Sam Shepard

Playwright, Screenwriter, Actor
Perhaps one of the most influential and celebrated playwrights of the late 20th century, Sam Shepard developed an extensive body of work that was preoccupied with the myth of the vanishing West and dysfunctional ... Read more »
Born: 11/04/1943 in Fort Sheridan, Illinois, USA


Actor (73)

Cold in July 2014 (Movie)

Russel (Actor)

Klondike 2013 - 2014 (TV Show)


August: Osage County 2013 (Movie)

Beverly Weston (Actor)

Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction 2013 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Mud 2013 (Movie)

Tom Blankenship (Actor)

Out of the Furnace 2013 (Movie)

Gerald "Red" Blaze (Actor)

Savannah 2013 (Movie)

Mr. Stubbs (Actor)

Shepard & Dark 2013 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Darling Companion 2012 (Movie)

Sheriff Morris (Actor)

Killing Them Softly 2012 (Movie)

Dillon (Actor)

Safe House 2012 (Movie)

Harlan Whitford (Actor)

Blackthorn 2011 (Movie)

James Blackthorn (Actor)

Fair Game 2010 (Movie)

Sam Plame (Actor)

Inhale 2010 (Movie)

James Harrison (Actor)

Brothers 2009 (Movie)

Hank Cahill (Actor)

Felon 2008 (Movie)

Gordon (Actor)

Patti Smith: Dream of Life 2008 (Movie)


The Accidental Husband 2008 (Movie)

Wilder (Actor)

The Holy Modal Rounders: Bound to Lose 2007 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Charlotte's Web 2006 (Movie)

Voice of Narrator (Actor)

Don't Come Knocking 2006 (Movie)

Howard Spence (Actor)

The Return 2006 (Movie)

Ed Mills (Actor)

Trudell 2006 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Bandidas 2005 (Movie)

Bill Buck (Actor)

Stealth 2005 (Movie)

Capt. George Cummings (Actor)

Walker Payne 2005 (Movie)

Syrus (Actor)

Blind Horizon 2004 (Movie)

Sheriff Kolb (Actor)

Leo 2004 (Movie)

Vic (Actor)

The Notebook 2004 (Movie)

Frank Calhoun (Actor)

This So-Called Disaster 2004 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Kurosawa 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)


Black Hawk Down 2001 (Movie)

Major General William F Garrison (Actor)

Swordfish 2001 (Movie)

Senator Reisman (Actor)

The Pledge 2001 (Movie)

Eric Pollack (Actor)

All the Pretty Horses 2000 (Movie)

J C Franklin (Actor)

Hamlet 2000 (Movie)

Ghost (Actor)

Kurosawa 2000 (Movie)


Snow Falling on Cedars 1999 (Movie)

Arthur Chambers (Actor)

Curtain Call 1998 (Movie)


The Only Thrill 1998 (Movie)

Reece McHenry (Actor)

Larry McMurtry's Streets of Laredo 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)


Lily Dale 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)


Safe Passage 1994 (Movie)

Patrick Singer (Actor)

The Pelican Brief 1993 (Movie)

Thomas Callahan (Actor)

Thunderheart 1992 (Movie)

Frank Coutelle (Actor)

Voyager 1992 (Movie)

Walter Faber (Actor)

Bright Angel 1991 (Movie)

Jack Russel (Actor)

Defenseless 1991 (Movie)

George Beutel (Actor)

Jessica Lange: It's Only Make-Believe 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)


Steel Magnolias 1989 (Movie)

Spud Jones (Actor)

Baby Boom 1987 (Movie)

Dr Jeff Cooper (Actor)

Crimes of the Heart 1986 (Movie)

Doc Porter (Actor)

Fool For Love 1985 (Movie)

Eddie (Actor)

Country 1984 (Movie)

Gil Ivy (Actor)

The Right Stuff 1983 (Movie)

Chuck Yeager (Actor)

Frances 1982 (Movie)

Harry York (Actor)

Raggedy Man 1981 (Movie)

Bailey-- (Actor)

Resurrection 1980 (Movie)

Cal Carpenter (Actor)

Days of Heaven 1978 (Movie)

Farmer (Actor)

Renaldo & Clara 1976 (Movie)


Bronco Bullfrog 1969 (Movie)

Jo Saville alias Bronco Bullfrog (Actor)

After the Harvest (TV Show)


Dash and Lilly (TV Show)


One Kill (TV Show)


