Richest CelebritiesActors
Net Worth:
$10 Million
Date of Birth:
Nov 5, 1943 - Jul 27, 2017 (73 years old)
Place of Birth:
Fort Sheridan
6 ft 1 in (1.87 m)
Playwright, Actor, Author, Writer, Screenwriter, Film director, Television Director, Musician, Teacher, Voice Actor
United States of America
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What was Sam Shepard's Net Worth and Salary?

Sam Shepard was an American actor, playwright, and director who had a net worth of $10 million at the time of his death in 2017. Shepard earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance as Chuck Yeager in the 1983 film "The Right Stuff," and he received Tony nominations for Best Play for "Buried Child" (1996) and "True West" (2000). He also earned three Pulitzer Prize nominations for Drama, winning for "Buried Child" in 1979; his other nominations were for "True West" (1983) and "Fool for Love" (1984). Sam wrote 58 plays, two novels (2017's "The One Inside" and "Spy of the First Person"), and several collections of essays and short stories.

He had more than 60 acting credits to his name, including the films "Fool for Love" (1985), "Crimes of the Heart" (1986), "Steel Magnolias" (1989), "The Pelican Brief" (1993), "Black Hawk Down" (2001), "The Notebook" (2004), and "August: Osage County" (2013) and the television series "Bloodline" (2015–2017). Shepard wrote and directed the films "Far North" (1988) and "Silent Tongue" (1994), and he wrote "Fool for Love" as well as "Me and My Brother" (1969), "Zabriskie Point" (1970), "Renaldo and Clara" (1978), "Paris, Texas" (1984), "Curse of the Starving Class" (1994), "Simpatico" (1999), and "Don't Come Knocking" (2005). In 1980, "New York" magazine called Sam "the greatest American playwright of his generation." Sadly, Shepard died in July 2017 at the age of 73 after battling ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease).

Early Life

Sam Shepard was born Samuel Shepard Rogers III on November 5, 1943, in Fort Sheridan, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. He was named after his father, Samuel Shepard Rogers Jr., but he went by the name Steve Rogers. Shepard's father was a farmer and a teacher, and he served as a bomber pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. Sam described his father as "a drinking man, a dedicated alcoholic." Shepard's mother, Jane, was a teacher. As a teenager, Sam worked on a ranch and attended Duarte High School in California. After graduating in 1961, he enrolled at Mt. San Antonio College to study animal husbandry. While attending college, Shepard became interested in jazz, Samuel Beckett, and abstract expressionism, and he left Mt. San Antonio to join the touring repertory group the Bishop's Company.

Writing Career

In 1963, Sam moved to New York City and worked as a busboy at the Greenwich Village nightclub the Village Gate. The club's head waiter, Ralph Cook, founded Theater Genesis, an experimental stage company, at St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery in 1964, and Shepard's one-act plays "Cowboys" and "The Rock Garden" premiered in October of that year. In 1965, La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club produced the one-act plays "The Rocking Chair" and "Dog," followed by "Melodrama Play" in 1967, "The Unseen Hand" in 1969, and "Shaved Splits" in 1970. A 1981 La MaMa production of "The Unseen Hand" later transferred to Manhattan's Provincetown Playhouse, where it ran for more than 100 performances. Between 1966 and 1968, Sam won six Obie Awards, and in 1968, he made his screenwriting debut with "Me and My Brother." In 1971, he collaborated on the play "Cowboy Mouth" with musician Patti Smith (his then-lover), and not long after, he moved to London with his wife and son. There, Shepard studied G.I. Gurdjieff's Fourth Way, and after returning to the U.S. in 1975, he moved to the Flying Y Ranch in Mill Valley, California, and spent a semester working as a Regents' Professor of Drama at the of California, Davis.

In 1975, Sam co-wrote the film "Renaldo and Clara" with Bob Dylan and accompanied Dylan on his "Rolling Thunder Revue." The two later co-wrote the song "Brownsville Girl," which was featured on Dylan's 1986 album "Knocked Out Loaded." Also in 1975, Shepard became playwright-in-residence at San Francisco's Magic Theatre, where he wrote notable works such as the "Family Trilogy," which included one of his most famous plays, 1978's "Buried Child." The play went on to win a Pulitzer Prize and earn five Tony nominations. In the '80s, Sam wrote "True West" (1980), "Savage/Love" (1981), "Fool for Love" (1983), and "A Lie of the Mind" (1985), followed by plays such as "Simpatico" (1993), "The God of Hell" (2004), and "Kicking a Dead Horse" (2007). Shepard also published several books, including "Hawk Moon" (1973), "Motel Chronicles" (1983), "Cruising Paradise" (1996), and "Day Out of Days: Stories" (2004).

