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Shepard, Sam

SHEPARD, Sam



Writer, Director, and Actor. Nationality: American. Born: Samuel Shepard Rogers VII, Fort Sheridan, Illinois, 5 November 1943. Education: Attended Duarte High School, California, graduated 1960; Mount San Antonio Junior College, Walnut, California, 1960–61. Family: Married 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: Hot walker on the Santa Anita racetrack; stable hand; sheepherder and shearer; orange picker; 1962—actor with Bishop's Company Repertory Company, Burbank, California; car wrecker, Massachusetts; 1963–64—bus boy; 1964—first play produced, Cowboys; 1971–74—moved to England; 1974—returned to the U.S. Awards: Obie award, 1967, 1970, 1973, 1975, 1978 (two), 1980, 1984; Pulitzer Prize, 1979. Agents: Toby Cole, 234 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036, U.S.A.


Films as Writer:

1968

Me and My Brother (Frank) (co-sc)

1970

Zabriskie Point (Antonioni) (co)

1971

Ringaleevio; Oh! Calcutta! (Levy) (co)

1978

Renaldo and Clara (Dylan) (co)

1984

Paris, Texas (Wenders)

1985

Fool for Love (Altman) (+ ro as Eddie)

1988

Far North (+ d)

1992

Silent Tongue (+ d, ro)

1994

Curse of the Starving Class (McClary)

1999

Simpatico (Warchus)

Films as Actor:

1969

Bronco Bullfrog (Platts-Mill) (as Jo)

1970

Brand X

1978

Days of Heaven (Malick) (as the Farmer)

1980

Resurrection (Daniel Petrie) (as Cal Carpenter)

1981

Raggedy Man (Fisk) (as Bailey)

1982

Frances (Clifford) (as Harry York)

1983

Joe Chairkin Going On (Gomer); The Right Stuff (Kaufman) (as Chuck Yeager)

1984

Country (Pearce) (as Gil Ivy)

1986

Crimes of the Heart (Beresford) (as Doc Porter)

1987

Baby Boom (Shyer) (as Dr. Jeff Cooper)

1989

Steel Magnolias (Ross) (as Spud Jones)

1991

Defenseless (Martin Campbell) (as George Beutel); Voyager (Homo Faber) (Schlöndorff) (as Walter Faber); Bright Angel (Fields) (as Jack Russell)

1992

Thunderheart (Apted) (as Frank Coutelle)

1993

The Pelican Brief (Pakula) (as Thomas Callahan)

1994

Safe Passage (Ackerman) (as Patrick Singer)

1995

The Good Old Boys

1996

Lily Dale (Masterson—for TV) (as Peter Davenport)

1998

The Only Thrill (Masterson) (as Reece McHenry)

1999

One Kill; Curtain Call (Yates) (as Will Dodge); Purgatory (Edel—for TV) (as Sheriff Forrest/Wild Bill Hickok); Dash and Lilly (as Dashiell Hammett); Snow Falling on Cedars (Hicks) (as Arthur Chambers)

2000

Hamlet (as Ghost); One Kill (for TV—as Major Nelson Gray); Texas; The Pledge; All the Pretty Horses (as Banker)

2001

Wild Geese (as Caleb Gare); Just to Be Together

Publications


By SHEPARD: plays—

Five Plays (includes Chicago, Icarus's Mother, Fourteen Hundred Thousand, Red Cross, Melodrama Play), Indianapolis, 1967.

La Turista, Indianapolis, 1968.

Operation Sidewinder, Indianapolis, 1970.

The Unseen Hand and Other Plays (includes The Rock Garden, 4-H Club, Forensic and the Navigators, Cowboys #2, The Holy Ghostly, Shaved Splits, Back Bog Beast Bait), Indianapolis, 1971.

Mad Dog Blues and Other Plays (includes Cowboy Mouth, Cowboys #2), New York, 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 #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 B Flat, Seduced), New York, 1979.

Four Two-Act Plays (includes La Turista, The Tooth of Crime, Geography of a Horse Dreamer, Operation Sidewinder), New York, 1980.

