Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Sam Shepard  

Pen Name: None

Genre:

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1943 in Fort Sheridan, Illinois

Died: July 27, 2017 in Kentucky


-- Website -- http://www.sam-shepard.com/index.html
-- Sam Shepard on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=sam+shepard


Illinois Connection

Shepard was born in Fort Sheridan as Samuel Shepard Rogers III. He was named after his father.

Biographical and Professional Information

Sam Shepard was a Playwright, Author, Actor, Screenwriter and Director. He was the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of more than fifty-five plays and several story collections. As an actor, he appeared in more than sixty films, and received an Oscar nomination in 1984 for ''The Right Stuff''. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, received the Gold Medal for Drama from the Academy, and has been inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Hawk Moon: Short Stories, Poems, and Monologues (PAJ Books)
ISBN: 0933826230

PAJ Publications. 1981

In this collection of more than fifty monologues, short stories and poems—Shepard's first—one of America's most acclaimed writers and actors reflects on growing up in America, rock and roll, the sex of fishes, and other topics. Shepard displays his virtuosic sense of the rhythms of the American landscape.

The Rolling Thunder Logbook
ISBN: 0306813718

Da Capo Press. 2004

In the autumn of 1975, when "New England is festering with Bicentennial madness," Bob Dylan and his Rolling Thunder Revue-a rag-tag variety show that Dylan envisioned as a traveling gypsy circus-toured twenty-two cities across the Northeast. Swept up in the motley crew, which included Joni Mitchell, Mick Ronson, Allen Ginsberg, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, and Ramblin' Jack Elliot, was playwright Sam Shepard, ostensibly hired to write, on the spot, the script for a Fellini-esque, surreal movie that would come out of the tour. The script never materialized, but throughout the many moods and moments of his travels with Dylan and his troupe, Shepard kept an impressionistic Rolling Thunder Logbook of life on the road. Illuminated by forty candid photographs by official tour photographer Ken Regan, Shepard's mental-snap shots capture the camaraderie, isolation, head games, and pill-popping mayhem of the tour, providing a window into Dylan's singular talent, enigmatic charisma, and vision of America.

Motel Chronicles
ISBN: 0872861430

City Lights Publishers. 2001

Motel Chronicles reveals the fast-moving and sometimes surprising world of the man behind the plays that have made Sam Shepard a live legend in the theater. Shepard chronicles his own life birth in Illinois, childhood memories of Guam, Pasadena and rural Southern California, adventures as ranch hand, waiter, rock musician, dramatist, and film actor. Scenes from this book form the basis of his play Superstitions, and of the film (directed by Wim Wenders) Paris, Texas, winner of the Golden Palm Award at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival.

". . .essential reading. A scrapbook of short stories, autobiographical reveries, poetry and photographs, Motel Chronicles is full of verbal delights, as well as insights into its author's entire canon. Whether Mr. Shepard is reminiscing about his parents or daydreaming about cherished movies and cars of his youth, he speaks in pungent and ethereal language that remakes our West. Read in conjunction with the plays, Motel Chronicles also helps demystify the origins of Mr. Shepard's psychological obsessions and desolate frontier iconography." —Frank Rich, New York Times

"If plays were put in time capsules, future generations would get a sharp-toothed profile of life in the U.S. in the past decade and half from the works of Sam Shepard." —Time

"Sam Shepard is a shaman—a New World shaman. Sam is as American as peyote, magic mushrooms, Rock and Roll, and medicine bundles." —Jack Gelber

Sam Shepard (1943) is a playwright, actor, author, screen writer, and director whose work is performed on and off Broadway and in other theaters across the country. In 1979, he received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play Buried Child. In 1983, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in The Right Stuff. His other famous works include True West, A Lie of the Mind, and Curse of the Starving Class. Fool For Love & the Sad Lament of Pecos Bill by Sam Shepard was also published by City Lights Publishers.


Sam Shepard : Seven Plays (Buried Child, Curse of the Starving Class, The Tooth of Crime, La Turista, Tongues, Savage Love, True West)
ISBN: 0553346113

Dial Press Trade Paperback. 1984

Brilliant, prolific, uniquely American, Pulitzer prizewinning playwright Sam Separd is a major voice in contemporary theatre. And here are seven of his very best.

"One of the most original, prolific and gifted dramatists at work today."—The New Yorker

"The greatest American playwright of his generation...the most inventive in language and revolutionary in craft, [he] is the writer whose work most accurately maps the interior and exterior landscapes of his society."—New York Magazine

"If plays were put in time capsules, future generations would get a sharp-toothed profile of life in the U.S. in the past decade and a half from the works of Sam Shepard."—Time

"Sam Shepard is the most exciting presence in the movie world and one of the most gifted writers ever to work on the American stage."—Marsha Norman, Pulitzer prizewinning author of ‘Night, Mother.

