Suzanne Shepherd, Beloved Actress Known for Iconic Mother Roles in Goodfellas and The Sopranos, Passes Away at 89
The entertainment industry is mourning the loss of Suzanne Shepherd, a talented actress known for her memorable roles as a mother figure in iconic films and television shows. Shepherd passed away peacefully in her New York City home early Friday morning, leaving behind a legacy that will be cherished by fans and colleagues alike.
Shepherd’s most notable roles include portraying Mary DeAngelis, the mother of Edie Falco’s Carmela Soprano, in 20 episodes of The Sopranos, as well as playing the mother of Lorraine Bracco’s Karen Hill in the classic film Goodfellas. Her performances were so impactful that Sopranos actor Ray Abruzzo fondly remembered Shepherd as “a force of nature.”
In addition to her work on The Sopranos and Goodfellas, Shepherd’s talents graced the big screen in movies like Mystic Pizza, Uncle Buck, Lolita, Requiem for a Dream, Living Out Loud, and Working Girl. She also made guest appearances in popular TV shows such as Ed, Blue Bloods, Law & Order, and Third Watch. Her final onscreen role was in the 2023 film The Performance as the character Tess.
Born on October 31, 1934, Shepherd was a distinguished alumna of Bennington College. She honed her craft by studying under the guidance of renowned acting coaches such as Larry Arrick, Herbert Berghoff, and Sanford Meisner. Not only was she a gifted performer, but she also dedicated herself to teaching and coaching aspiring actors. Shepherd shared her expertise as a faculty member at Trinity Square Conservatory, Hartman Conservatory, the Berghof Studio, and her own studio in New York City.
Shepherd’s impact extended beyond the stage and screen. She directed productions at prestigious theaters like the Nederlander Theatre and Steppenwolf, and she also played leading roles in productions at The Roundabout, Yale Repertory, Berkeley Repertory, and other major regional theaters.
In her personal life, Shepherd is survived by her daughter, artist Kate Shepherd, son-in-law Miles McManus, and granddaughter Isabelle Shepherd. A memorial service is expected to be announced in 2024, allowing friends, family, and fans to come together to celebrate her remarkable life and career.
Suzanne Shepherd will be remembered as a beloved actress whose talent and passion left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. Her contributions to film, television, and theater have solidified her as a true icon, and her legacy will continue to inspire future generations of actors and fans alike.