Buried Child, and Seduced, and Suicide in B Flat, London, 1980.

True West, London, 1981.

Seven Plays (includes Buried Child, Curse of the Starving Class, The Tooth of Crime, La Turista, True West, Tongues, Savage/Love), New York, 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 B Flat, Seduced, Geography of a Horse Dreamer, Melodrama Play), New York, 1984.

A Lie of the Mind, New York, 1987.

States of Shock, Far North, Silent Tongue, New York, 1993.

Simpatico: A Play in Three Acts, New York, 1996.

The Unseen Hand and the Other Plays, New York, 1996.

Buried Child, New York, 1996.

Eyes for Consuela, New York, 1998.


By SHEPARD: other books—

Hawk Moon: A Book of Short Stories, Poems, and Monologues, Los Angeles, 1973.

Rolling Thunder Logbook, New York, 1977.

Motel Chronicles, San Francisco, 1982; as Motel Chronicles and Hawk Moon, London, 1985.

With Wim Wenders, Paris, Texas (screenplay), edited by Chris Sievernich, New York, 1984.

Cruising Paradise: Tales, New York, 1996.


By SHEPARD: articles—

Inter/View (New York), vol. 1, no. 3, 1969.

American Film (Washington, D.C.), vol. 10, no. 1, October 1984.

Interview (New York), vol. 18, no. 9, September 1988.


On SHEPARD: books—

Marranca, Bonnie, editor, American Dreams: The Imagination of Sam Shepard, New York, 1981.

Patraka, Vivian M., and Mark Siegel, Shepard, Boise, Idaho, 1985.

Shewey, Don, Sam Shepard, New York, 1985.

Oumano, Ellen, Sam Shepard: The Life and Work of an American Dreamer, New York, 1986.

Webster, Duncan, Looka Yonda!: The Imaginary America of Popular Culture, London, 1988.

Chaiken, Joseph, Joseph Chaiken & Sam Shepard: Letters and Texts, New York, 1989.

DeRose, David J., Sam Shepard, New York, 1992.

Benet, Carol, Sam Shepard on the German Stage: Critics, Politics, Myths, New York, 1993.

Hall, Ann C., A Kind of Alaska: Women in the Plays of O'Neill, Pinter and Shepard, Carbondale, Illinois, 1993.

McGhee, Jim, True Lies: The Architecture of the Fantastic in the Plays of Sam Shepard, New York, 1993.

Wilcox, Leonard, editor, Rereading Shepard: Contemporary Critical Essays on the Plays of Sam Shepard, New York, 1993.

Graham, Laura, Sam Shepard: Theme, Image, and the Director, New York, 1995.

McDonough, Carla J., Staging Masculinity: Male Identity in Contemporary American Drama, Jefferson, 1996.

Wade, Leslie A., Sam Shepard & the American Theatre, Westport, 1997.

Bottoms, Stephen J., The Theatre of Sam Shepard: States of Crisis, New York, 1998.

Callens, Johan, Sam Shepard: Between the Margin & the Center 1 & 2, Newark, 1998.


On SHEPARD: articles—

Film Comment (New York), vol. 19, no. 6, November/December 1983.

Lahr, John, in Automatic Vaudeville, New York, 1984.

Positif (Paris), no. 303, May 1986.

Image et son (Paris), no. 449, May 1989.

Literature/Film Quarterly, vol. 20, no. 2, 1992.

Special Sam Shepard and Contemporary American Drama issue, Modern Drama, vol. 36, no. 1, March 1993.

Modern Drama, vol. 37, no. 3, Fall 1994.

Modern Drama, vol. 37, no. 4, Winter 1994.


