Sam Shepard, Pulitzer-winning playwright, is dead at 73 – California News

Sam Shepard, Pulitzer-winning playwright, is dead at 73 – California News

NEW YORK — Sam Shepard, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Oscar-nominated actor and celebrated author whose plays chronicled the explosive fault lines of family and masculinity in the American West, has died. He was 73.

Family spokesman Chris Boneau said Monday that Shepard died Thursday at his home in Kentucky from complications related to Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

The taciturn Shepard, who grew up on a California ranch, was a man of few words who nevertheless produced 44 plays and numerous books, memoirs and short stories. He was one of the most influential playwrights of his generation: a plain-spoken poet of the modern frontier, both lyrical and rugged.

• PHOTOS — Sam Shepard, famed actor and playwright, dies of Lou Gehrig’s disease

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In his 1971 one-act “Cowboy Mouth, which he wrote with his then-girlfriend, musician and poet Patti Smith, one character says, “People want a street angel. They want a saint but with a cowboy mouth” — a role the tall and handsome Shepard fulfilled for many. But in soul-searching plays, his portrait of the West was a disillusioned one, peopled by broken characters whose realities fell far short of the American Dream.

“I was writing basically for actors,” Shepard told The Associated Press in a 2011 interview. “And actors immediately seemed to have a handle on it, on the rhythm of it, the sound of it, the characters. I started to understand there was this possibility of conversation between actors and that’s how it all started.”

Shepard’s Western…

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