Sam Shepard in the legal drama "Defenseless" (1991).
Shepard, who died Thursday, July 27, 2017, at age 73, was the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of such classics as "Buried Child," "True West" and "Curse of the Starving Class." He was also a gifted actor, whose magnetic screen presence and laconic masculinity graced such films as "Days of Heaven," "Frances," "Fool for Love" and "The Right Stuff," for which he earned an Academy Award nomination.
By CBSNews.com senior producer David Morgan
Playwright Sam Shepard in 1970, at the time of the debut of "Operation Sidewinder" at the Repertory Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City.
An Army brat born on November 5, 1943 in Illinois, Samuel Shepard Rogers III lived a meandering childhood - raised in the Midwest, Florida and Guam - before his family settled onto a ranch east of Los Angeles. He ran off to New York City in the early 1960s, where he found a more beatnik experience on the Lower East Side. Drawn to the works of Samuel Beckett, he began to direct his own energies to playwriting, producing family dramas, pungent character studies and freewheeling satires filled with mordant black humor - works of remarkable, often head-scratching, originality.
"Days of Heaven"
Sam Shepard first major on-screen role was in Terrence Malick's period epic "Days of Heaven" (1978). Shepard starred as a farmer who marries a farmhand, unaware that the man posing as her brother (and running from the law) is her lover.
Sam Shepard as the lover of Ellen Burstyn in the 1980 drama "Resurrection."
Sam Shepard in "Resurrection" (1980).
Sam Shepard in the Sissy Spacek drama "Raggedy Man."
Sam Shepard starred opposite Jessica Lange in "Frances" (1982), about the troubled life of 1930s actress Frances Farmer.
"The Right Stuff"
Sam Shepard as Chuck Yeager, with Barbara Hershey, in Philip Kaufman's epic tale of test pilots and astronauts, "The Right Stuff" (1983).
"The Right Stuff"
Sam Shepard earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor as test pilot Chuck Yeager in "The Right Stuff" (1983).
Sam Shepard and Jessica Lange struggle to maintain the family farm in the 1984 drama "Country."
"Fool for Love"
Sam Shepard starred with Kim Basinger in the film version of his play "Fool for Love" (1985), directed by Robert Altman.
"Crimes of the Heart"
Jessica Lange and and Sam Shepard in the 1986 film version of Beth Henley's play "Crimes of the Heart."
"Crimes of the Heart"
Diane Keaton and Sam Shepard in "Crimes of the Heart."
Sam Shepard played a Vermont veterinarian who catches the fancy of a recent transplant, a New York businesswoman played by Diane Keaton, in the 1987 comedy "Baby Boom."
Dolly Parton and Sam Shepard in the comedy-drama "Steel Magnolias" (1989).
Sam Shepard in director Michael Fields' family drama "Bright Angel" (1991).
Sam Shepard threatens Will Patton in "Bright Angel."
Sam Shepard reteamed with his "Right Stuff" costar Barbara Hershey in the legal drama "Defenseless" (1991).
In "Thunderheart" (1992), Sam Shepard and Val Kilmer are FBI agents investigating a murder on Native American tribal lands in South Dakota.
"The Pelican Brief"
Sam Shepard stars as the mentor and lover of law student Julia Roberts in the John Grisham thriller "The Pelican Brief" (1993).
Sam Shepard in the drama "Safe Passage" (1994).
Sam Shepard, as the ghost of Hamlet's father, appears in director Michael Almereyda's 2000 version of Shakespeare's play, set in contemporary New York.
"Shot in the Heart"
Sam Shepard starred in the 2001 TV film "Shot in the Heart," based on Mikal Gilmore's memoir, as the father of Mikal and his brother, Gary Gilmore, who was executed by firing squad in Utah in 1977.
"Black Hawk Down"
Sam Shepard as a Delta Force commander in Ridley Scott's "Black Hawk Down" (2001).
Sam Shepard with Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling in the period romantic drama "The Notebook" (2004).
"Don't Come Knocking"
"Don't Come Knocking" (2005), directed by Wim Wenders, and written by Wenders and Sam Shepard, playing a Western film star who hits the road in search of a woman he'd left behind years earlier (Jessica Lange).
"The Assassination of Jesse James..."
Sam Shepard as Frank James in Andrew Dominik's elegiac western, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (2007).
Shepard died Thursday July 27, 2017, from complications related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), a family spokesperson said. He was 73.