Oscar-nominated actor and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard, most recently seen as the patriarch of the disfunctional Florida family the Rayburns on the Netflix drama series “Bloodline,” has died.
The New York Times reports that Shepard died Thursday at his home in Kentucky of complications from ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was 73.
“One of the most important and influential early writers in the Off Broadway movement, Mr. Shepard captured and chronicled the darker sides of American family life in plays like ‘Buried Child,’ which won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1979, and ‘Curse of the Starving Class’ and ‘A Lie of the Mind,'” The Times notes.
The report adds: “He was widely regarded as one of the most original voices of his generation, winning praise from critics for his searing portraits of spouses, siblings and lovers struggling with issues of identity, failure and the fleeting nature of the American dream. He was nominated for two other Pulitzers, for ‘True West’ and ‘Fool for Love,’ which both received Broadway productions.”
Shepard received an Academy Award nomination in 1984 for his portrayal of Chuck Yeager in “The Right Stuff.” He was nominated for a Primetime Emmy and a Golden Globe for his performance in the 1999 production “Dash and Lilly.”
He also performed on the stage, where he received strong reviews for his work in the Off Broadway production of Caryl Churchill’s “A Number” in 2004.
Early in his film acting career, Shepard appeared in “Days of Heaven” (1978) and in a high-impact role as the loose cannon preacher’s son Cal in “Resurrection” (1980). On TV he was seen in the miniseries “Streets of Laredo” in 1995 and “Klondike” in 2014.
Here’s a clip from 2014 in which Shepard offers some background on “Klondike” …