Sopranos Actress Gone at 89

Renowned actress Suzanne Shepherd, famous for her performances in “The Sopranos” and “Goodfellas,” has passed away. According to a spokesperson, she peacefully departed at her residence in New York. Despite her notable portrayals of mobster matriarchs, Shepherd was recognized as a benevolent and supportive individual in reality, dedicating her time to assisting aspiring actors.

Born on October 31, 1934, in New York City, Suzanne Shepherd obtained her degree from Bennington College in Vermont. Subsequently, she pursued acting, receiving instruction from mentors Herbert Berghof, Larry Arrick, and Sanford Meisner.

After undertaking various minor roles during the 1960s and 70s, she secured her inaugural significant role in Martin Scorcese’s 1990 crime biographical film “Goodfellas,” portraying the authoritative mother of gangster bride Karen Friedman.

In 1997, she remained in the realm of gangster narratives as HBO, in the process of casting a fresh crime series, selected her for the role of Mary DeAngelis, the mother of Carmela Soprano, in the acclaimed series “The Sopranos.” This series, later acknowledged by the Writers’ Guild of America as the best-written TV series ever, featured Shepherd in the character of Mary for a total of 20 episodes.

Across her professional journey, she took on numerous supporting roles, such as portraying Mrs. Hogarth in the 1989 comedy “Uncle Buck” and embodying three distinct characters in NBC’s “Law and Order” franchise. Her final on-screen appearance was in “The Performance,” a 2023 film narrating the story of a Jewish tap dancer who finds themselves performing for Hitler, where she played the character Tess.

In addition to her acting career, Shepherd dedicated decades to instructing fellow actors. She provided lessons for over 30 years at the Trinity Square Conservatory, the Berghof Studio where she had pursued her own studies, and at her personal studio in New York City.

Kate Shepherd, an artist, is the surviving daughter of the late Shepherd, who passed away at the age of 89 on November 17. The official cause of her death has not been disclosed at this time.




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