Western-themed films and television programs have a long history in American culture. The genre, which includes cowboys and gunslingers, is well-known for its action and drama. Veteran character actor Sam Elliott is most recognized for his roles in Western movies. The Stranger in “The Big Lebowski” and Virgil Earp in “Tombstone” are two of his most well-known roles. The celebrity is renowned for his distinctive mustache, deep voice, and tall frame.
With roles in “The Way West” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” Elliott launched his acting career. He has been on “Gunsmoke,” “Murder in Texas,” and “The Shadow Riders” on television. The actor’s breakthrough performance came in the drama “Lifeguard,” one of his rare films that wasn’t a Western, in 1976.
2015 saw Elliott make a cameo appearance on “Justified,” for which he was nominated for a Critics’ Choice Television Award. He started acting in the Netflix comedy series “The Ranch” the following year. Elliott and Katharine Ross co-starred in the movie “The Hero” in 2017. The movie centers on an aging Western actor who smokes and daydreams about his glory years up until he receives a cancer diagnosis. In the movie, Ross plays Elliott’s ex-wife.
The cinematic project Elliot and his wife collaborated on before “The Hero.” Elliott was simply an extra in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” thus Ross and Elliott didn’t get to meet until 1978, when they were both cast in key parts in “The Legacy.” The couple has a daughter together and was married in 1984. Continue reading to find out more about Ross and Elliot’s 37-year marriage.
Elliott was born on August 9, 1944, to Glynn Mamie and Henry Nelson Elliott in Sacramento, California. His mother worked as a high school teacher and physical education instructor, and his father was a predator control specialist for the Department of the Interior. When Elliott was 13 years old, his parents decided to move the family to Oregon from El Paso, Texas.
The actor attended David Douglas High School and completed his undergraduate studies there in 1962 while still in his adolescence. Elliott enrolled in a two-year program at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington after leaving the University of Oregon after two terms. He was given a role in a stage production of “Guys and Dolls” while he was in the country.
Elliott decided to pursue acting as a career after receiving positive feedback for his portrayal of Big Jule in the production of “Guys and Dolls.” Unfortunately, his father did not anticipate him to move to Hollywood. I overheard him tell my mother once, “He’s got a snowball’s chance in Hell of having a career in that town,” Elliot recalled.
Elliot’s father always wished for him to complete his college education, which he did after his father died of a heart attack. About his father, he said, “My father was a realist. He put in a lot of effort. I thank him every day for having a work ethic that I have modeled mine after.”
The late 1960s saw Elliott relocate to Los Angeles. Prior to joining the California Air National Guard, he studied acting and did construction work. Before his unit transferred to the Channel Islands Air National Guard Station, he worked at the Van Nuys Airport.
Elliot has done a lot of voice acting in advertisements in addition to performing in movies and TV shows. His work on commercials for numerous businesses, including Dodge and IBM, but especially the American Beef Council, is noteworthy. Elliot spoke frankly about his time:
“Because I love the people in that industry and a lot of people make their living in the beef world, I did beef advertisements for about eight years. primarily ranchers. But when it got to the point where they kept asking for different takes, different cuts, and different deals you can get involved with, I started to bristle at it. