was able to complete 44 plays, more than William Shakespeare.
Shepard’s first off-Broadway performance was in Cowboy Mouth along with his former girlfriend Patti Smith. Shepard excelled in using the themes and ideas of Greek plays and updating them for 20th Century America.
Shepard continued to perform both in front and behind the camera. Most recently he was a main character in Netflix’s original series ‘Bloodline’ which released its final season earlier this year. Shepard’s work has received a Pulitzer Prize and been nominated for multiple Pulitzer prizes. His work on film caused him to be nominated for an Academy Award in 1984, for his work in ‘The Right Stuff.’