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William Petersen
William Petersen among friends at Geffen Playhouse's 'Slowgirl'
William Petersen among friends at Geffen Playhouse's 'Slowgirl'

From David Mamet's first expletive-laced success in the 1970s to the advent of Tracy Letts' "August: Osage County" as one of the most acclaimed 21st century American dramas to date, drawing blood — and not always just figuratively — has been the life's blood of the Chicago school of live theater. But on the evening of Independence Day, 1984, Randall Arney encountered a considerably more sanguineous sight than even the Windy City theater scene might have bargained for. Making his entrance in the Steppenwolf Theatre Company's production of Sam Shepard's "Fool for Love," he saw that William Petersen, playing a wild cowboy, had made...

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