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Writer/director Sam Shepard on the set of "Silent Tongue."
SAM SHEPARD (Writer/Director) is an actor, screenwriter and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright. He has written over forty plays, twelve of which have won Obie Awards and he earned an Oscar nomination in 1984 for his portrayal of Chuck Yeager in THE RIGHT STUFF.
Born Samuel Shepard Rogers in 1943 at Fort Sheridan, Illinois and brought up on a succession of Army bases, spending his childhood in Wyoming and California, where he learned rodeo riding. Working as a waiter and a rock musician to support himself while pursuing acting, his career as a playwright began in New York in 1964 with the Theatre Genesis production of two one-act plays, "Cowboys" and "The Rock Garden," at St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery. He continued to write plays, such as "Chicago," "Icarus' Mother" and "Red Cross," which won an Obie. His first full length play "La Turista" was performed at the American Place Theatre in 1967 and also won an Obie. "The Tooth of the Crime," a rock-drama written during the four years he lived in London marked his third Obie Award and made its American premiere at Princeton University in 1972. His fourth Obie-winning play was "Curse of the Starving Class," which first appeared at the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1978. In 1979, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for "Buried Child."
Shepard spent several successful seasons with off-off-Broadway groups, such as the famed La Mama and Caffe Cino and was playwright-in-residence at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco for several years. His works produced at the Magic include "Action," "Killer's Head," "Inacoma," "Tongues," "Suicide in B Flat," "True West" and "Fool For Love," which was later adapted for the screen by Robert Altman, starring Shepard. His play "A Lie of the Mind" went on to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award. His most recent work was "States of Shock."
Shepard made his screen acting debut in 1978 in RENALDO AND CLARA, directed by Bob Dylan. He had toured with Dylan in the 1975 "Rolling Thunder" revue as a drummer for the group the Holy Modal Rounders and wrote a book about the experience, "Rolling Thunder Logbook." Shepard's additional film credits include DAYS OF HEAVEN, RESURRECTION, RAGGEDY MAN, FRANCES, COUNTRY, CRIMES OF THE HEART, BABY BOOM and STEEL MAGNOLIAS. He also starred in BRIGHT ANGEL, THUNDERHEART, VOYAGER and, most recently, opposite Julia Roberts in THE PELICAN BRIEF. His screenplay for Wim Wenders' PARIS, TEXAS won the Palme d'Or at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival. He also cowrote the screenplays of Robert Frank's ME AND MY BROTHER (1969) and Michelangelo Antonioni's ZABRISKIE POINT (1970). Shepard made his debut as a feature film director in 1989 with FAR NORTH.
In 1975, Shepard received the Gold Medal for Drama from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and, in 1986, he was elected a member of that prestigious organization. In the spring of 1993, Vintage Press published a book of Shepard's last three works, "States of Shock," FAR NORTH and SILENT TONGUE.