Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey was attending the premiere of his film The Dark Tower in New York on July 31, 2017, when a reporter approached. There is nothing unusual about being asked a question on the red carpet, but this one left the 47-year-old Hollywood heavyweight reeling. He was asked if he could share his thoughts about the death of his friend Sam Shepard. McConaughey is renowned for his distinct way with words. So it was no surprise that he managed to deliver a glowing eulogy just seconds after hearing of Shepard’s passing. Here is a look at the life of the late acting, writing and directing legend and how he impacted McConaughey, his co-star in the 2012 film Mud.
Samuel Shepard Rogers III was born in Fort Sheridan, Illinois on November 5, 1943, to teacher parents. Following his high school graduation in 1961, he briefly studied animal husbandry before joining a touring repertory group. After moving to New York the next year, he became immersed in the avant-garde theater movement Off-Off-Broadway. It was during this time that he adopted the name Sam Shepard and began writing for the stage.
Shepard won six Obie Awards, which salute Off-Broadway productions, for his work as a playwright between 1966 and 1968. Icarus’s Mother, La Turista and Forensic and the Navigator were just three of his celebrated works. He then moved into the film world, writing the screenplays for Robert Frank’s Me and My Brother in 1968 and Michelangelo Antonioni’s counterculture drama Zabriskie Point in 1970.