(from Variety, 7/31; via Pam Green.)
Sam Shepard, the acclaimed playwright who was also praised as an actor, screenwriter, and director, has died. He was 73.
He died on Thursday at his home in Kentucky following complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a family spokesman confirmed to Variety.
Known for writing that suffused the fringes of American society with a surreal and brutal poetry, Shepard rose to fame when he won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 for his play “Buried Child.” He was also nominated for an Academy Award in the supporting actor category for his part in the 1983 film “The Right Stuff.”
Shepard was one of the leading figures of the Off Off Broadway movement that flourished in downtown New York beginning in the early 1960s. His often surreal early writings — including “Cowboy Mouth,” the 1971 work on which he collaborated with his romantic partner at the time, Patti Smith — eventually shifted toward an allusive not-quite-realism, beginning with “Buried Child” and continuing in plays like “Curse of the Starving Class” (1978), “True West”(1980) and “Fool for Love” (1983).