Sam Shepard Net Worth


Acting Career

In 1978, Shepard co-starred with Richard Gere in Terrence Malick's "Days of Heaven," then he appeared in the films "Resurrection" (1980), "Raggedy Man" (1981), "Frances" (1982), "Country" (1984), "Fool for Love" (1985), and "Crimes of the Heart" (1986), and he earned an Academy Award nomination for 1983's "The Right Stuff." He played Spud Jones in 1989's "Steel Magnolias," then he appeared in the films "Bright Angel" (1990), "Voyager" (1991), "Defenseless" (1991), "Thunderheart" (1992), "The Pelican Brief" (1993), "Safe Passage" (1994), "Curtain Call" (1998), and "Snow Falling on Cedars" (1999) and the TV movies "The Good Old Boys" (1995) and "Purgatory" (1999). Sam received Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for his performance as Dashiell Hammett in the 1999 TV movie "Dash and Lilly," and that year he also played Pea Eye Parker in the miniseries "Streets of Laredo." He appeared in the films "Hamlet" (2000), "All the Pretty Horses" (2000), "Swordfish" (2001), "Stealth" (2005), and "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (2007), and he played William F. Garrison in 2001's "Black Hawk Down" and Frank Calhoun in 2004's "The Notebook." In 2014, Shepard starred in the Discovery Channel miniseries "Klondike," and from 2015 to 2017, he had a recurring role as Robert Rayburn on the Netflix series "Bloodline." In the last decade of his life, Sam appeared in the films "Fair Game" (2010), "Safe House" (2012), "Mud" (2012), "Cold in July" (2014), "Midnight Special" (2016), and "Never Here" (2017) and portrayed Butch Cassidy in 2011's "Blackthorn" and Beverly Weston in 2013's "August: Osage County."

Personal Life

Sam married actress O-Lan Jones on November 9, 1969, and their divorce was finalized on the same date in 1984. They welcomed a son, Jesse Mojo, in May 1970. Around this time, Shepard had an affair with musician Patti Smith. He also had an affair with Joni Mitchell, who wrote two songs about him; "Coyote" includes the line "He's got a woman at home, another woman down the hall, but he seems to want me anyway." In 1983, Sam moved in with his "Frances" co-star Jessica Lange, and they had two children, daughter Hannah (born January 13, 1986) and son Samuel (born June 14, 1987), before splitting up in 2009 after 27 years together. Shepard dated actress Mia Kirshner from 2014 to 2015. In January 2009, he was charged with drunk driving and speeding after being arrested in Normal, Illinois. He pleaded guilty the following month and received a sentence of 24 months probation and 100 hours of community service. He was also ordered to attend alcohol education classes. Sam was arrested again in May 2015 for aggravated drunk driving, but the charges were dismissed.


Sam passed away from complications of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) on July 27, 2017, at his Kentucky home at the age of 73. Patti Smith subsequently wrote an essay about Shepard entitled "My Buddy" for "The New Yorker." Sam's "Mud" co-star Matthew McConaughey found out about Shepard's death at "The Dark Tower" premiere, and he said of his former castmate, "He moved on today? Damn we lost one of the great ones… Great writer… Great mind. Alright, see you in the next one, Sam."

Awards and Nominations

In 1984, Shepard earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for "The Right Stuff," and in 2000, he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television for "Dash and Lilly." He also earned a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for "Dash and Lilly." In 1997, Sam won a Lone Star Film & Television Award for Best TV Supporting Actor for the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" episode "Lily Dale," and "Purgatory" received a Bronze Wrangler for Television Feature Film at the 2000 Western Heritage Awards. In 2013, Shepard and his "August: Osage County" castmates won Best Ensemble awards from Capri, Hollywood, the Hollywood Film Awards, and the Nevada Film Critics Society, and they also earned nominations from the Gold Derby Awards, Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Seattle Film Critics Awards, and Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards. In 2014, Sam won the Robert Altman Award for "Mud" at the Film Independent Spirit Awards. In 1985, he earned a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Screenplay – Adapted for "Paris, Texas," and in 2008, he received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries for "Ruffian." Shepard also earned nominations from the Tokyo International Film Festival (Tokyo Grand Prix for "Silent Tongue," 1993), Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards (Best Acting Ensemble for "Black Hawk Down," 2002), and "Cinema Writers Circle Awards, Spain (Best Actor for "Blackthorn," 2012).

For his stage work, Sam received a Gold Medal for Drama from the American Academy of Arts and Letters Awards in 1992, and he was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1994. He won 10 Obie Awards: Best Distinguished Play for "Chicago," "Icarus's Mother" / "Red Cross" / "La Turista" (1966), "Forensic and the Navigator" / "Melodrama Play" (1968), and "The Tooth of Crime" (1973), Best Playwriting for "Action" (1975) and "Buried Child" (1979), Best New American Play for "Curse of the Starving Class" (1977) and "Fool for Love" (1984), Best Direction for "Fool for Love" (1984), and the Sustained Achievement Award (1980). Shepard also earned a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play for "A Lie of the Mind" (1986), a Gradiva Award for Best Play for "When the World Was Green" (1997), a Guggenheim Fellowship Award for Creative Arts – Drama & Performance Art (1968), a New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play for "A Lie of the Mind" (1986), an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Play for "A Lie of the Mind" (1986), and the PEN American Center Awards' PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award (2009).

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