A man for all seasons, Sam Shepard opens up about Patti Smith, his plays, his problems with alcohol and the role of love in American society in a recent interview with The Guardian. "Where do you even begin with Sam Shepard? With his Pulitzer prize? His Oscar nomination? The fact that he's routinely described as 'America's greatest living playwright?' Or if you're going to be superficial about it – and I am, just for a moment – maybe the place to start is with the image of him as the tall, taciturn test pilot, Chuck Yeager, the cowboy-ish character he played in The Right Stuff; a man whose life was spent exploring the outer edge of what is and isn't possible. But then I speak to Patti Smith on the phone and ask her what her impression was of Sam Shepard the first time she met him back in 1970 (shortly before they began an affair), and it's the first thing she says too: 'He was just everything that one could want. He was – still is – a very handsome man. And he had this animal magnetism. It was almost visceral. He was so high energy and had a real glint in his eyes. He was born for rock'n'roll.'"