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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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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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Shepard, Sam

Shepard, Sam

Personal

Born Samuel Shepard Rogers VII; November 5, 1943, in Fort Sheridan, IL; son of Samuel Shepard (a teacher and farmer) and Elaine (a teacher; maiden name, Schook) Rogers; married O-Lan Johnson Dark (an actress), November 9, 1969 (divorced); partner of Jessica Lange (an actress and film producer); children: (first marriage) Jesse Mojo; (with Lange) Hannah Jane, Samuel Walker. Education: Attended Mount Antonio Junior College, 1960-61. Hobbies and other interests: Polo, rodeo.

Addresses

Office—International Creative Management, 8942 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211-1934. Agent—Toby Cole, 234 West 44th St., New York, NY 10036.

Career

Actor and playwright. Conley Arabian Horse Ranch, Chino, CA, stable hand, 1958-60; Bishop's Company Repertory Players (touring theatre group), actor, 1962-63; Village Gate, New York, NY, busboy, 1963-64; Writer, 1964—; drummer and guitarist with Holy Modal Rounders, 1968-71; Magic Theatre, San Francisco, CA, playwright-in-residence, 1974-84. Actor in feature films, including Days of Heaven, 1978, Resurrection, 1980, Raggedy Man, 1981, Frances, 1982, The Right Stuff, 1983, Country, 1984, Fool for Love, 1985, Crimes of the Heart, 1986, Baby Boom, 1987, Steel Magnolias, 1989, The Hot Spot, 1990, Defenseless, 1991, Voyager, 1991, Thunderheart, 1992, The Pelican Brief, 1993, Silent Tongue, 1994, Safe Passage, 1994, The Only Thrill, 1997, Curtain Call, 1999, Snow Falling on Cedars, 1999, Hamlet, 2000, All the Pretty Horse, 2000, The Pledge, 2001, Swordfish, 2001, Black Hawk Down, 2002, Leo, 2002, The Notebook, 2004, and Blind Horizon 2004. Actor in television movies, including Lily Dale, 1996, Purgatory, 1999, Dash and Lilly, 1999, One Kill, 2000, After the Harvest, 2001, and Shot in the Heart, 2001. Director of feature films Far North, 1988, and Silent Tongue 1994. Director of plays, including A Lie of the Mind, 1985.

Member

American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

Awards, Honors

Off-Broadway ("Obie") Award for distinguished plays, Village Voice, 1966, for Chicago, Icarus's Mother, and Red Cross, 1967, for La Turista, 1968, for Forensicand the Navigators and Melodrama Play, 1973, for The Tooth of Crime; Off-Broadway ("Obie") Award for playwriting, 1975, for Action, 1979, for Buried Child; Off-Broadway ("Obie") Award for best new American play, 1977, for Curse of the Starving Class, and 1984, for Fool for Love; grant from University of Minnesota, 1966; Rockefeller Foundation grant, and Yale University fellowship, both 1967; Guggenheim Foundation memorial fellowships, 1968 and 1971; National Institute and American Academy award for literature, 1974; Brandeis University creative arts award, 1975-76; Pulitzer Prize for drama, 1979, for Buried Child; Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 1984, for The Right Stuff; Golden Palm Award, Cannes Film Festival, 1984, for Paris, Texas; New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, 1986, for A Lie of the Mind; American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Drama, 1992; Theater Hall of Fame, 1994; Antoinette Perry ("Tony") Award nomination for best play, 1996, for Buried Child, and 2000, for revised version of True West.

Writings

PLAYS

Cowboys (one-act), first produced Off-Off-Broadway, 1964.

The Rock Garden (one-act; also see below), first produced Off-Off-Broadway, 1964.

4-H Club (one act; also see below), first produced Off-Broadway, 1965.

Up to Thursday (one-act), first produced Off-Broadway, 1965.

Dog (one-act), first produced Off-Broadway, 1965.

Chicago (one-act; also see below), first produced Off-Off-Broadway, 1965.

Icarus's Mother (one-act; also see below), first produced Off-Off-Broadway, 1965.

Fourteen Hundred Thousand (one-act; also see below), first produced in Minneapolis, MN, 1966.

Red Cross (one-act; also see below), first produced Off-Broadway, 1966.

La turista (two-act; first produced Off-Broadway, 1967; also see below), Bobbs-Merrill (Indianapolis, IN), 1968.

Cowboys #2 (one-act; also see below), first produced Off-Broadway, 1967.

Forensic and the Navigators (one-act; also see below), first produced Off-Off-Broadway, 1967.

The Unseen Hand (one-act; also see below), first produced Off-Broadway, 1969.

Holy Ghostly (one-act; also see below), first produced in New York, NY, 1970.

Operation Sidewinder (two-act; first produced Off-Broadway, 1970; also see below), Bobbs-Merrill (Indianapolis, IN), 1970.

Shaved Splits (also see below), first produced Off-Broadway, 1970.

Mad Dog Blues (one-act; also see below), first produced Off-Off-Broadway, 1971.

(With Patti Smith) Cowboy Mouth (also see below), first produced in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1971, produced Off-Broadway, 1971.

Back Bog Beast Bait (one-act; also see below), first produced Off-Broadway, 1971.

The Tooth of Crime (two-act; also see below), first produced in Princeton, NJ, 1972, produced Off-Off-Broadway, 1973.

Blue Bitch (also see below), first produced Off-Off-Broadway, 1973.

(With Megan Terry and Jean-Claude van Itallie) Nightwalk (also see below), first produced Off-Off-Broadway, 1973.

Geography of a Horse Dreamer (two-act; also see below), first produced in London, England, 1974.

Little Ocean, first produced in London, England, 1974.

Action (one-act; also see below), first produced Off-Broadway, 1975.

