The world of film and television mourns the loss of Suzanne Shepherd, a versatile actress known for her memorable roles in iconic productions such as “Goodfellas” and “The Sopranos.” Shepherd, who passed away on Friday at the age of 89, left behind a legacy that extended beyond the screen.
Born on October 31, 1934, Suzanne Shepherd’s career spanned decades, leaving an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. Her notable film credits include “Mystic Pizza,” “Uncle Buck,” “Requiem for a Dream,” and “A Dirty Shame.” She graced both the big and small screens, making guest appearances on popular TV shows like “Ed,” “Law & Order,” and “Blue Bloods.”
Suzanne Shepherd was not just an actress; she was a mentor and guide to aspiring talents. Actor and real estate agent Tom Titone, who studied with Shepherd in his early acting days, shared heartfelt memories on Facebook. He credited Shepherd with seeing potential in him that he couldn’t see in himself, and she even played a pivotal role in his personal life by introducing him to his husband. Shepherd officiated their wedding under a beautiful gazebo in Central Park, creating a lasting bond that Titone will forever be grateful for.
Describing Shepherd as a “huge presence” with a “BIG personality,” Titone reminisced about her roaring zest for life. This sentiment was echoed by many who knew Shepherd, both personally and professionally.
Suzanne Shepherd’s most notable roles include portraying the mothers of key female characters in two iconic productions. In 1990’s “Goodfellas,” she played the mother of Karen Hill, portrayed by Lorraine Bracco. Her performance in the film, directed by Martin Scorsese, showcased her ability to bring depth and authenticity to her characters. Shepherd also portrayed the mother of Carmela Soprano, played by Edie Falco, in HBO’s critically acclaimed series “The Sopranos.”
Ray Abruzzo, known for his role as Little Carmine Lupertazzi in “The Sopranos,” paid tribute to Shepherd on Instagram, describing her as a “force of nature” and acknowledging her contributions as both an actress and a teacher.
Beyond her on-screen accomplishments, Suzanne Shepherd was a prominent figure in regional theater, serving as a director and Sanford Meisner-trained acting coach. Her dedication to the craft extended to her family, and she is survived by her daughter, the artist Kate Shepherd, as well as her son-in-law, Miles, daughter-in-law Joyce, and granddaughter Isabelle.
In honor of Suzanne Shepherd, a shiva will be held on Monday and Tuesday, providing an opportunity for friends, family, and colleagues to come together and celebrate the life of a remarkable woman who made an enduring impact on the world of entertainment.