Purgatory (TV Show)


Ruffian (TV Show)


Shot In The Heart (TV Show)


Streets of Laredo (Movie)

Pea Eye Parker (Actor)

The Good Old Boys (TV Show)

Writer (14)

Don't Come Knocking 2006 (Movie)

(Story By)

Don't Come Knocking 2006 (Movie)


Simpatico 1999 (Movie)

("Simpatico") (Play as Source Material)

Me and My Brother 1998 (Movie)


Curse of the Starving Class 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Play as Source Material

Silent Tongue 1994 (Movie)


Far North 1988 (Movie)


Fool For Love 1985 (Movie)

("Fool For Love") (Play as Source Material)

Fool For Love 1985 (Movie)


Paris, Texas 1984 (Movie)


Sam Shepard's "True West" 1983 - 1984 (TV Show)


Zabriskie Point 1970 (Movie)


See You in My Dreams (TV Show)

Source Material

True West (TV Show)

Director (3)

Silent Tongue 1994 (Movie)


Far North 1988 (Movie)


Tongues 1981 (Movie)

Music (1)

Silent Tongue 1994 (Movie)

drums (Music)


Perhaps one of the most influential and celebrated playwrights of the late 20th century, Sam Shepard developed an extensive body of work that was preoccupied with the myth of the vanishing West and dysfunctional families on the verge of tragedy. More existentialist and surrealist than romantic and conventional, Shepard often wrote plays that incorporated symbolism and non-linear storytelling while being populated with drifters, fading rock stars and others living on the edge. He also employed eccentric, inventive language - and sometimes music - to explore the parallel fantasy of disappearing from the known world. After getting his start with one-acts like "Cowboy" and "Icarus' Mother," Shepard won numerous awards with full length plays like "Curse of the Starving Class" (1978) and "Buried Child" (1978), the latter of which earned him a Pulitzer Prize in Drama. His playwriting career reached its zenith with the popular "True West" (1980), after which Shepard began focusing more on acting with roles in "The Right Stuff" (1983) and directing films like "Far North" (1988). By time he was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 1994, Shepard was far and away one of the greatest playwrights of his generation.


Sandy Rogers


O-Lan Jones Actor

Married Nobermber 9, 1969 divorced in 1984 mother of Shepard's oldest son Jesse Mojo

Jessica Lange Actor

Began relationship while filming "Frances" (1982) Had two children together Couple split in 2009, but it was not reported until December 2011

Samuel Rogers

Served in the Air Force as a bomber pilot during World War II died in a fire in 1984 at age 67

Jane Rogers

Born July 16, 1917

Roxanne Rogers


Hannah Shepard

Born c. 1985 mother, Jessica Lange

Jesse Shepard

Born in May 1970 mother, O-Lan Jones

Samuel Shepard

Born June 14, 1987 mother, Jessica Lange

Patti Smith

Together c. 1970-71 collaborated on "Cowboy Mouth"


Mount San Antonio Junior College

Walnut , California
Dropped out to join a traveling theater group

Lincoln Elementary School

South Pasadena , California

Duarte High School

Duarte , California 1961



Joined the ensemble cast of the film version of "August: Osage County"


Appeared in the action drama "Safe House" opposite Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds


Featured in the lauded drama "Mud"


Portrayed outlaw Butch Cassidy in the Western "Blackthorn"


Played the father of Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal in Jim Sheridan's remake of "Brothers"


Cast as Jesse James' (Brad Pitt) brother in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"


Co-starred with Frank Whaley in "Ruffian," an ESPN-produced TV movie based on the legendary racehorse; earned a SAG nomination for Outstanding Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries


Played a washed up cowboy actor in the neo-Western "Don't Come Knocking"; also penned the screenplay


Cast in Nick Cassavetes' "The Notebook"


Starred in Ridley Scott's "Black Hawk Down"


Cast as the chief of detectives in "The Pledge" helmed by Sean Penn


New play, "The Late Henry Moss" premiered in San Francisco, featuring Sean Penn, Woody Harrelson and Nick Nolte


Produced "True West" on Broadway with Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C Reilly, alternating leading roles; production garnered Tony nomination as Best Play


Appeared in Scott Hicks' "Snow Falling on Cedars"


Starred as Dashiell Hammett opposite Judy Davis in the A&E biopic "Dash & Lilly"; garnered an Emmy nomination


"Sam Shepard: Stalking Himself" appeared as part of "Great Performances" (PBS)


