Definitions

Shepard

Shepard

[shep-erd]
Shepard, Alan Bartlett, Jr., 1923-98, American astronaut, b. East Derry, N.H., grad. Annapolis, 1944. He served on a destroyer during World War II and later had extensive experience as a test pilot. On May 5, 1961, under the U.S. space program Project Mercury, he became the first American to be launched into space. His flight was a suborbital trip of 302 mi (486 km) down the Atlantic missile range. He reached a height of 115 mi (185 km) and performed several maneuvers of his capsule, Freedom 7, during the 15-min flight. In 1971, he commanded the Apollo 14 lunar landing, becoming the fifth person to walk on the moon. In 1974, Shepard retired from both NASA and the U.S. navy (as a rear admiral) to enter private industry. With Deke Slayton, another original Mercury astronaut, he wrote Moon Shot: The Inside Story of America's Race to the Moon (1994).
Shepard, Sam, 1943-, American playwright and actor, b. Fort Sheridan, Ill., as Samuel Shepard Rogers 7th. A product of the 1960s counterculture, Shepard combines wild humor, grotesque satire, myth, and a sparse, haunting language evocative of Western movies to create a subversive pop art vision of America. His settings are often a kind of nowhere land on the American Plains, his characters are typically loners and drifters caught between a mythical past and the mechanized present, and his works often concern deeply troubled families. His many plays include Curse of the Starving Class (1977), Buried Child (1978; Pulitzer Prize), True West (1980), A Lie of the Mind (1985), States of Shock (1991), Simpatico (1994), The Late Henry Moss (2000), and The God of Hell (2004). Also involved in motion pictures, Shepard wrote the screenplays for The Right Stuff (1983), in which he played the part of Chuck Yeager, and Paris, Texas (1984); wrote and directed Far North (1989) and Silent Tongue (1994); and has acted in a number of other films. His other work includes the stories, meditations, and reminiscences collected in Motel Chronicles (1982), Cruising Paradise (1996), and Great Dream of Heaven (2002).
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