Shepard maintained a high profile in Hollywood during the 1980s, starring in Baby Boom, Steel Magnolias and The Pelican Brief. He also directed two feature films, 1988’s Far North and Silent Tongue in 1993. But he didn’t neglect his stage roots, teaching the art of playwriting and direction at various universities, theaters and festivals.
Shepard became an increasingly prolific actor in the 2000s. He appeared in box-office blockbusters such as Black Hawk Down and The Notebook, as well as awards favorites August: Osage County and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. But one of his most acclaimed and memorable late performances came in the thriller Mud in 2012.