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Sam Shepard, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Oscar-nominated actor, died at home in Kentucky at age 73. USA TODAY

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Spy of the First Person, a final autobiographical work of fiction by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, actor and author Sam Shepard, will be released on Dec. 5.

Shepard completed the book shortly before his death on July 27 at age 73 from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

According to his publisher Knopf, Spy “is the story of an unnamed narrator who retraces the memories of his life as he undergoes treatment for a medical condition that renders him dependent on the loved ones who are caring for him.”

Shepard began working on the book last year, writing by hand when he could no longer use a typewriter. Later, when he could not write, he recorded sections on a tape recorder. His sisters and daughter, Hannah, helped transcribe pages of text.

His friend, musician Patti Smith, worked with Shepard during the final months of his life to edit the story into a final manuscript. He gave final edits to his daughter on July 20.

His children, including Jesse and Walker, took the manuscript to Knopf the following month.

Shepard, known for his laconic style as an actor and his gritty, offbeat sensibility as a playwright, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 for Buried Child. His other well-known works include the plays True West and Fool for Love.

His book of fiction, The One Inside, was published earlier this year and featured a foreword by Smith.

He was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of pilot Chuck Yeager in 1983's The Right Stuff.

 

 

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