Sam Shepard had strong ties to San Marino, Duarte and Mt. SAC

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Sam Shepard, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Oscar-nominated actor — who grew up in the San Gabriel Valley — has died. He was 73.

Family spokesman Chris Boneau said Monday that Shepard died Thursday at his home in Kentucky from complications related to Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Shepard attended junior high in South Pasadena before spending all four years of his high school career at Duarte High School, where he graduated in 1961, according to Duarte High School Principal Luis Haro.

Haro said that handwritten records from Shepard’s time at the school show that his father was a teacher in San Marino and his mother was a housewife. He wanted to be a veterinarian, and his immediate plan after high school was to attend college. He had his high school transcripts sent to Cal Poly Pomona, Citrus College and Mt. SAC.

While he was in high school, Shepard participated in Key Club and was a yell leader. He also lettered in track and basketball and, perhaps most tellingly, participated in two school plays.

The taciturn Shepard was known as a man of few words who nevertheless produced 44 plays and numerous books, memoirs and short stories. His 1979 play “Buried Child” won the Pulitzer for drama.

His Western drawl and laconic presence made him a reluctant movie star, too. He appeared in dozens of films, and was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in 1983’s astronaut drama “The Right Stuff.”

After he graduated, he went onto Mt. SAC, according to college spokeswoman Jill Dolan. Research compiled by Richard Strand, a theater professor at the college, revealed Shepard went by the name “Steve Rogers” while a student there. He acted in several college plays, including starring in the lead role in “Harvey.”

He also wrote a play, called “The Mildew,” which was published in the campus literary magazine, “MoSAiC.” Dolan said it “may very well have been” the first play he ever wrote.

Shepard recently starred in the first season of the Netflix series “Bloodline” as the patriarch of a prominent Florida Keys family who try to keep a web of secrets from destroying their lives.

Staff writer Hayley Munguia and the Associated Press contributed to this report.


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