American playwright and actor, born in Illinois. Shepard spent four years (from 1971) living in London, where a number of his own plays were produced at the National Theatre and the Royal Court. His work deals with American mythologies, the death of the American Dream, and Americans' relationship to their land and history. His most famous work is True West (1980), in which two brothers argue over the nature of the ‘true’ American West, fighting to maintain their own identity and destroy each other's. Shepard's other plays include Buried Child (1978, Pulitzer Prize for drama), which links True West in a trilogy with Curse of the Starving Class (1976); Fool for Love (1983); and The God of Hell (2004). He is also the author of a number of screenplays, including Paris, Texas (1984).