Stars of Stage and Screen React to Sam Shepard’s Death

Special Features   Stars of Stage and Screen React to Sam Shepard’s Death
Ed Harris, Betty Buckley, George Takei, and more remember the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright after news of his passing.
Sam Shepard
Sam Shepard Bruce Weber

News broke July 31 that Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard had died on July 27 following complications with ALS.


From 1966 through 1968, Shepard won six Obie Awards in the Best Distinguished Plays category for 1966’s Chicago, Icarus’s Mother, and Red Cross, 1967’s La Turista, and 1968’s Forensic and the Navigator and Melodrama Play. He would go on to win seven more Obie Awards honoring his Off-Broadway achievements, including Best Playwriting for Buried Child (1979), Best New American Play and Best Direction for Fool For Love (1984), and a Sustained Achievement Award in 1980.

Buried Child won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and was most recently staged in New York by The New Group Off-Broadway during the 2015–2016 season. His Fool for Love played Manhattan Theatre Club’s Friedman Theatre during the 2105–2016 Broadway season. Below, members of the theatre community react to the loss of the two-time Tony nominee and three-time Pulitzer finalist:

"I loved Sam. He has been a huge part of my life, who I am, and he will remain so. I will let others talk about the importance and beauty of his work in theater and film."
Ed Harris, original star of Fool for Love Off-Broadway and recently seen in the Off-Broadway revival of Buried Child

"He was a poet of the first order. I've acted in many of his plays and directed A Lie of the Mind. He played my father twice on film. Some days he could be irascible. At other times he could be profoundly wise and kind. He was the writer any serious American actor of my generation cut their teeth on. It is a gross understatement to say, he will be missed."
Ethan Hawke, director of the 2010 New Group revival of A Lie of the Mind who appeared opposite Shepard on screen in Hamlet and Snow Falling on Cedars

(Playbill will continue to update.)

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