Killer's Head (one-act; also see below), first produced Off-Broadway, 1975.

Angel City (also see below), first produced in San Francisco, CA, 1976.

Curse of the Starving Class (two-act; also see below; first produced Off-Broadway, 1978), Dramatists Play Service (New York, NY), 1997.

Buried Child (two-act; also see below), first produced Off-Broadway, 1978.

Seduced (also see below), first produced Off-Broadway, 1979.

Suicide in B-Flat (also see below), first produced Off-Off-Broadway, 1979.

Tongues, first produced at Eureka Theatre Festival, CA, 1979, produced Off-Off-Broadway, 1979.

Savage/Love, first produced at Eureka Theater Festival, CA, 1979, produced Off-Off-Broadway, 1979.

True West (two-act; first produced Off-Broadway, 1980), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1981.

(Also director of original production) Fool for Love (one-act; also see below), first produced in San Francisco, CA, 1983, produced Off-Broadway, 1983.

The Sad Lament of Pecos Bill on the Eve of Killing His Wife (one-act; also see below), first produced Off-Broadway, 1983.

Superstitions (one-act), first produced Off-Broadway, 1983.

(Also director of original production) A Lie of the Mind (three-act; first produced Off-Broadway, 1985), published with The War in Heaven (also see below), New American Library (New York, NY), 1987.

Hawk Moon, produced in London, England, 1989.

States of Shock, produced in New York, NY, 1991.

Simpatico, Dramatists Play Service (New York, NY), 1995.

Eyes for Consuela (based on the story "The Blue Bouquet" by Octavio Paz), Dramatists Play Service (New York, NY), 1999.

The Late Henry Moss, produced in New York, NY, 2001.

PLAY COLLECTIONS

Five Plays (contains Icarus's Mother, Chicago, Melodrama Play, Red Cross, and Fourteen Hundred Thousand), Bobbs-Merrill (Indianapolis, IN), 1967.

The Unseen Hand and Other Plays (contains 4-H Club, Shaved Splits, Forensic and the Navigators, Holy Ghostly, and Back Bog Beast Bait), Bobbs-Merrill (Indianapolis, IN), 1971.

Mad Dog Blues and Other Plays (includes The Rock Garden, Cowboys #2, Cowboy Mouth, Blue Bitch, and Nightwalk), Winter House (New York, NY), 1972.

The Tooth of Crime [and] Geography of a Horse Dreamer, Grove (New York, NY), 1974.

Angel City, Curse of the Starving Class, and Other Plays (includes Killer's Head and Action), Urizen Books (New York, NY), 1976.

Buried Child, Seduced, Suicide in B-Flat, Urizen Books (New York, NY), 1979.

Four Two-Act Plays (contains La turista, The Tooth of Crime, Geography of a Horse Dreamer, and Operation Sidewinder), Urizen Books (New York, NY), 1980.

Chicago and Other Plays, Urizen Books (New York, NY), 1981.

The Unseen Hand and Other Plays, Urizen Books (New York, NY), 1981.

Seven Plays by Sam Shepard, Bantam (New York, NY), 1981.

Fool for Love [and] The Sad Lament of Pecos Bill on the Eve of Killing His Wife, City Lights Books (San Francisco, CA), 1983.

Fool for Love and Other Plays, Bantam (New York, NY), 1984.

The Unseen Hand and Other Plays, Bantam (New York, NY), 1986.

States of Shock, Far North, [and] Silent Tongue, Vintage (New York, NY), 1993.

The Late Henry Moss, Eyes for Consuela, [and] When the World Was Green, Vintage (New York, NY), 2002.

SCREENPLAYS

(With others) Zabriskie Point (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1970), Cappelli (Bologna, Italy), 1970, published with Michelangelo Antonioni's Red Desert, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1972.

(With L. M. Kit Carson) Paris, Texas, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1984.

Fool for Love (based on Shepard's play of the same title), Golan Globus, 1985.

Far North, Alive, 1988.

Silent Tongue, Trimark, 1992.

See You in My Dreams (for television), 2000.

True West (for television), Public Broadcasting Service, 2002.

Don't Come Knockin, 2004.

OTHER

(Contributor) Oh! Calcutta!, first produced on Broadway, 1969.

Hawk Moon: A Book of Short Stories, Poems, and Monologues, Black Sparrow Press (Santa Barbara, CA), 1973.

Rolling Thunder Logbook, Viking (New York, NY), 1977.

Motel Chronicles, City Lights Books (San Francisco, CA), 1982.

(With Joseph Chaikin) The War in Heaven (radio drama; produced by WBAI, 1985), published with A Lie of the Mind, New American Library (New York, NY), 1987.

Joseph Chaikin and Sam Shepard: Letters and Texts, 1972-1984, edited by Barry V. Daniels, New American Library (New York, NY), 1989.

Cruising Paradise: Tales, Knopf (New York, NY), 1996.

Great Dream of Heaven: Stories, Knopf (New York, NY), 2002.

Also author, with Robert Frank, of Me and My Brother, and, with Murray Mednick, of Ringaleerio.

Adaptations

Fourteen Hundred Thousand was filmed for NET Playhouse, 1969; Blue Bitch was filmed by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), 1973; True West was filmed for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) series American Playhouse, 1998, and for Showtime, 2002.

Sidelights

"Sam Shepard's perennial theme isn't nostalgia for the Old West or depicting the tortured artist in society," wrote Michael Green of Backstage West, "not even dysfunctional families (though they're part of it). It's displaying emotional primitives—characters bristling with raw energy, chaos, and contradictions, whose only defenses are fearful hiding, flight, or violence, who want to jump out of their skins and end up bolting their circumstances as best as they can do." For Green, "a good production of Shepard gives zero insight but makes you feel the lives of its characters in your gut." Hal Gelb, writing in the Nation, found Shepard's early plays to be "like no others—fresh, hip, antiheroic, free from the tired old psychology of Tennessee Williams and the Actor's Studio. By no means political, they nevertheless made us aware of the myths that shaped our behavior as Americans." Gelb dubbed Shepard "the best playwright of his generation."

