Shepard, Sam, 1943–, American playwright and actor, b. Fort Sheridan, Ill., as Samuel Shepard Rogers 7th. A product of the 1960s counterculture, Shepard combines wild humor, grotesque satire, myth, and a sparse, haunting language evocative of Western movies to create a subversive pop art vision of America. His settings are often a kind of nowhere land on the American Plains, his characters are typically loners and drifters caught between a mythical past and the mechanized present, and his works often concern deeply troubled families. His many plays include Curse of the Starving Class (1977), Buried Child (1978; Pulitzer Prize), True West (1980), A Lie of the Mind (1985), States of Shock (1991), Simpatico (1994), The Late Henry Moss (2000), and The God of Hell (2004). Also involved in motion pictures, Shepard wrote the screenplays for The Right Stuff (1983), in which he played the part of Chuck Yeager, and Paris, Texas (1984); wrote and directed Far North (1989) and Silent Tongue (1994); and has acted in a number of other films. His other work includes the stories, meditations, reminiscences, and other pieces collected in Motel Chronicles (1982), Cruising Paradise (1996), Great Dream of Heaven (2002), and Day Out of Days (2010).
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