Actor-playwright Sam Shepard accused of drunken driving

Charles Sykes/AP fileIn this Sept. 29

Charles Sykes/AP fileIn this Sept. 29

Actor and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard was arrested Monday on suspicion of drunken driving after a Santa Fe eatery’s security complained about a possibly intoxicated driver. Shepard, 71, told police he’d had two tequila drinks and was planning to drive home, a Santa Fe officer told The Associated Press on Tuesday, adding that, “Our officer could smell alcohol on his breath, and he had bloodshot, watery eyes.”

Shepard was held on a charge of aggravated driving while intoxicated outside Santa Fe’s La Choza restaurant. The restaurant’s security called police about 7:45 p.m. Monday concerned about an intoxicated driver, police said. The man was trying to leave in the pickup, but the vehicle’s emergency brake was engaged.

Shepard declined to take a breath test, but he did perform a field sobriety test, which he failed, police said. Santa Fe jail records show that Shepard was released Tuesday after posting bail. The office of Shepard’s agent said that it had no comment.

Shepard won the Pulitzer Prize in 1979 for his play “Buried Child.” He also has a long history with San Francisco’s Magic Theatre, where he served as playwright in residence in 1975 and debuted “Buried Child” in 1978. His film credits include “The Right Stuff,” “Baby Boom” and “Black Hawk Down.”

Monday’s arrest appears to be Shepard’s second on DUI charges. In January 2009, he was arrested on charges of speeding and drunken driving in the central Illinois town of Normal. Shepard pleaded guilty and was fined $600; he also had to finish an alcohol treatment program and do 100 hours of community service.

LANGE RETURNING TO BROADWAY

Jessica Lange will return to Broadway next spring in a revival of “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” playing the same role she did 15 years ago in London.

The Roundabout Theatre Company said Tuesday that the Oscar and Emmy winner will join Gabriel Byrne in a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s play in March. Lange previously played the role of Mary Tyrone in a 2000 production, receiving an Olivier Award nomination for her performance as the morphine-addicted mother.

Lange, who had a long-term relationship with Sam Shepard and has two children with him, made her Broadway debut in a 1992 revival of “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

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