* * *

Sam Shepard has worked as a playwright, musician, director, actor, and screenwriter. As the last, Shepard gained early recognition as a co-scripter of Antonioni's Zabriskie Point. Earlier he wrote the little-seen Me and My Brother, a harsh semidocumentary treatment of mental illness and the homeless. In the 1970s he contributed to a trio of films with similarly troubled distribution histories: Ringaleevio, Oh! Calcutta!, and Bob Dylan's Renaldo and Clara. After this line of quirky and mainly obscure films, Shepard vaulted into prominence as a film writer in the mid-1980s with the release of Paris, Texas, a film which has the resonance of his best stage plays and which takes up some of their concerns. Avoiding the facile regeneration-of-the-nuclear-family plots that have traditionally meant good box office, Shepard has closely examined some of the same questions, rejecting the reassurances about the family for which mainstream Hollywood is well known (his film actor-only roles, by contrast, often fit more comfortably into the Hollywood mold, as in The Right Stuff and Baby Boom).

Paris, Texas revolves around a father and son attempting reconciliation, often a primary thematic concern of Shepard's plays. The story also offers some symptomatic dualities: both sprawling and tightly organized, both dreamy and wonderfully concrete. As such it seems a worthy companion piece to Shepard's mature stage work, which also seeks to push the conventions of contemporary drama to their limits. The film is formally organized by the wanderings of Travis (Harry Dean Stanton), which describe a rambling circuit of the American Southwest—Shepard territory for sure. Motifs of fire and water figure importantly and help pull together the enigmatic narrative. Travis is obsessed with water in the early parts of the film: carrying a water jug, eating ice, leaving a shower running, playing with a faucet. At first this obsession seems related to his physical burning in the desert, perhaps a symptom of madness; later it is revealed that he has an emotional fire he cannot quite put out. In a more isolated instance, there is a doom-shouter whom Travis encounters on an overpass. At first the prophet's words are dissociated, free-floating, apparently nondiegetic. When Travis passes by the shouter, the abstract becomes concrete again, and the scene has a wonderful formal power. While some of the credit for this work must also go to L. M. Kit Carson, who wrote the adaptation from Shepard's story, Shepard's later film work shows increasing control on his part.

Fool for Love is his first and, so far, only film adaptation of one of his own plays. Director Robert Altman and Shepard open up the story visually and make some interesting choices, particularly in the intermingling of past and present, of thought and action. Again, figures of forbidden love and problematic fatherhood appear prominently. Eddie (Sam Shepard) and May (Kim Basinger) share a passion that they cannot quite consummate and cannot quite contain. Here, fire imagery builds and becomes literal at the climax. The Old Man (Harry Dean Stanton), an incredibly divisive father figure, is at the root of all this trouble. Rootlessness, on the other hand, is also a main concern. For instance, Eddie's journey to May, stated as one of thousands of miles contained in a relatively smaller geographic area, suggests a circuitous route, and the description of it melds with the serpentine workings of the plot. Also, Eddie and the Old Man take an apparently aimless walk, similar to wanderings in both Paris, Texas and Far North.

Shepard wrote the original screenplay for Far North, which was also his directorial debut. Shepard took advantage of this amount of control to film his most satisfying, and most completely personal, screenplay yet. The film examines "a notable lack of menfolk" regarding one family in particular and contemporary society in general, in a shading on the concerns central to both Paris, Texas and Fool for Love. Shepard's wordplay with Midwestern vernacular in Far North helps make the "personal idea of justice" speech by Bertrum (Charles Durning) and the "teaching/learning" monologue by Kate (Jessica Lange) rate with his best. Together, these speeches highlight the basically incompatible spheres of influence the sexes occupy in Shepard's world view: while men are out doing destructive things, women take the time for family, for nurturing. Men act this way out of personal concern. Women think more of group welfare. Attempts made by one group to teach the other will be ignored, or at least not learned. An organizing device in Far North has men and women doing similar things, first drinking and later taking a journey through the woods, to dissimilar effect in each case: violent men drift apart, and nurturing women come together. Throughout his work this pattern remains consistent. In just these three films Shepard's voice has been powerful enough to create an important countercurrent to the Hollywood mainstream.

