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  • SAM SHEPARD

    November 5, 1943
    Fort Sheridan, Illinois

    Playwright and actor, leader of the avant-garde in contemporary American theatre since his earliest work. Sam Shepard's plays are not easy to catezorize, but in general they blend images of the Old West, fascination with pop culture and science fiction. Before he was thirty Shepard had over thirty plays produced in New York. In his works Shepard has repeatedly examined the moral anomie and spiritual starvation that characterize the world of his drama.
          Sam Shepard was the son of an Air Force man, who retired to be a farmer. He was raised on a California farm in Duarte and studied agriculture at San Antonio Junior College. After a year he joined a touring company of actors. Later he was appointed playwright-in-residence at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco. In 1963 he moved to New York, supported himself by serving tables at the Village Gate, and pursued his theatrical interests. Shepard's one act-plays were produced in off-off Broadway theatre next year. He worked at experimental spots like La Mama, Cafe Cino, the Open Theatre, and the American Place Theatre.
          In the 1965-66 season, Shepard won Village Voice newspaper's Obie awards for his plays CHIGACO, ICARUS'S MOTHER, and RED CROSS. His bizarre comedy, LA TURISTA, was produced in 1967 in New York and two years later in London. Despite the critical acclaim of MAD DOG BLUES (1971) Shepard moved to England, where he lived until 1974. During this time he wrote several plays, that were success on both sides of the Atlantic, among others THE TOOTH OF CRIME (1972) and GEOGRAPHY OF A HORSE DREAMER (1974). In the late 1970s Shepard wrote CURSE OF THE STARVING CLASS (1976), the Pulizer Prize-winning BURIED CHILD (1979) and TRUE WEST (1981). - A LIE OF THE MIND (1986), poetic look at the American West won New York Drama Critics Circle Award.
          In 1986 Shepard was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Among his works from the 1990s are SIMPATICO (1994), a play set within the netherworld of thoroughbred racing, and CRUISING PARADISE (1996), which cointains 40 short stories exploring the themes of solitude and loss of angry and anguished men.
          As an film actor and scriptwriter Shepard started his career in the 1960s and co-wrote the script for Michelangelo Antonioni's film ZABRISKIE POINT (1970). He appeared as a doomed farmer in Terence Malick's Days of Heaven (1978), acted in Philip Kaufman's The Right Stuff as Chuck Yeager(1983), wrote the script and played in FOOL FOR LOVE (his own one-act play published in 1983, film 1985) with Kim Basinger, and have had roles in several other films. In 1988 Shepard made his debut as a director with FAR NORTH. Other later films include Thunderheart (1992), The Pelican Brief (1993) and SILENT TONGUE (1994), which he wrote and directed.
    Photo: unknown

    Bio contributed by Francisco Miguel Valada

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    FILM/TV CREDITS

    - Black Hawk Down (2002)
    - Just to Be Together (2001)
    - All The Pretty Horses (2000)
    - The Pledge (2000)
    - Texas (2000)
    - Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)
    - Dash and Lilly (1999) [TV]
    - Purgatory (1999) [TV]
    - Curtain Call (1999)
    - Hamlet (1999)
    - Texas (1999)
    - The Only Thrill (1998)
    - Lily Dale (1996) [TV]
    - Streets of Laredo (1995) [TV]
    - The Good Old Boys (1995) [TV]
    - Safe Passage (1994)
    - The Pelican Brief (1993)
    - Thunderheart (1992)
    - Homo Faber (1991)
    - Bright Angel (1991)
    - Defenseless (1990)
    - Steel Magnolias (1989)
    - Baby Boom (1987)
    - Crimes of the Heart (1986)
    - Fool for Love (1985)
    - Paris, Texas (1984)
    - Country (1984)
    - The Right Stuff (1983)
    - Frances (1982)
    - Raggedy Man (1981)
    - Resurrection (1980)
    - Days of Heaven (1978)
    - Renaldo and Clara (1978)
    - Brand X (1970)
    - Bronco Bullfrog (1969)

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