Sam Shepard, who died on July 27 at age 73, never retired despite being diagnosed with ALS. Although he slowed down as a playwright in recent years, his work as an actor never stopped. In fact, he still has one more movie coming out soon.
Shepard’s death was confirmed by BroadwayWorld.com. He died on July 27 at his home in Kentucky, with his children and sisters by his side. During his career, he wrote 44 plays, including the Pulitzer Prize winner Buried Child (1979). He also earned an Oscar nomination for playing Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff (1983).
Here’s a look at what Shepard’s last works are.
His Last Play: A Particle of Dread (Oedipus Variations)
Shepard’s last play was A Particle of Dread (Oedipus Variations). According to Shepard’s website, the play was written in 2013 for Londonderry, Northern Ireland, which served as the U.K.’s City of Culture that year.
The play was Shepard’s own variation on the Greek tragedy Oedipus, portraying the story of the young man who kills his father and marries his mother as a modern murder thriller.
“The thing about Oedipus to me that is so incredible is that it doesn’t have a plot. There’s no story,” Shepard says in a statement on his site. “It’s just a situation. It’s a predicament that the central character finds himself in. And the audience knows everything. He’s totally guilty, as the audience knows, but believes himself totally innocent.”
The play was performed in New York at the Pershing Square Signature Theater in November 2014 to January 2015.
His Last TV Show: Bloodline
Shepard has over 60 credits to his name as an actor and he had nothing against working in television. In 1995, he made his TV debut in the miniseries Streets of Loredo. It wasn’t until 2014 that he finally appeared on TV again, starring in Discovery’s Klondike miniseries.
Shepard’s final TV role was as Robert Rayburn on Netflix’s Bloodline. His character was the patriarch of the Rayburn family and appeared in seven episodes. The series was cancelled in September 2016.
You can watch Bloodline by clicking here.
His Last Movie: Never Here
Shepard’s last released movie will be Never Here, which was actually filed back in Fall 2014. It co-stars Mireille Enos and was directed by Camille Thoman.
In the film, Shepard stars as Agent Paul Stark. The movie is a police procedural, centered on an artist (Enos) who tries to protect her secret lover after he sees a violent act. She poses as the witness and tries to create a new work of art based on the circumstances.
After the film finally had its debut at the Los Angeles Film Festival, Deadline reported that Vertical Entertainment picked up U.S. distribution. The film will be released in limited theaters in the fourth quarter of 2017 and will debut on Starz in early 2018.
His Last Book: The One Inside
In February 2017, Shepard published his first work of long fiction, The One Inside. The book features an introduction by Patti Smith.
The One Inside is about a man tortured by the memories of his past and realizing that the world he grew up in is no more. “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,” reads the publisher’s description.
In her review of the book, former New York Times book reviewer Michiko Kakutani wrote that the book has much in common with Shepard’s plays, with a freewheeling and even improvised feeling.
“This volume, too, can feel improvised and impressionistic, but it’s glued together, collage-style, by the consciousness of the hero: an archetypal Shepard male, engaged in an Oedipal struggle with his cantankerous father, and caught in a passive-aggressive dynamic with his girlfriends, whose company he both craves and disdains,” Kakutani wrote. “As he says of a character he is playing in a movie, a sense of exile is crucial — ‘the sense of being ‘apart’ as a way of life. How it comes to pass that a human being is set adrift.’”