US actor, playwright Sam Shepard dies at 73 | News | DW | 31.07.2017
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US actor, playwright Sam Shepard dies at 73

Sam Shepard, the Oscar-nominated actor and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, has died from complications related to a neurological condition. He was 73.

Shepard died at his home in Kentucky of complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, a family spokesman said Monday.

Ranked among the leading playwrights of his generation, Shepard wrote nearly 50 plays and numerous books, memoirs and short stories over the course of his five-decade career.

In 1979, he won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for the play "Buried Child," a story about a broken family's tragic secret. And in 1984, he received a nod for his skill as a performer, with an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor in the role of astronaut Chuck Yeager in "The Right Stuff."

Sam Shepard as an astronaut

Sam Shepard as astronaut Chuck Yeager in the 1983 film 'The Right Stuff'

He also co-wrote the screenplay for the cult classic "Paris, Texas" by German director Wim Wenders, which won the Palme D'Or at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival.

Other Hollywood acting credits include "Steel Magnolias," ''The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," "Mud," "The Notebook," "Black Hawk Down," and "Homo Faber."

Born in Fort Sheridan, Illinois in 1943, Shepard started acting and writing at high school before going on to join a traveling theater company. He later moved to New York, where he began writing plays in earnest.

A scene from Don't Come Knocking showing a man sitting on a bed between two women

Sam Shepard teamed up with Wim Wenders again for the 2005 film 'Don't Come Knocking,' which he co-wrote and starred in

Despite his illness, Shepard continued writing and working in film and television until recently, including taking on the role of patriarch Robert Rayburn in three seasons of Netflix's thriller "Bloodline." He released a novel, "The One Inside," in February.

nm/se (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)