Reteamed with Peter Masterson for feature, "The Only Thrill"; film also starred Diane Keaton


Broadway debut as playwright with revised version of "Buried Child"; directed by Gary Sinise; earned a Tony nominations for Best Play


With Chaikin wrote "When the World Was Green"; commissioned for the Olympic Arts Festival in Atlanta


Bruce Beresford adapted Shepard's "Curse of the Starving Class" for Showtime movie presentation


Wrote, directed and provided percussion for "Silent Tongue"


Portrayed Frank Coutelle in "Thunderheart"


Headlined Volker Schlondorff's thought-provoking "Voyager," an adaptation of Max Frisch's "Homo Faber" (1957)


Film directorial debut, "Far North"; last film to date with Lange; also wrote screenplay


Played Dr Jeff Cooper in "Baby Boom" opposite Diane Keaton


Wrote and directed the stage play "A Lie of the Mind"


Reteamed with Lange for "Crimes of the Heart"; also first screen work with Diane Keaton


Adapted his play "Fool For Love" for the screen; feature directed by Robert Altman; also co-starred in film


Wrote screenplay for Wim Wenders' "Paris, Texas"; feature won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Filme Festival


Acted opposite Lange in "Country"


Directed first major stage production, "Fool For Love" at Circle Repertory Company in NYC; received an OBIE as Best Director


Starred as legendary pilot Chuck Yeager in "The Right Stuff"; received Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor


First feature with Jessica Lange, "Frances"


Initial collaboration with Joseph Chaiken, "Tongues"


Received Pulitzer Prize in Drama for "Buried Child"


Screen acting debut, "Renaldo and Clara"; directed by Dylan


First major film role as Farmer in Terrence Malick's "Days of Heaven"


Toured as drummer with Bob Dylan's "Rolling Thunder Revue"; later wrote book about experience


First major stage appearance, "Cowboy Mouth" at American Place Theatre in New York; written with Patti Smith


First commercial film as co-screenwriter, "Zabriskie Point"; directed by Michelangelo Antonioni


First teleplay broadcast, "Fourteen Hundred Thousand" (NET)


Contributed sketches to the stage musical revue "Oh! Calcutta!"


First film as screenwriter (co-written with director Robert Frank), the experimental "Me and My Brother"


First produced play, "Cowboys" at Theatre Genesis in New York City


Changed his name to Sam Shepard on the bus ride to NYC

Brought up on a succession of military bases before his family settled on a farm near Duarte, CA

Bonus Trivia


Shepard received a 1967 Rockefeller Foundation grant and a 1968 Guggenheim Foundation grant.


Shepard was awarded a fellowship from Yale University in 1968 and one from the University of Minnesota in 1969.


Brandeis University presented Shepard with the Creative Arts Medal in 1976.


"I still haven't gotten over this thing of walking down the street and somebody recognizing you because you've been in a movie. There's this illusion that movie stars only exist in the movies. And to see one live is like seeing a leopard let out of the zoo." – Shepard in The New York Times, Nov. 13, 1994


"I feel it's in my bones somehow. It's something that has not only affected me personally, being raised up in this country, but that is in the whole fabric of the culture. I can't put my finger on it and I don't have the cure for it and I would never pretend to. It certainly feels, as time goes by, that there is a very mysterious betrayal of some kind that we don't understand. We keep paying for it and paying for it and we don't know why we're paying for it. There's all kinds of sociological bullsh*t you can explain it away with – genocide, for example, but we can't seem to come to terms with it as Americans. We don't seem to be able to face what has actually become of us." – Shepard on why betrayal is so central to his work, quoted in Interview magazine, June 1996


"Something's been coming to me lately about this whole question of being lost. It only makes sense to me in relation to an idea of one's identity being shattered under severe personal circumstances – in a state of crisis where everything that I've previously identified with myself suddenly falls away. A shock state, I guess you might call it. I don't think it makes much difference what the shock itself is – whether it's trauma to do with a loved one or a physical accident or whatever – the resulting emptiness or aloneness is what interests me. Particularly to do with questions like home? family? the identification of others over time? people I've known who are now lost to me even though still alive." – Shepard writing to Joseph Chaikin in 1983, published in American Theatre, July-August 1997


"The really tragic thing about [Oedipus] isn't that he lost his eyes. The tragic thing is that he did everything he could to get out of his fate, and he just went falling right into it. That really compels me." – Shepard to New York magazine, Feb. 2, 1998