"One of our best and most challenging playwrights...his plays are a form of exorcism: magical, sometimes surreal rituals that grapple with the demonic forces in the American landscape."—Newsweek

"His plays are stunning in thier originality, defiant and inscrutable."—Esquire

"Sam Shepard is phenomenal..the best practicing American playwright."—The New Republic

Cruising Paradise
ISBN: 0517367785

Random House Value Publishing. 1999

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, actor, ex-cowboy, and musician Sam Shepard now stands revealed as a storyteller of dazzling artistry. Bleak and wildly funny, touching but stringently unsentimental, these stories give readers a most intimate view of the writer who has become synonymous with the recklessness, stoicism, and solitude of American manhood.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Great Dream of Heaven: Stories
ISBN: 0375704523

Vintage. 2003

In eighteen stories unlike any in our contemporary literature, Sam Shepard explores the vast and rugged American West with the same parched intensity that has made him “the great playwright of his generation” (The New York Times).

A boy watches a “remedy man” tame a wild stallion, a contest that mirrors his own struggle with his father. A woman driving her mother’s ashes across the country has a strangely transcendent run-in with an injured hawk. Two aging widowers, in Stetsons and bolo ties, together make a daily pilgrimage to the local Denny’s, only to be divided by the attentions of their favorite waitress. Peering unblinkingly into the chasms that separate fathers and sons, husbands and wives, friends and strangers, these powerful tales bear the unmistakable signature of an American master.

Day out of Days: Stories
ISBN: 0307265404

Knopf. 2010

From one of our most admired writers: a collection of stories set mainly in the fertile imaginative landscape of the American West, written with the terse lyricism, cinematic detail, and wry humor that have become Sam Shepard’s trademarks.

A man traveling down Highway 90 West gets trapped alone overnight inside a Cracker Barrel restaurant, where he is tormented by an endless loop of Shania Twain songs on the overhead sound system. A wandering actor returns to his hometown against his better instincts and runs into an old friend, who recounts their teenage days of stealing cars, scoring Benzedrine, and sleeping with whores in Tijuana. A Minnesota family travels south for a winter vacation but, caught up in the ordinary tyrannies of family life, remains oblivious to the beauty of the Yucatán Peninsula. A solitary horse rancher muses on Sitting Bull and Beckett amid the jumble of stuff in his big country kitchen—from rusted spurs and Lakota dream-catchers to yellowing pictures of hawks and galloping horses to “snapshots of different sons in different shirts doing different things like fishing, riding mules and tractors leaning up against their different mothers at radical angles.”

Made up of short narratives, lyrics, and dialogues, Day out of Days sets conversation against tale, song against memory, in a cubistic counterpoint that finally links each piece together. The result is a stunning work of vision and clarity imbued with the vivid reverberations of myth—Shepard at his flinty-eyed, unwavering best.

Two Prospectors: The Letters of Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark (Southwestern Writers Collection)
ISBN: 0292761961

University of Texas Press. 2017

Sam Shepard was arguably America’s finest working dramatist, as well as an accomplished screenwriter, actor, and director. Winner of a Pulitzer Prize, he wrote more than forty-five plays, including True West, Fool for Love, and Buried Child. Shepard also appeared in more than fifty films, beginning with Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven, and was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in The Right Stuff. Despite the publicity his work and life attracted, however, Shepard remained a strongly private man who said many times that he would never write a memoir. But he did write intensively about his inner life and creative work to his former father-in-law and housemate, Johnny Dark, who was Shepard’s closest friend, surrogate brother (they were nearly the same age), and even artistic muse.

Two Prospectors gathers nearly forty years of correspondence and transcribed conversations between Shepard and Dark. In these gripping, sometimes gut-wrenching letters, the men open themselves to each other with amazing honesty. Shepard’s letters give us the deepest look we will ever get into his personal philosophy and creative process, while in Dark’s letters we discover insights into Shepard’s character that only an intimate friend could provide. The writers also reflect on the books and authors that stimulate their thinking, their relationships with women (including Shepard’s anguished decision to leave his wife and son—Dark’s stepdaughter and grandson—for actress Jessica Lange), personal struggles, and accumulating years. Illustrated with Dark’s candid, revealing photographs of Shepard and their mutual family across many years, as well as facsimiles of numerous letters, Two Prospectors is a compelling portrait of a complex friendship that anchored both lives for decades, a friendship also poignantly captured in Treva Wurmfeld’s film, Shepard & Dark.

The One Inside
ISBN: 045149458X

Knopf. 2017

The first work of long fiction from the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright—a tour de force of memory, mystery, death, and life.

This searing, extraordinarily evocative narrative opens with a man in his house at dawn, surrounded by aspens, coyotes cackling in the distance as he quietly navigates the distance between present and past. More and more, memory is overtaking him: in his mind he sees himself in a movie-set trailer, his young face staring back at him in a mirror surrounded by light bulbs. In his dreams and in visions he sees his late father—sometimes in miniature, sometimes flying planes, sometimes at war. By turns, he sees the bygone America of his childhood: the farmland and the feedlots, the railyards and the diners—and, most hauntingly, his father's young girlfriend, with whom he also became involved, setting into motion a tragedy that has stayed with him. His complex interiority is filtered through views of mountains and deserts as he drives across the country, propelled by jazz, benzedrine, rock and roll, and a restlessness born out of exile. The rhythms of theater, the language of poetry, and a flinty humor combine in this stunning meditation on the nature of experience, at once celebratory, surreal, poignant, and unforgettable.


Awards

Great Dream of Heaven

  • Finalist, W. H. Smith Literary Award