The author of over four dozen plays, the winner of ten Obie awards, a Pulitzer Prize for Buried Child, a New York Drama Critics Circle award for A Lie of the Mind, a Golden Palm award for his screenplay Paris, Texas, and an Academy Award nomination for best actor in The Right Stuff, Shepard has cut a wide swath in American arts and letters since the 1960s, creating a highly eclectic—and critically acclaimed—body of work. The Shepard oeuvre ranges from the experimental and surreal one-act plays of his Off-Off-Broadway days to the more realistic two-and three-act "dysfunctional-family" dramas of his middle period, and on into the new millennia with further contributions to the stage, such as The Late Henry Moss.

Shepard is considered the preeminent literary playwright of his generation, the most important American dramatist since Edward Albee. He has also directed plays of his authorship, played drums and guitar in rock bands and jazz ensembles, and acted in major feature films. His movie appearances include leading roles in The Right Stuff and Country, and he has contributed to the world of literature with the short story collections Cruising Paradise: Tales and Great Dream of Heaven: Stories. However, such pursuits are a sideline for the man Newsweek's Jack Kroll called "the poet laureate of America's emotional Badlands." Despite his success in Hollywood, Shepard is primarily a playwright whose dramas explore mythic images of modern America in the nation's own eccentric vernacular. As Shepard told Kevin Berger in Salon.com he pursues acting in particular merely as a means to finance his writing: "You can't make a living as a playwright. You can barely scrape by." Shepard has consistently stressed artistic integrity rather than marketability. As a result, Kroll contended, Shepard plays have "overturned theatrical conventions and created a new kind of drama filled with violence, lyricism and an intensely American compound of comic and tragic power." Yet it was not until the 1990s that revivals of his earlier plays finally landed the auspicious and more lucrative Broadway venue.

Shepard's modern cowboys, drifters, farmers, and other offspring of the frontier era yearn for a purer past that may never have existed as they quarrel with family members. Journal of Popular Culture contributor George Stambolian maintained that, like many of his fellow playwrights, Shepard "knows that the old frontier myths of America's youth are no longer a valid expression of our modern anxieties, even though they continue to influence our thoughts." Stambolian said Shepard seeks "a new mythology that will encompass all the diverse figures of our cultural history together with the psychological and social conditions they represent.... Shepard's greatest contribution to a new American mythology may well be his elaboration of a new myth of the modern artist."

Army Brat

Shepard, born in Fort Sheridan, Illinois, was given the name his forebears had used for six generations—Samuel Shepard Rogers, but he eventually dropped the last name and became simply Sam Shepard. The oldest of three children, Shepard lived a peripatetic life as a youngster. His father was a career army officer, so the family moved from base to base in the United States and even spent some time in Guam. When Shepard's father retired from the service, the family settled first in South Pasadena, California, before finally creating a permanent home on a ranch in Duarte, California, where they grew avocados and raised sheep. Although the livelihood was precarious, Shepard enjoyed the atmosphere on the ranch and liked working with horses and other animals. Shepard's mother was a teacher; after his military career, his father also studied to become a teacher. As Shepard told biographer Don Shewey, his father "had a real short fuse. He had a really tough life—had to support his mother and brothers at a very young age when his dad's farm collapsed. You could see his suffering, his terrible suffering, living a life that was disappointing and looking for another one. It was past frustration; it was anger." As Berger pointed out, "More often than not, Shepard was the brunt of that anger." What became one of the paramount themes of his later plays, the dysfunctional family and a son's confrontation with the father figure, was thus hard-wired into Shepard at an early age.

Influenced by his father's interest in Dixieland jazz, Shepard gravitated to music; he began to play the drums and started what Dictionary of Literary Biography contributor David W. Engel called "his lifelong involvement with rock-and-roll music and its subculture." He graduated from Duarte High School in 1960 and spent one year studying agricultural science at the local junior college, but his family situation deteriorated as his father began drinking excessively. Shepard fled by joining a touring theatrical group called the Bishop's Company Repertory Players. At age nineteen, he found himself in New York, determined to seek his fortune with only a few months' acting experience. By chance he encountered a high school friend in New York, Charles Mingus, Jr., son of the renowned jazz musician. Mingus found Shepard a job at the Village Gate jazz club and the two young men became roommates.

Life in the Theater

While working at the Village Gate, Shepard met Ralph Cook, founder of the Off-Off-Broadway company Theatre Genesis. Cook encouraged Shepard to write plays, and Shepard responded with Cowboys and The Rock Garden, two one-acts that became part of the first Theatre Genesis show at St. Mark Church in-the-Bowery. Though most critics regard Shepard's debut works as "bad imitations of Beckett," a Village Voice columnist had a kind word. With this encouragement, Shepard began to rapidly turn out one-act pieces, many performed Off-Off-Broadway; they attracted a cult following within that theatrical circuit. Shepard also continued his association with jazz and rock music, incorporating the rhythms into his dialogue and including musical riffs in the scripts. As he recalled in New York magazine: "When I arrived in New York there was this environment of art going on. I mean, it was really tangible. And you were right in the thing, especially on the Lower East Side. La Mama, Theatre Genesis, . . . all those theaters were just starting. So that was a great coincidence. I had a place to go and put something on without having to go through a producer or go through the commercial network. All of that was in response to the tightness of Broadway and Off-Broadway, where you couldn't get a play done."

