Suzanne Shepherd, Acclaimed for 'Sopranos' and 'Goodfellas', Passes Away at 89

Suzanne Shepherd, a dynamic force in film and TV.

by Nouman Rasool
Suzanne Shepherd, Acclaimed for 'Sopranos' and 'Goodfellas', Passes Away at 89
© Peter Kramer/GettyImages

Renowned Actress Suzanne Shepherd, Star of 'The Sopranos' and 'Goodfellas,' Dies at 89 The entertainment world mourns the loss of Suzanne Shepherd, a versatile and respected actress known for her memorable roles in iconic productions like "The Sopranos" and "Goodfellas." Shepherd passed away on Friday morning at the age of 89.

Born on October 31, 1934, Shepherd's career spanned several decades, during which she not only shone as an actress but also made her mark as a theater director and acting coach. Her journey to stardom began with her role as Aunt Tweedy in the 1988 hit film "Mystic Pizza," leading to more prominent roles such as Karen Hill’s mother in "Goodfellas," and Mary DeAngelis, Carmela's mother, in the critically acclaimed HBO series "The Sopranos." Shepherd also captivated audiences as Miss Pratt in the 1997 adaptation of "Lolita."

Versatile Screen Presence

Her talent extended beyond the big screen, with guest appearances in popular TV series like "Law & Order," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," and, more recently, the CBS cop drama "Blue Bloods." Shepherd was also a trailblazer in acting education, becoming the first woman to teach at Sanford Meisner's renowned program, which emphasized a distinct approach to acting study that diverged from the method acting prevalent in mid-20th-century America.

Tributes to Shepherd have been pouring in from colleagues and students. Actor Tom Titone, a former student, remembered her on Facebook as a "huge presence" and a "BIG personality" who "roared with life and at it." He announced that a Shiva would be held in her honor this Monday and Tuesday.

Ray Abruzzo, Shepherd's co-star on "The Sopranos," paid homage to her on Instagram, describing her as "a force of nature" and highlighting her dual legacy as both an actress and a teacher. Shepherd's family, including her daughter, artist Kate Shepherd, son-in-law Miles McManus, and granddaughter Isabelle Shepherd, survive her.

According to her talent agency, a memorial service for Shepherd will be announced in the early part of next year, offering friends, family, and fans a chance to celebrate her remarkable life and career.