Suzanne Shepherd

Suzanne Shepherd, a remarkable actress, director, and teacher who touched the lives of countless individuals, peacefully passed away on Friday, November 17, 2023, at the age of 89, leaving behind a legacy that spans decades of theatrical excellence.

Who Was Suzanne Shepherd?

Suzanne Shepherd was born on October 31, 1934, and her journey into the world of acting began at Bennington College. Renowned as a teacher, actress, director, and improviser, Shepherd’s early collaborations included the Hyannis Compass with notable figures such as Alan Alda, Diana Sands, and Reni Santoni under the direction of David. However, it was her roles in “Goodfellas” and “The Sopranos” that catapulted her to international fame.

A woman of formidable presence and unwavering creative beliefs, Suzanne played memorable characters, including the crabby mother of Carmela in “The Sopranos” and Karen’s mother in “Goodfellas.” Beyond her on-screen achievements, she was David Shepherd’s first wife and the mother of Kate and Evan. Evan Shepherd regrettably passed away in 2011.

Suzanne Shepherd lived a life characterized by immense presence, a larger-than-life personality, and a zest for life that resonated with those around her.

Career Highlights

Suzanne Shepherd’s illustrious career spanned over 43 years, during which she dedicated herself to teaching and coaching actors. She held positions at prestigious institutions such as Trinity Square Conservatory, Hartman Conservatory, the Berghof Studio, and her studio in New York City.

As a director, her influence reached renowned venues including the Nederlander Theatre, Dallas Theatre Center, Trinity Square Repertory Theatre, Steppenwolf, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and the Whole Theatre, as well as the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Her acting prowess graced the stages of esteemed theaters like The Roundabout, Yale Repertory, Long Wharf, Berkeley Repertory, Vineyard Theatre, and Ensemble Studio Theatre. Television audiences will remember her for portraying Edie Falco’s mother in HBO’s “The Sopranos,” along with roles in “Law & Order,” “Blue Bloods,” “One Life to Live,” and “Third Watch.”

Cause of Death

As of now, the exact cause of Suzanne Shepherd’s death has not been disclosed to the public. The general public will be updated when more information becomes available. The news of her death was confirmed by Tom Titone, an actor at Caroline, or Change at Studio 54 Roundabout Theatre Company, through a heartfelt Facebook post.


Tributes poured in from those who knew and admired Suzanne Shepherd. Tom Titone shared a touching memory of her reading a scene from Edward Albee’s “Three Tall Women” during an event.

Honoring Suzanne Shepherd. When I was selling Edward Albee’s loft in TriBeCa, Suzanne read a scene from Three Tall Women for an event I hosted. It was a magical evening. Albee ‘s spirit. Suzanne’s… well, Suzanne-ness. She was, of course, dynamic and theatrical. And happy. So was I. RIP, dear Suzanne. Oct. 31, 1934 – Nov. 17, 2023. 💜🙏🏻💜

Follies of God expressed sorrow at her passing, remembering her as a wonderful actress and teacher.

Suzanne Shepherd was a wonderful actress, as well as a teacher who expanded the lives of so many actors. I am so sorry to hear of her passing. In this clip Suzanne asks the questions that would help her in Sam Shepard’s “True West.”

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Obituary and Funeral Arrangements

At present, an official obituary and details regarding funeral arrangements for Suzanne Shepherd are not available. The family is taking time to heal, and updates will be provided when they feel ready to share more about her farewell ceremony.

In Suzanne Shepherd’s passing, the world has lost a beacon of creativity and inspiration, but her impact on the arts and the lives she touched will endure through the memories and achievements she leaves behind.

By Andrew

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