Shepard did his early work hastily. "There wasn't much rewriting done," he told New York. "I had this whole attitude toward that work that it was somehow violating it to go back and rework it. . . . Why spend the time rewriting when there was another one to do?" Kroll said: "The true artist starts with his obsessions, then makes them ours as well. The very young Sam Shepard exploded his obsessions like firecrackers; in his crazy, brilliant early plays he was escaping his demons, not speaking to ours." New York Times correspondent Mel Gussow called the playwright's early works "a series of mystical epics (on both a large and small scale) mixing figures from folklore with visitors from the outer space of fantasy fiction." The Shepard one-acts juxtapose visual and verbal images with dramatic collage. Stambolian said the technique "forces the spectator to view the surface, so to speak, from behind, from within the imagination that conceived it."

Some critics have dismissed Shepard's early work as undisciplined and obscure. Massachusetts Review essayist David Madden found the plays "mired in swampy attitudes toward Mom and Dad. Their main line of reasoning seems to be that if Mom and Dad's middle class values are false, that if they and the institutions they uphold are complacent and indifferent, the only alternative is some form of outlaw behavior or ideology." Other national drama critics have evaluated the one-act plays quite differently. In the New York Review of Books, Robert Mazzocco wrote: "If one is content to follow this hard-nosed, drug-induced, pop-flavored style, this perpetual retuning of old genres and old myths, one encounters, finally, a profuse and unique panorama of where we are now and where we have been." Stambolian said that Shepard "is in fact showing to what extent the mind, and particularly the modern American mind, can become and has become entrapped by its own verbal and imaginative creations." In his own assessment of his first plays, Shepard told New York: "They were explosions that were coming out of some kind of inner turmoil in me that I didn't understand at all. There are areas in some of them that are still mysterious to me."

Shepard's first major production, La turista, appeared in 1966. A two-act drama, it is informed by Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. His Operation Sidewinder, produced in 1970, was described by Engel as "an excellent example of how [Shepard] combines the roles of poet, musician, and playwright." Set in the Hopi Indian country of the American Southwest, Operation Sidewinder follows the attempts to control a huge, mechanical rattlesnake originally designed to trace unidentified flying objects. Air force commandos, Hopi snake-worshippers, black power activists, and even a beautiful but foolish blonde named Honey try to use the computerized sidewinder for their own ends. While some critics found the work overly moralistic and stylistically confusing, Martin Gottfried praised the work in Women's Wear Daily. "More than any recent major production, it is built upon exactly the style and the mentality energizing the youth movement in America today," he wrote in a contemporary review.

Beyond the Surreal

In 1971 Shepard took his wife and infant son and moved to England. Having long experimented with drugs, the playwright sought escape from the abusive patterns he saw destroying fellow artists in New York. In London he wrote what some critics consider his finest plays. Dramas such as Angel City, Geography of a Horse Dreamer, and The Tooth of Crime explore various aspects of the artist/visionary's dilemma when faced with public tastes or corporate profit-taking. Mazzocco argued that at this phase of his career Shepard examines "not so much in political or economic parallels as in those of domination and submission, the nature of power in America. Or, more precisely, the duplicitous nature of 'success' and 'failure,' where it's implied that a failure of nerve and not that of a 'life' is at the basis of both."

Marking the playwright's move to more traditional drama, The Tooth of Crime, according to a critic for Contemporary Dramatists, further strengthened Shepard's literary reputation. A two-act study of rock-and-roll stars who fight to gain status and "turf," the play "depicts a society which worships raw power," in Engel's words. London Times reviewer Irving Wardle wrote that the play's "central battle to the death between an aging superstar and a young pretender to his throne is as timeless as a myth . . . and . . . has proved a durably amazing reflection of the West Coast scene." "Moving freely from gangster movies of the 40's to punk rock of the 70's, Mr. Shepard speaks in a language that is vividly idiomatic," Gussow added. Mazzocco called The Tooth of Crime "undoubtedly the quintessential Shepard play" and "a dazzlingly corrosive work . . . one of the most original achievements in contemporary theater."

The Family Dramas

Following The Tooth of Crime Shepard produced a series of plays that focused on "the erosion and the conflagration of the ill-American family," according to Gussow. Buried Child, Curse of the Starving Class, True West, Fool for Love, and A Lie of the Mind document, in scenes of black humor, the peculiar savagery of modern American family life. New York Times contributor Benedict Nightingale noted that these plays are peopled by a "legion of the lost" whose "essential tragedy . . . seems . . . to be that they are simultaneously searching for things that are incompatible and possibly not attainable anyway: excitement and security, the exhilaration of self-fulfillment and a sense of belonging, freedom and roots."

In Shepard's Pulizer Prize-winning Curse of the Savage Class, Shepard mines Eugene O'Neil country in "dramatizing a tragic American mire in sin," as the contributor to Contemporary Dramatists explained. Buried Child and A Lie of the Mind, separated by seven years, examine disturbed families. In Buried Child, Vince arrives at his Midwestern farm home after a long absence. A dangerous cast of relatives confronts him, harboring secrets of incest and murder. Richard Christiansen, writing in the Chicago Tribune, dubbed the play "a Norman Rockwell portrait created for Mad Magazine, a scene from America's heartland that reeks with 'the stench of sin.'" Buried Child put Shepard's name solidly on the theatrical map, and it earned the Pulitzer Prize without a Broadway production.

True West, the third of Shepard's family plays, focuses on the relationship between two brothers, Austin who is a screenwriter, and Lee who is a drifter and small-time crook. Appearances do not reflect reality in this drama, which "wreak[s] havoc with stereotypes," as William Tynan noted in Time magazine. True West ran for over six hundred Off-Broadway performances when first produced; a revised production in 2000 made it to Broadway and earned a Tony Award nomination. With these three dramas, "Shepard ripped the door off the hinges, smashed the toasters and exposed an incredible torment at the core of postwar American families," as Berger noted.

