Suzanne Shepherd, actress known for playing protective mothers in “Goodfellas” and “The Sopranos,” has died. She reportedly died peacefully in her sleep on Friday at her home in New York. The cause of death has not been released. She was 89 years old.
“My mother passed away on Friday,” her daughter, Kate Shepherd, wrote on Instagram on Monday. “God bless her. No one will replace her greatness. I’m grateful we spent so much of the summer together, knowing it would be our last (even as she planned the next garden).
Kate Shepherd told TMZ that her mother suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Suzanne Shepherd starred in 20 episodes of “The Sopranos” as Mary DeAngelis, the mother of Edie Falco’s Carmela Soprano. She had notably played the legitimately concerned mother of Lorraine Bracco’s Karen Hill in Martin Scorsese’s iconic “Goodfellas” only nine years earlier.
Suzanne Shepherd had also starred in other classics, including Darren Aronofsky’s “Requiem For A Dream” and Adrian Lyne’s “Jacob’s Ladder” and “Lolita” – but was a classically trained actress who taught at many schools and directed his own studio.
“While she was Edie Falco’s mother in The Sopranos and had a huge wart in Uncle Buck being shiny and had horns growing out of her scalp in Jacob’s Ladder, she was so focused on teaching the Meisner technique (she was his protégé.),” Kate Shepherd wrote Monday.
Suzanne Shepherd was born October 31, 1934 and graduated from Bennington College, according to her website. She studied under Sanford Meisner and founded the Compass Players with Alan Alda and Alan Arkin in the 1960s, Deadline reported.
She also became a dedicated acting coach at Trinity Square Conservatory, Berghof Studio, and Hartman Conservatory, and eventually ran her own studio in New York. She has even directed plays at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater and New York’s Nederlander.
The actor’s credits include cult classic comedies like “Mystic Pizza” (1988), “Working Girl” (1988) and “Uncle Buck” (1989). She also starred in beloved TV shows such as “Law & Order” and “Blue Bloods,” in addition to her unforgettable stint on HBO.
Suzanne Shepherd’s former “Sopranos” castmate Ray Abruzzo, who played little Carmine Lupertazzi in the hit series, remembered her fondly on Instagram: “Sad to hear of Suzanne Shepherd’s passing. A force of nature. Actress, teacher.
His last role was in “The Performance” (2023) alongside Jeremy Piven and Robert Carlyle. A memorial for the actor is expected in 2024.
“Hard to say RIP, but come to think of it, I really hope she is happy right now, reunited with her brother, her son and her grandson,” Kate Shepherd concluded in her social media tribute .
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