Susan Shepherd Actress Wikipedia, Career, Death

Actress Susan Shepherd (Suzanne Shepherd) has passed away at the age of 89 – below is her biography and Wikipedia.

Popular actress Suzanne Shepherd, known for seminal roles in The Sopranos and Goodfellas and for being an acting teacher, died late Saturday, November 18th 2023.

She was 89.

Suzanne’s granddaughter Isabelle told The US Sun of the actress’ death, but no cause of death was provided and the family did not provide additional details.

In this article, we will learn everything there is to learn about this great actress.

Susan Shepherd actress wikipedia

susan shepherd

Suzanne Shepherd was an American actress and theater director known for her roles in films such as Lolita, Uncle Buck, and Goodfellas, and TV shows such as The Sopranos and Blue Bloods.

Shepherd died on November 17, 2023 at the age of 89.  

After graduating from Bennington College, Suzanne Shepherd studied with Larry Arrick, Herbert Berghof and Sanford Meisner. 

Aside from acting and directing, she was also a respected acting teacher who studied with Sanford Meisner and taught many famous actors, such as Christopher Meloni, Gregory Hines, Helen Slater, Bebe Neuwirth, and Joan Allen. 

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Susan Shepherd was a founding member of the Compass Players, a precursor of The Second City, along with Alan Alda and Alan Arkin4. 

She was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for directing a play in 1986. 

Sheperd was famous for playing the mothers of three principal actors from The Sopranos at different times: Edie Falco, Lorraine Bracco, and Steve Schirripa. 

She was survived by her daughter Kate, son-in-law Miles, daughter-in-law Joyce, and granddaughter Isabelle.

Susan Shepherd was born Suzanne Stern on October 31st 1934. She was known professionally as Suzanne Shepherd and also went by the moniker ‘Honey’.

Shepherd studied acting with Sanford Meisner, and later went on to teach Meisner’s program of acting study, in the process becoming the first woman to do so.

Some of the memorable roles of the career of Susan Shepherd include…

1 Karen’s mother in the film Goodfellas, a crime drama directed by Martin Scorsese and based on the true story of Henry Hill, a mobster who turned informant. 

Shepherd was the mother of Karen Hill, played by Lorraine Bracco, who was the wife of Henry Hill, played by Ray Liotta. 

She appeared in several scenes, such as the wedding, the dinner, and the confrontation with Henry after he beat up Karen’s neighbor. 

She was part of a large ensemble cast that included Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Paul Sorvino, and Frank Sivero and received positive reviews for her performance, with one critic calling her “a standout” among the supporting actors.

2 Mary DeAngelis, the mother of Carmela Soprano, the wife of the protagonist Tony Soprano, in the HBO television series The Sopranos, a critically acclaimed and award-winning drama about the life of a New Jersey mafia boss and his family.

susan shephard

3 Miss Pratt, the headmistress of the Beardsley School, in the film Lolita, a controversial adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel about a middle-aged man’s obsession with a teenage girl, directed by Adrian Lyne.

4 Mrs. Hogarth, the assistant school principal, in the film Uncle Buck1, a comedy starring John Candy as a bachelor who has to take care of his brother’s children. 

5 Lucille Abetemarco, the mother of Detective Anthony Abetemarco, played by her former Sopranos co-star Steve Schirripa, in two episodes of the CBS police procedural drama Blue Bloods, a show about a family of law enforcement officers in New York City.

Interesting facts about Susan Shepherd

susan shepherd actress

Below are some interesting facts about Suzanne Shepherd courtsey IMDB.

1 She is one of the famed acting teachers in New York City.

Her former students include Christopher Meloni, Gregory Hines, Helen Slater, Bebe Neuwirth, Joan Allen and many others.

2 Suzanne played the mothers of three principal actors from The Sopranos, at different times. On The Sopranos, she had the recurring role of Edie Falco’s mother. In the film, Goodfellas, she played Lorraine Bracco’s mother. On the TV show, Blue Bloods, she was Steve Schirripa’s mother.

3 Shepherd only made her film debut two years before her appearance in Goodfellas. She came from a theatre background, directing productions across the United States.

4 Shepherd directed at the Nederlander Theatre, Dallas Theatre Center, Trinity Square Repertory Theatre, Steppenwolf, Ensemble Studio Theatre, the Whole Theatre and at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

As an actress Suzanne has played leading roles at The Roundabout, Yale Repertory, Long Wharf, Berkeley Repertory, Vineyard Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and many more major regional theaters.

5 For the past 43 years, Suzanne has been teaching and coaching actors and has been on the faculty of Trinity Square Conservatory, Hartman Conservatory, the Berghof Studio and her own studio in New York City. 

Susan Shepherd is survived by daughter Kate, son-in-law Miles, daughter-in-law Joyce and granddaughter Isabella.

Her daughter, Kate Shepherd, is an American artist who has had solo exhibitions at the Phillips Collection, Washington D.C. and Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland, Oregon.

Kate completed her B.A. from Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, in 1982. 

She studied briefly at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, New York in 1982, before dropping out to pursue individual artistic work. 

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During this time, Shepherd earned a living painting portraits and making drawings for The New Yorker.

She later completed her master’s degree with a Master’s Certificate, from New York Academy of Art, New York, in 1986. 


Susan Shepherd movies include Goodfellas, Lolita, Requiem For A Dream, Mystic Pizza, Second Sight, Palookaville, Jerky Boys, Working Girl, Where is Kyra?, Furlough, Uncle Buck, Choke, Harold, Bullet, Jacob’s Ladder, Twilights Last Gleaming, Wormhole, A Dirty Shame, Trees Lounge,  Living Out Loud, On The Run, and Never Again.

She also directed the following…

– The Blood Knot with Danny Glover and Cotter Smith: Roundabout Theatre

– A Lesson from Aloes with Richard Kavanaugh, Ed Hall & April Shawhan: Trinity Square Repertory Theatre

– A Lesson from Aloes with Joan Allen, Danny Glover, & Francis Guinan: Steppenwolf Theatre

– Master Harold…and the Boys: Nederlander Theatre, Detroit

– Master Harold…and the Boys: Broadway, Assistant Director to Athol Fugard and National Tour with  James Earl Jones

– Master Harold…and the Boys: South African Premiere, Market Theatre, Johnannesburg

– Boesman and Lena With Regina Taylor: The Whole Theatre

– The Three Sisters: Dallas Theatre Company

– The Seagull With Olympia Dukakis, Laila Robins & Greg Germann: The Whole Theatre

– Antigone: St. John the Divine

– People are Living There: Signature Theatre


Susan (Suzanne) Shepherd died aged 89 on Saturday, November 18th 2023, Deadline Hollywood reports.

No cause of death was provided.

The veteran actress was best known for her roles in Martin Scorsese’s big screen hit about the mob, as well as The Sopranos on TV.

Fans were quick to pay tribute on social media, with one calling her “the go-to mother actress.”

Sopranos star Ray Abruzzo also posted a tribute on Instagram, saying: “Sad to hear of the passing of Suzanne Shepherd. A force of nature. Actress, teacher.

“Played Carmella’s mother on Sopranos and Karen’s mother in Goodfellas,” he added.

Social media users also paid tribute.

“Excellent actress who made Goodfellas and The Sopranos so special. Thank you, Suzanne Shepherd. RIP,”

“She was note perfect in both [Goodfellas and the Sopranos], another person said.

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