1983's Fool for Love is another investigation of a love/hate relationship. Produced on the stage and also adapted for a film starring its author, this one-act is one of Shepard's best-known works. Fool for Love alternates submission and rejection between two lovers who may also be half-brother and half-sister. New York Daily News critic Douglas Watt said the ninety-minute, non-stop drama "is Sam Shepard's purest and most beautiful play. An aching love story of classical symmetry, it is . . . like watching the division of an amoeba in reverse, ending with a perfect whole." New York Times reviewer Frank Rich called the play "a western for our time. We watch a pair of figurative gunslingers fight to the finish—not with bullets, but with piercing words that give ballast to the weight of a nation's buried dreams. . . . As Shepard's people race verbally through the debris of the West, they search for the identities and familial roots that have disappeared with the landscape of legend." A similar dichotomy is at the heart of A Lie of the Mind, which presents a tale of "interior domestic violence, the damage that one does to filial, fraternal and marital bonds—and the love that lingers in the air after the havoc has run its natural course," Gussow wrote. In that work, two families are galvanized into violence when a jealous husband beats his wife, almost fatally. A Lie of the Mind won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for best new Off-Broadway play of 1985, and Shepard himself directed the original production.

Hollywood Fame

Beginning in 1978, Shepard took on one major movie role each year, and he was nominated for an Academy Award in 1984 for his performance in the film The Right Stuff. Despite his discomfort with the image, he also assumed a certain matinee idol status during the 1980s and 1990s. "Shepard did not become famous by writing plays," Stephen Fay wrote in Vogue. "Like it or not, acting made him a celebrity." Shepard did not relish his role as a screen celebrity, and public scrutiny made him somewhat of a recluse. He told a contributor for New York: "There's a definite fear about being diminished through film. It's very easy to do too much of it, to a point where you're lost. Image-making is really what film acting is about. It's image-making, as opposed to character-making, and in some cases it's not true."

In addition to acting in films, Shepard has also been involved in motion pictures as a scriptwriter. In 1983, German director Wim Wenders commissioned Shepard to write a screenplay based loosely on the playwright's book Motel Chronicles. The resulting work, Paris, Texas, recasts many of Shepard's central concerns—broken families, the myth of the loner, and the elegy for the old West—in a story of reunion between a father and a son. In People magazine, Peter Travers called the award-winning movie the "most disturbing film ever about the roots of family relationships. Shepard's words and Wenders' images blend in a magical poetry." While New York reviewer David Denby found Paris, Texas to be "a lifeless art-world hallucination—a movie composed entirely of self-conscious flourishes," many other critics praised the work, and the film earned top honors at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

For all his work in other media, Shepard is still most highly regarded for his playwriting. "He is indeed an original," wrote Edith Oliver in the New Yorker, "but it might be pointed out that the qualities that make him so valuable are the enduring ones—good writing, wit, dramatic invention, and the ability to create characters." Stambolian added, "It is certain that in a society drifting rapidly into the escapism of a permanent, and often instant, nostalgia, Shepard's plays are a sign of artistic health and awareness, and are, therefore, worthy of our attention." Shepard himself sees room for growth in his writing. "I guess I'm always hoping for one play that will end my need to write plays," he told Vogue. "Sort of the definitive piece, but it never happens. There's always disappointment, something missing, some level that hasn't been touched, and the more you write the more you struggle, even if you are riding a wave of inspiration. And if the piece does touch something, you always know you haven't got to the depths of certain emotional territory. So you go out and try another one."

Mixed Media

Shepard continues to confound his fans and critics alike, acting in movies from the sublime to the silly, then resurfacing on stage with another tightly plotted drama featuring a dysfunctional family. In 1996 his first work of fiction appeared, the forty-story collection Cruising Paradise. Described as a "terse and wistful . . . debut" by a Publishers Weekly commentator, the collection blends tales of "boyhood, lonely reminiscences, alienated accounts of showbiz absurdity and unsentimental looks at death" with themes of "solitude and loss," and showcases Shepard's affinity for "gentleness and lyricism." Booklist's Donna Seaman commented on the "intense fictional universe" Shepard presents in these "brusque but searing stories," while Margot Mifflin of Entertainment Weekly noted that the author "mines his signature themes" in the collection: "drunken dads, picaresque Western road trips, and romantic dramas between men and women whose signals are permanently crossed."

With his 2002 collection Great Dream of Heaven, Shepard delves more deeply into the short-fiction format. Here he presents eighteen "highly concentrated stories," according to Booklist's Seaman, who noted also that his "mastery as a short story writer reflects his gifts as both playwright and actor." However, for Seaman, what "lassoes the reader is the tension between Shepard's acuity and tenderness, his high regard for the recklessness of life." While noting that this collection is much shorter than his first, a contributor for Publishers Weekly went on to observe that the "sketches are simple but deeply intuitive and true." Similarly, Book's James Schiff, commented that Shepard's "terse tales" in Great Dream of Heaven "feel more like vignettes or sketches." Schiff concluded that while some of the stories are "contrived or slight," Shepard, "at his best is a compelling, beautiful writer." And writing in American Theatre, Frank J. Baldaro called the collection a "series of lean, fraught tableaux" that "shimmers with humor, absurdity, pathos and a stubborn taciturnity."

