Best Actor in a Telefilm or Miniseries
Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television
Dash and Lilly
Best Supporting Actor
The Right Stuff
A Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright (for 1979's Buried Child), an Oscar-nominated actor, and a director and screenwriter to boot, multi-talented Sam Shepard has made a career of plumbing the darker depths of middle-American rural sensibilities and Western myths. The son of a military man, he was born Samuel Shepard Rogers on November 3, 1943, in Fort Sheridan, IL. Following a peripatetic childhood, part of which was spent on a farm, Shepard left home in late adolescence to move to New York City, where by the age of 20, he already had two plays produced.
As a playwright, Shepard went on to win a number of Obies for such dramas as Curse of the Starving Class (1977), which he made into a film in 1994, and True West (aired on PBS in 1986). As an actor, the lanky and handsome Shepard made his feature film debut with a small role in Bronco Bullfrog (1969) and didn't resurface again until Bob Dylan's disastrous Renaldo and Clara (1978). The film followed Shepard's residence in London during the early '70s, where he worked on-stage as an actor and director when not playing drums for his band, The Holy Modal Rounders, which had performed as part of Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue in 1975. Also in 1978, Shepard made a big impression playing a wealthy landowner in Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven, but it was not until he received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for playing astronaut Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff (1983) that he became a well-known actor. Following this success, he went on to specialize in playing drifters, cowboys, con artists, and eccentric characters with only the occasional leading role. Some of his more notable work included Paris, Texas (1984), which he also wrote; Fool For Love (1985), which was adapted from his play of the same name; Baby Boom (1987), Steel Magnolias (1989), and The Pelican Brief (1993). In addition to acting and writing, Shepard has also directed: in 1988, he made his debut with Far North, a film he wrote especially for his off-screen leading lady, Jessica Lange, with whom he has acted in Frances (1982), Country (1984), and Crimes of the Heart (1986).