Sam Shepard


05 Nov 1943


Fort Sheridan, Illinois, USA


Samuel Shepard Rogers


Sam Shepard was born Samuel Shepard Rogers in Fort Sheridan, Illinois, to Jane Elaine (Schook), a teacher, and Samuel Shepard Rogers, a teacher and farmer who was also in the army. As the eldest son of a US Army officer (and WWII bomber pilot), Shepard spent his early childhood moving from base to base around the US until finally settling in Duarte, California. While at high school he began acting and writing and worked as a ranch hand in Chino. He graduated high school in 1961 and then spent a year studying agriculture at Mount San Antonio Junior College, intending to become a vet.

In 1962, though, a touring theater company, the Bishop's Company Repertory Players, visited the town and he joined up and left home to tour with them. He spent nearly two years with the company and eventually settled in New York where he began writing plays, first performing with an obscure off-off-Broadway group but eventually gaining recognition for his writing and winning prestigious OBIE awards (Off-Broadway ) three years running.

He flirted with the world of rock, playing drums for the Holy Modal Rounders, then moved to London in 1971 where he continued writing.

Back in the US by 1974, he became playwright in residence at San Francisco's Magic Theater and continued to work as an increasingly well respected playwright throughout the 1970s and into the '80s.

Throughout this time he had been dabbling with Hollywood having, most notably in the early days, worked as one of the writers on Zabriskie Point (1970), but it was his role as Chuck Yeager in 1983's The Right Stuff (1983) that brought him fully to the attention of the wider, non-theater audience.

Since then he has continued to write, act and direct, both on screen and in the theater.

Actor ( 72 credits )

Never Here (2017) Paul Stark
Midnight Special (2016)
Ithaca (2015) Willie Grogan
Untitled KZK Project (2015)  Robert Rayburn (1 episode)
Cold in July (2014) Russel
Out of the Furnace (2013) Gerald 'Red' Baze
August: Osage County (2013) Beverly Weston
Savannah (2013) Mr. Stubbs
Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction (2012) Himself
Mud (2012) Tom
Killing Them Softly (2012) Dillon
Shepard & Dark (2012)
Safe House (2012) Harlan Whitford
Darling Companion (2012) Sheriff Morris
Gold Rush: The Dirt (2012)  Himself (1 episode, 2014)
The Presence of Joseph Chaikin (2012)
Blackthorn (2011) James
Fair Game (2010) Sam Plame
Inhale (2010) James Harrison
Brothers (2009) Hank Cahill
Play On, John: A Life in Music (2009) Narrator
The Accidental Husband (2008) Wilder
Felon (2008) Gordon
Patti Smith: Dream of Life (2008) Himself
One Fast Move or I'm Gone: Kerouac's Big Sur (2008) Himself
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) Frank James
Charlotte's Web (2006) Narrator (voice)
The Return (2006) Ed Mills
Bandidas (2006) Bill Buck
Walker Payne (2006) Syrus
The Holy Modal Rounders: Bound to Lose (2006) Himself
Don't Come Knocking (2005) Howard Spence
Stealth (2005) Capt. George Cummings
Trudell (2005) Himself
The Notebook (2004) Frank Calhoun
This So-Called Disaster: Sam Shepard Directs the Late Henry Moss (2003) Himself
Blind Horizon (2003) Sheriff Jack Kolb
Leo (2002) Vic
Rosy-Fingered Dawn: a Film on Terrence Malick (2002) Himself
Black Hawk Down (2001) Garrison
Swordfish (2001) Senator James Reisman
The Pledge (2001) Eric Pollack
All the Pretty Horses (2000) J.C. Franklin
Hamlet (2000) Ghost
Snow Falling on Cedars (1999) Arthur Chambers
It All Came True (1998) Will Dodge
The Only Thrill (1997) Reece McHenry
Safe Passage (1994) Patrick Singer
The Pelican Brief (1993) Thomas Callahan
Intimate Portrait (1993)  Himself (1 episode, 1998)
Thunderheart (1992) Frank Coutelle
Voyager (1991) Walter Faber
Defenseless (1991) Det. Beutel
Bright Angel (1990) Jack
Steel Magnolias (1989) Spud Jones
P.O.V. (1988) (1 episode, 2009)
Baby Boom (1987) Dr. Jeff Cooper
Crimes of the Heart (1986) Doc Porter
Fool for Love (1985) Eddie
Paris, Texas (1984) (unconfirmed)
Country (1984) Gil Ivy
The Right Stuff (1983) Chuck Yeager
Frances (1982) Harry York
Raggedy Man (1981) Bailey
Resurrection (1980) Cal
Days of Heaven (1978) The Farmer
Renaldo and Clara (1978) Rodeo
Arena (1975)  Himself (1 episode, 1997)
Great Performances (1971)  Himself / ... (2 episodes, 1998-2000)
Brand X (1970)
Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (1967)  Himself - Guest Performer (1 episode, 1968)
Shoedog (0) Grimes

Writer ( 13 credits )

Don't Come Knocking (2005)
Simpatico (1999) (original play)
Curse of the Starving Class (1994)
Silent Tongue (1993) (writer)
Far North (1988) (written by)
Fool for Love (1985)
Paris, Texas (1984)
American Playhouse (1981) (1 episode, 1984)
Renaldo and Clara (1978) (writer)
Oh! Calcutta! (1972) (contributions)
Zabriskie Point (1970) (screenplay) (as Fred Gardner) and
Me and My Brother (1969) (writer)
ITV Saturday Night Theatre (1969) (1 episode, 1974)

Director ( 2 credits )

Silent Tongue (1993)
Far North (1988)