Never far from the theatre, Shepard has produced more family plays, among them 1995's Simpatico and 2000's The Late Henry Moss. In its San Francisco premier, the latter play boasted a stellar cast including Sean Penn, Woody Harrelson, and Nick Nolte in its tale about two sons who reflect upon their father's life in a search for structure and reconciliation. Killed by a car after a night of drinking, patriarch Henry Moss still presents something of a puzzle to his offspring. For Berger the play is Shepard's "most moving, certainly most tender attempt to resolve a son's agony over his abusive, alcoholic father's death." The Late Henry Moss also represents, according to Berger, "a beautiful, elegiac summary of the themes that have tortured Shepard to create one of the most prolific and original careers in the American theater." For Gelb, this play indicates a "new direction" in Shepard's work: "If Buried Child was Shepard's Ibsen play (and Ibsen parody) and Fool for Love his Strindberg, The Late Henry Moss may be a kind of Long Day's Journey into Night, an attempt at closure with his father and his death." However, Gelb felt that in the final analysis, "the play never deals with the grief and pity that must be dealt with if reconciliation is to come from an encounter with the dead."

If you enjoy the works of Sam Shepard

If you enjoy the works of Sam Shepard, you might want to check out the following books:

Edward Albee, The Collected Plays, 2004.

David Mamet, Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama, 2000.

Arthur Miller, All My Sons, 1947.

Of course, Shepard has never promised reconciliation. "I feel there are territories within us that are totally unknown," he once explained. "Huge, mysterious and dangerous territories. We think we know ourselves, when we really know only this little bitty part. We have this social person that we present to each other. We have all these galaxies inside of us. And if we don't enter those in art of one kind or another, whether it's playwriting, or painting, or music, or whatever, then I don't understand the point in doing anything." For Shepard, the destination is not the point; it's the trip that matters. "In order to do something worthwhile, you have to suffer. What comes easy isn't worth doing, There has to be an edge to it. That's what I've been trying to do in my life—put myself right up against the edge of what's . . . I wouldn't say hopeless, but bleak and stark."

Biographical and Critical Sources

BOOKS

Auerbach, Doris, Sam Shepard, Arthur Kopit, and the Off Broadway Theater, Twayne (Boston, MA), 1982.

Bottoms, Stephen J., The Theatre of Sam Shepard: States of Crises, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1998.

Contemporary Dramatists, 6th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.

Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 4, 1975, Volume 6, 1976, Volume 17, 1981, Volume 34, 1985, Volume 41, 1987, Volume 44, 1987.

DeRose, David J. Sam Shepard, Twayne (New York, NY), 1992.

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 8: Twentieth-Century American Dramatists, 1981, Volume 212: Twentieth-Century American Western Writers, Second Series, 1999, Gale (Detroit, MI).

Drama Criticism, Volume 5, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1995.

Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd edition, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1998.

Encyclopedia of World Literature in the Twentieth Century, Volume 4, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.

Graham, Laura, Sam Shepard: Theme, Image, and the Director, Lang (New York, NY), 1995.

Greasley, Philip, editor, Dictionary of Midwestern Literature, Volume 1: The Authors, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 2001.

Hart, James D., editor, The Oxford Companion to American Literature, 6th edition, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1995.

Hart, Lynda, Sam Shepard's Metaphorical Stages, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1987.

International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses, St. James (Detroit, MI), 1996.

International Dictionary of Theatre, Volume 2: Playwrights, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1993.

King, Kimball, Ten Modern American Playwrights, Garland (New York, NY), 1982.

King, Kimball, Sam Shepard: A Case Book, Garland (New York, NY), 1988.

Magill, Frank N., editor, Critical Survey of Drama, revised edition, Volume 6, Salem Press (Pasadena, CA), 1994.

Marranca, Bonnie, editor, American Dramas: The Imagination of Sam Shepard, Performing Arts Journal Publications (New York, NY), 1981.

Mottram, Ron, Inner Landscapes: The Theater of Sam Shepard, University of Missouri Press (Columbia, MO), 1984.

Newsmakers 1996, Issue 4, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1996.

Oumano, Ellen, Sam Shepard: The Life and Work of an American Dreamer, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1986.

Parker, Peter, editor, A Reader's Guide to Twentieth-Century Writers, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

Patraka, Vivian M., and Mark Siegel, Sam Shepard, Boise State University (Boise, ID), 1985.

Peck, David, editor, Identities and Issues in Literature, Volume 3, Salem Press (Pasadena, CA), 1997.

Riggs, Thomas, editor, Reference Guide to American Literature, 4th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2000.

St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, St. James (Detroit, MI), 2000.

Serafin, Steven R., editor, Encyclopedia of American Literature, Continuum (New York, NY), 1999.

Shepard, Sam, Five Plays by Sam Shepard, Bobbs-Merrill (Indianapolis, IN), 1967.

Shepard, Sam, Mad Dog Blues and Other Plays, Winter House, 1972.

Shepard, Sam, Seven Plays by Sam Shepard, Bantam (New York, NY), 1981.

Shewey, Don, Sam Shepard, Dell (New York, NY), 1985.

Trussler, Simon, File on Shepard, Methuen (London, England), 1989.

Wade, Leslie, Sam Shepard and the American Theatre, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1997.

Wallflower Critical Guide to Contemporary North American Directors, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 2001.

Weales, Gerald, The Jumping-off Place: American Drama in the 1960s, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1969.

PERIODICALS

After Dark, June, 1975.

America, November 5, 1983.

American Film, October, 1984.

American Theatre, October, 2000, "Alma Pater," p. 40; November, 2002, Frank J. Baldaro, review of Great Dream of Heaven, pp. 81-82.

Back Stage, May 3, 1996, Daniel Sheward, review of Buried Child, p. 48; May 16, 1997, Peter Shaughnessy, review of Curse of the Starving Class, p. 64; March 24, 2000, Eric Grode, review of True West, p. 64; October 26, 2001, David Sheward, review of The Late Henry Moss, p. 56; March 1, 2002, Hogan, review of Fool for Love, p. 64; September 26, 2003, Elias Stimac, review of A Lie of the Mind, p. 56.