Although Shepard has frequently directed and written for the screen, since the 1980s he has worked most often as a actor. With a cleft chin and lanky physique contributing to his rugged good looks, Shepard has habitually played leading men in films and received an Academy Award nomination in 1983 for his portrayal of astronaut Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff.

—Mark Walker, updated by David Levine

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"Shepard, Sam." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Sam Shepard

Sam Shepard

Sam Shepard (Samuel Shepard Rogers VII; born 1943) began his career as a playwright in the livelyoff-off-Broadway scene of the 1960s and became one of the United States' most prolific and acclaimed dramatists. He was also a rock music performer and a film actor.

Samuel Shepard Rogers VII was born on November 5, 1943, at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, the son of a career Army man whose assignments took him to many locations, including Guam, while his son was growing up. After his father retired from the service, the family settled on a ranch in Duarte, California, where they grew avocados and raised sheep.

Shepard (there is some debate as to when he dropped the Rogers from his name) worked as a stable hand at the Conley Arabian Horse Ranch in Chino, California, from 1958 to 1960. Upon graduation from high school he attended Mount Antonio Junior College for a year, majoring in agriculture with some thought of becoming a veterinarian.

When he left college, he joined the Bishop's Company Repertory Players, a touring theater group with which he spent 1962 and 1963. He went to New York in 1963, where he got a job as a busboy at the Village Gate in Greenwich Village, hung out with the son of the famous jazz musician Charles Mingus, and, encouraged by Ralph Cook, the founder of Theater Genesis, began to write plays.

In the 1960s the New York theater scene consisted of three levels. There was Broadway, the center of commercial theater; off-Broadway, which presented some new works as well as revivals of classics not economically viable on Broadway, such as those by Ibsen and Strindberg; and offoff-Broadway (OOB), devoted to experimental works and often housed in bars or lofts in Greenwich Village and on Manhattan's Lower East Side, with little or no admission charged. The most celebrated OOB groups, in addition to Theater Genesis, were the Caffe Cino, La Mama Experimental Theater Company, the Open Theater, and the Judson Poets' Theater.

Shepard debuted at Theater Genesis on October 16, 1964, with the double bill Cowboys and Rock Garden. In 1965 he presented Up to Thursday and 4-H Clubat Theater 65, Dog and Rocking Chairat La Mama, Chicagoat Genesis, and Icarus's Mother at the Cino.

In 1966 he received the first of several grants, this one from the University of Minnesota, and presented Fourteen Hundred Thousand at the Firehouse Theater in Minneapolis; that same year Red Cross was given at the Judson.

The Village Voice was the chief organ of the counter-culture in the 1960s and specialized in covering both off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway. From the start of Shepard's career, Voice critic Michael Smith had been an enthusiastic fan, writing that there was something so free and direct about those plays. They seemed to catch the actual movement of the minds of people I know. It was something I had never seen before." The Voice annually presented awards called Obies for work in the theater and Shepard was given an unprecedented trio of them in 1966 for Chicago, Icarus's Mother, and Red Cross.

The Voice's support was vital to the young playwright's career, because the mainstream critics, those from the major newspapers, ranged from lukewarm to hostile. Jerry Tallmer, the New York Post's eye on OB and OOB, could summon no enthusiasm, while Clive Barnes of the New York Times (later a supporter) called Shepard's early plays disposable … like Kleenex." Indeed, years later, in his introduction to The Unseen Hand and Other Plays (1986), Shepard himself wrote, Basically, without apologizing, I can see that I was learning to write," and confessed, some of that work is slightly embarrassing to me now."

In 1967 Shepard wrote La Turista, his first full-length play, which won a 1967 Obie; Melodrama Play, an Obie winner the following year; Cowboys #2, which premiered in Los Angeles; and Forensic and the Navigators, which also won a 1968 Obie. He also received two more grants, one from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1967 and one from the Guggenheim Foundation in 1968.

