Theatre & Film

Sam Shepard, ‘Poet Laureate Of America’s Emotional Badlands,’ Dies At 73

A Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Oscar-nominated actor, Shepard cut a towering presence in theater and cinema. He died last week of complications from ALS, a family spokesman says.

Sam Shepard in 2011.
Sam Shepard in 2011.

For more than half a century, playwright Sam Shepard stood as a towering presence in American theater and cinema, penning dozens of plays and earning an Oscar nomination as an actor in his own right. Delving deeply into the complicated — often bleak — nature of family life, the Pulitzer Prize winner earned the title, in one writer’s estimation, of “poet laureate of America’s emotional badlands.”

That influential “poet laureate” — who was not only a playwright, but an actor and director too — died Thursday at 73 of complications from Lou Gehrig’s disease, also called called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. A family spokesman says he died at his home in Kentucky.

“The family requests privacy at this difficult time,” said the spokesman for the family, Chris Boneau.

This post will be updated.

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