Back Stage West, September 28, 2000, Kristina Mannion, review of Simpatico, p. 18; January 18, 2001, Michael Green, review of Fool for Love, p. 14; May 3, 2001, Jesse Dienstag, review of Seduced, p. 14; January 24, 2002, Dany Margolies, review of Suicide in B Flat, pp. 8-9; February 6, 2003, Leigh Kennicott, review of Curse of the Starving Class, pp.16-17; August 7, 2003, Anne Kelly-Saxenmeyer, review of The Unseen Hand, p. 20.

Book, November-December, 2002, James Schiff, review of Great Dream of Heaven, p. 85.

Booklist, April 15, 1996, Donna Seaman, review of Cruising Paradise, p. 1422; September 1, 2002, Donna Seaman, review of Great Dream of Heaven, p. 61.

Books, December, 1997, review of Cruising Paradise, p. 20.

Canadian Forum, March, 1985.

Chicago Tribune, December 15, 1978; December 7, 1979; July 2, 1980; April 23, 1982; December 16, 1985; December 18, 1985.

Christian Century, November 21, 1984.

Christian Science Monitor, June 9, 1983.

Commonweal, June 14, 1968; May 8, 1970; November 30, 1984; July 12, 1991.

Cosmopolitan, January, 1985.

Critical Quarterly, spring, 1982.

Cue, April 11, 1970; July 18, 1970; February 17, 1973; March 31, 1973; March 18, 1978.

Daily News (New York, NY), May 27, 1983.

Daily Variety, August 9, 2002, Steven Oxman, review of True West, p. 7; November 1, 2002, Christian Kohl "'Come' Lands Grant," p. 14.

Drama, winter, 1965; spring, 1969; autumn, 1973; summer, 1976.

Educational Theatre Journal, October, 1977.

Entertainment Weekly, May 31, 1996, Margot Mifflin, review of Cruising Paradise, p. 54.

Esquire, February, 1980; November, 1988.

Film Comment, November-December, 1983; June, 1984.

Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), December 21, 1985.

Guardian, February 20, 1974.

Harper's Bazaar, September, 1985; November, 1994, p. 98.

Hollywood Reporter, August 12, 2002, Barry Garron, review of True West, pp. 33-34.

Hudson Review, spring, 1979; spring, 1984.

Interview, September, 1988.

Journal of Popular Culture, spring, 1974.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 1996, review of Cruising Paradise, p. 403; August 1, 2002, review of Great Dream of Heaven, p. 1071.

Kliatt, November, 1996, review of Cruising Paradise (audio recording), p. 47.

Library Journal, May 15, 1996, review of Cruising Paradise (audio recording), p. 100; June 15, 1996, review of Cruising Paradise, p. 95, reviews of Simpatico and The Unseen Hand and Other Plays, p. 97; October 1, 1999, John Hiett, review of Dash and Lilly, p. 147.

Listener, September 26, 1974.

London, December, 1968.

Los Angeles Magazine, March, 1988.

Los Angeles Times, May 12, 1982; February 12, 1983; October 1, 1983; December 12, 1983; March 14, 1984; November 16, 1984; September 25, 1985; December 6, 1985; January 25, 1986; April 11, 1986; August 11, 1986.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, July 28, 1996, review of Cruising Paradise, p. 6.

Maclean's, October 29, 1984; December 24, 1984; January 13, 1986; January 18, 1988; November 21, 1988; October 2, 2000, "Actor, Playwright, Cowboy," p. 74.

Mademoiselle, March, 1985.

Massachusetts Review, autumn, 1967.

Modern Drama, December, 1976; March, 1979; March, 1981.

Ms., November, 1984.

Nation, February 21, 1966; April 4, 1966; March 30, 1970; March 26, 1973; May 3, 1975; January 10, 1976; February 24, 1979; January 31, 1981; October 27, 1984; December 29, 1984; January 5, 1985; January 11, 1986; February 22, 1986; April 24, 2000, David Yaffe, review of True West, p. 41; December 25, 2000, Hal Gelb, "Long Playwright's Journey," p. 34.

New Leader, April 10, 1967.

New Republic, April 21, 1973; April 8, 1978; January 31, 1981; June 27, 1983; October 29, 1984; December 3, 1984; December 23, 1985; September 29, 1986; February 2, 1987; November 28, 1988, Stanley Kauffmann, review of Far North, pp. 22-23; July 15, 1995, p. 27.

New Statesman, August 24, 1984; October 12, 1984; March 1, 1985; July 4, 1986; October 30, 1987; February 9, 1990; September 6, 1991; July 23, 2001, Katherine Duncan-Jones, review of A Lie of the Mind, p. 45.

Newsweek, March 23, 1970; January 5, 1981; June 6, 1983; October 1, 1984; November 19, 1984; November 11, 1985; December 16, 1985.

New York, November 27, 1978; February 19, 1979; June 13, 1983; December 5, 1983; October 15, 1984; November 19, 1984; December 9, 1985; May 27, 1991; May 13, 1996, p. 64.

New Yorker, May 11, 1968; March 21, 1970; March 17, 1973; May 5, 1975; December 22, 1975; November 29, 1982; October 1, 1984; September 2, 1985; January 27, 1986; December 15, 1986; June 3, 1991; April 22, 1996, p. 84; May 27, 1996, p. 138.

New York Post, May 27, 1983.

New York Review of Books, April 6, 1967; May 9, 1985.