In 1968 Shepard began a three-year stint with the Holy Modal Rounders, a rock group, playing drums and guitar. Interestingly, in an interview conducted in 1971, he stated that he would rather be a rock star than a playwright, yet he did not abandon writing while he was playing, completing Holy Ghostly and The Unseen Hand in 1969, Operation Sidewinder and Shaved Splits in 1970, and Mad Dog Blues and Back Bog Beast Baitin 1971. He was awarded a second Guggenheim in 1971.

Leaving the Holy Modal Rounders, Shepard went to England, and his next five plays were premiered there: Cowboy Mouth (written with Patti Smith), The Tooth of Crime, Blue Bitch (presented on BBC television), Geography of a Horse Dreamer, and Little Ocean. When The Tooth of Crime, widely acclaimed in England, was presented in the United States, it won an Obie in 1973. That same year saw the publication of his first book of essays and poems, Hawk Moon. Two other similar collections followed in 1977 and 1982.

Back in the United States, Shepard became the playwright in residence at the Magic Theater in San Francisco, a position he held from 1974 to 1984. His plays Killer's Head and Action opened in New York in 1975, the latter winning an Obie that year. The year 1976 saw Suicide in Band Angel City; 1977, Inacoma, and 1978, The Sad Lament of Pecos Bill on the Eve of Killing His Wife and The Curse of the Starving Class, a critical success.

It was also in 1978 that Shepard began his career as a film actor, appearing in Renaldo and Clara and Days of Heaven. He also started his collaboration with Joseph Chaikin on the theater piece Tongues; this was a stage work, with music, heavily dependent on the theories of Antonin Artaud. Shepard and Chaikin collaborated on two more pieces, Savage/Love in 1979 and War in Heaven, presented on WBAI radio in 1985.

In 1979 Shepard achieved his warmest critical reception with Buried Child, which won both an Obie and the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Writing in the Washington Post, critic David Richards said, Shepard delivers a requiem for America, land of the surreal and home of the crazed…the amber waves of grain mask a dark secret. The fruited plain is rotting and the purple mountain's majesty is like a bad bruise on the landscape."

Shepard continued to write plays, including Seduced in 1979; True West, which had a run of over 600 performances in New York in 1980-81; Fool for Love, which won him his 11th Obie in 1984; and A Lie of the Mind, which garnered the New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1986. In 1987 the one-act True Dylan, was published in Esquire magazine.

At the same time, however, he was expanding his work in film, not only writing screenplays but taking on more acting roles. He appeared in Resurrection in 1980, Raggedy Man in 1981, Frances in 1982, The Right Stuff in 1983, Country in 1984, and Fool for Love in 1985. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of jet pilot Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff. He had worked on several screenplays, including Me and My Brother and Zabriskie Point, but achieved his greatest success in this genre with Paris, Texas, which was given a Golden Palm Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1984. He also wrote the script for Fool for Love in 1985.

Shepard continued to demonstrate his rich multi-dimensional talents during the 1990s. States of Shock was produced in 1991 and Curse of the Starving Class in 1997. The Signature Theater, in New York City devoted a whole season (1996-97) to plays by Shepard. He was awarded the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Drama in 1992.

Writing in the New Republic, Robert Brustein called Shepard one of our most celebrated writers," adding that his plays have overturned theatrical conventions and created a new kind of drama." And, in his introduction to Sam Shepard: Seven Plays, Richard Gilman writes, Not many critics would dispute the proposition that Sam Shepard is our most interesting and exciting playwright."

Further Reading

Books on Shepard abound, although many of them have a shrill, cheerleading tone. Probably the best is Ellen Oumano's Sam Shepard: The Life and Work of an American Dreamer (1986). Also worthwhile are Kimball King's Sam Shepard: A Casebook (1988) and Ron Mottram's Inner Landscapes: The Theatre of Sam Shepard (1984). Newer works on Shepard include: Leonard Shewey, editor, Rereading Shepard: Contemporary Critical Essays on the Plays of Sam Shepard, (1993); Don Shewey, Sam Shepard (1997); and Leslie Wade, Sam Shepard and the American Theater (1997). In addition, John Blackburn wrote a Master's Thesis Portrait of the Artist: Sam Shepard and the Anxiety of Identity (University of Virginia, 1996). □

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Shepard, Sam

SHEPARD, Sam



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, 1978. Agent: Toby Cole, 234 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036, U.S.A.


