I’ve always found it intriguing to note that Sam Shepard and Wallace Shawn were born a week apart in 1943 (November 5 and 12). Physically, they would make an odd couple – the tall, lean Marlboro Man and the short, round urban clown. Yet temperamentally they share many characteristics. Both are highly original writers who create deep, darkly comic dramas that, true to their Scorpio natures, often revolve around essential themes of sex, power, and transformation. Both of them choose to keep their home lives private, and they’re both in long relationships with women who are also distinguished artists (actress Jessica Lange and writer Deborah Eisenberg). And while they’re among the most respected playwrights in the American theater, they both have built solid careers as movie actors. Shepard’s cowboy persona and hypermasculine good looks have led to his being cast as any number of strong, silent authority figures, while Shawn’s chirpy, endearing speaking voice has made him one of the most sought-after performers in animated features. See a complete filmography for Shepard here and for Shawn here.

Other sidebars:
Shepard and film
Shepard and Jasper Johns
Shepard and Gurdjieff

American Theatre, April 2004