New York Times, February 11, 1965; April 13, 1966; May 28, 1968; April 13, 1969; March 15, 1970; April 2, 1970; March 8, 1971; June 28, 1971; March 7, 1973; September 17, 1977; March 3, 1978; April 28, 1978; November 7, 1978; December 10, 1978; February 2, 1979; March 4, 1979; March 14, 1979; April 17, 1979; June 3, 1979; February 7, 1980; March 12, 1980; December 24, 1980; November 9, 1981; January 6, 1982; October 18, 1982; March 2, 1983; May 27, 1983; June 5, 1983; September 20, 1983; September 25, 1983; May 27, 1983; January 29, 1984; September 28, 1984; September 30, 1984; November 9, 1984; November 14, 1984; November 18, 1984; November 22, 1984; November 29, 1984; November 30, 1984; August 15, 1985; October 1, 1985; October 4, 1985; November 14, 1985; December 1, 1985; December 15, 1985; January 12, 1986; January 21, 1986; April 13, 1986; May 17, 1996, review of Cruising Paradise, p. B12; June 16, 1996, review of Buried Child, p. H5.

New York Times Book Review, June 23, 1996, review of Cruising Paradise, p. 23; September 7, 1997, review of Cruising Paradise, p. 40.

Partisan Review, Volume XLI, number 2, 1974; Volume XLIX, number 2, 1982.

People, December 26, 1983; January 2, 1984; October 15, 1984; November 5, 1984; December 9, 1985; January 6, 1986; June 10, 1996, p. 15; November 14, 1988, Peter Travers, review of Far North, p. 24.

Plays and Players, June, 1970; October-November, 1971; April, 1974; May, 1974; November, 1974; April, 1979.

Publishers Weekly, April 1, 1996, review of Cruising Paradise, p. 38; April 15, 1996, review of Cruising Paradise, p. 48; September 9, 2002, review of Great Dream of Heaven, pp. 40-41.

Quill & Quire, February, 1980.

Review of Contemporary Fiction, spring, 2003, Irving Malin, review of Great Dream of Heaven, p. 145.

Rolling Stone, August 11, 1977; December 18, 1986; February 24, 1994.

Saturday Review, December, 1984.

Spectator, November 16, 1996, review of Cruising Paradise, p. 51.

Theatre Journal, March, 1984.

Theatre Quarterly, August, 1974.

Time, November 27, 1972; June 6, 1983; October 8, 1984; August 12, 1985; December 2, 1985; December 16, 1985; November 7, 1988, Richard Corliss, review of Far North, pp. 108-109; May 20, 1996, Richard Zoglin, review of Buried Child, p. 77; April 22, 1996, review of Buried Child, p. 99; March 20, 2000, William Tynan, review of True West, p. 88.

Times (London, England), September 24, 1983; September 26, 1983; October 6, 1984; January 7, 1986.

Times Literary Supplement, November 24, 1978; March 1, 1985; November 22, 1996, review of Cruising Paradise, p. 22.

Variety, September 14, 1988; May 20, 1991; February 8, 1993; September 19, 1994; May 5, 1997, Robert L. Daniels, review of Curse of the Starving Class, p. 213; February 16, 1998, Greg Evans, review of Eyes for Consuela, p. 68; July 17, 2000, Charles Isherwood, review of True West, p. 31; July 16, 2001, Matt Wolf, review of A Lie of the Mind, p 25; October 1, 2001, Charles Isherwood, review of The Late Henry Moss, p. 44.

Village Voice, April 4, 1977; August 15, 1977; February 12, 1979.

Vogue, February, 1984; February, 1985.

Washington Post, January 14, 1979; June 2, 1979; March 5, 1983; April 22, 1983; October 23, 1983; April 12, 1985; October 15, 1985; May 1, 1986; September 12, 1986.

Western American Literature, fall, 1989, review of True West, p. 225.

Women's Wear Daily, March 13, 1970; May 27, 1983.

World Literature Today, winter, 1997, review of Cruising Paradise, p. 152.

ONLINE

PBS Online,http://www.pbs.org/ (July 8, 1998), "Sam Shepard, Stalking Himself."

Pegasos Web site,http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/ (March 5, 2003), "Sam Shepard."

Salon.com,http://www.salon.com/ (January 2, 2001), Kevin Berger, "Sam Shepard."

Sam Shepard Web site,http://www.departments.bucknell.edu/theatre_dance/Shepard/ (June 28, 2004).

Thespian Net,http://www.thespiannet.com/ (March 5, 2003), "Sam Shepard."*

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Shepard, Sam

SHEPARD, Sam

SHEPARD, Sam. (Samuel Shepard Rogers). American, b. 1943. Genres: Novels, Plays/Screenplays, Novellas/Short stories. Career: Actor and writer. Publications: La Turista, 1968; Five Plays: Chicago, Icarus's Mother, Red Cross, Fourteen Hundred Thousand, Melodrama Play, 1967; Operation Sidewinder, 1970; The Unseen Hand and Other Plays, 1971; Mad Dog Blues and Other Plays, 1971; Hawk Moon (short stories), 1973; The Tooth of Crime, and Geography of a Horse Dreamer, 1974; Action, and The Unseen Hand, 1975; Curse of the Starving Class, 1976; Angel City and Other Plays, 1976; Rolling Thunder Logbook, 1977; Buried Child and Other Plays, 1979, in U.K. as Buried Child, and Seduced, and Suicide in B Flat, 1980; Four One-Act Plays, 1980; True West, 1981; Seven Plays, 1981; Motel Chronicles, 1982; Fool for Love and Other Plays, 1984; Paris, Texas (screenplay), 1984; A Lie of the Mind, 1985; Chicago and Other Plays, 1988; Four Two Act Plays, 1988; Far North (screenplay), 1988; States of Shock, 1992; Simpatico, 1993; Silent Tongue (screenplay), 1993; Cruising Paradise, 1996; Eyes for Consuela (from story "The Blue Bouquet" by Octavio Paz), 1999. Address: c/o ICM, 8942 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211, U.S.A.

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