Films as Actor:

1969

Bronco Bullfrog (Platts-Mill) (as Jo)

1970

Brand X

1978

Days of Heaven (Malick) (as the Farmer); Renaldo and Clara (Dylan) (+ co-sc)

1980

Resurrection (Daniel Petrie) (as Cal Carpenter)

1981

Raggedy Man (Fisk) (as Bailey)

1982

Frances (Clifford) (as Harry York)

1983

The Right Stuff (Kaufman) (as Chuck Yeager)

1984

Country (Pearce) (as Gil Ivy); Paris, Texas (Wenders) (+ sc)

1985

Fool for Love (Altman) (as Eddie, + sc)

1986

Crimes of the Heart (Beresford) (as Doc Porter)

1987

Baby Boom (Shyer) (as Dr. Jeff Cooper)

1989

Steel Magnolias (Ross) (as Spud Jones)

1991

Defenseless (Martin Campbell) (as George Beutel); Voyager (Homo Faber) (Schlöndorff) (as Walter Faber); Bright Angel (Fields) (as Jack Russell)

1992

Thunderheart (Apted) (as Frank Coutelle)

1993

The Pelican Brief (Pakula) (as Thomas Callahan)

1994

Safe Passage (Ackerman) (as Patrick Singer)

1996

Lily Dale (Masterson—for TV) (as Peter Davenport)

1998

The Only Thrill (Masterson) (as Reece McHenry)

1999

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)

2000

Hamlet (Almereyda) (as Ghost); One Kill (Menaul—for TV) (as Major Nelson Gray); All the Pretty Horses (Thornton) (as Banker)



Films as Scriptwriter:

1968

Me and My Brother (Frank) (co-sc)

1970

Zabriskie Point (Antonioni) (co-sc)

1972

Oh! Calcutta! (Aucion) (co-sc)

1982

True West (Sinise and Goldstein—for TV) (+ pr)

1995

Curse of the Starving Class (McClary—for TV)



Films as Director and Scriptwriter:

1988

Far North

1993

Silent Tongue



Publications


By SHEPARD: plays—

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.


By SHEPARD: books—

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.


By SHEPARD: articles—

"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.


On SHEPARD: books—

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.

On SHEPARD: articles—

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.


* * *

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.

—Kelly Otter

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Shepard, Sam

Sam Shepard, 1943–, American playwright and actor, b. Fort Sheridan, Ill., as Samuel Shepard Rogers 7th. A product of the 1960s counterculture, Shepard combines wild humor, grotesque satire, myth, and a sparse, haunting language evocative of Western movies to create a subversive pop art vision of America. His settings are often a kind of nowhere land on the American Plains, his characters are typically loners and drifters caught between a mythical past and the mechanized present, and his works often concern deeply troubled families. His many plays include Curse of the Starving Class (1977), Buried Child (1978; Pulitzer Prize), True West (1980), A Lie of the Mind (1985), States of Shock (1991), Simpatico (1994), The Late Henry Moss (2000), and The God of Hell (2004). Also involved in motion pictures, Shepard wrote the screenplays for The Right Stuff (1983), in which he played the part of Chuck Yeager, and Paris, Texas (1984); wrote and directed Far North (1989) and Silent Tongue (1994); and has acted in a number of other films. His other work includes the stories, meditations, reminiscences, and other pieces collected in Motel Chronicles (1982), Cruising Paradise (1996), Great Dream of Heaven (2002), and Day Out of Days (2010).

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Shepard, Sam

Shepard, Sam (1943– ) US playwright and actor. His plays include Icarus's Mother (1965), The Tooth of Crime (1972), Buried Child (1978), for which he won a Pulitzer Prize, and True West (1983). He has acted in films of his own screenplays, including Paris, Texas (1984) and Fool for Love (1985).

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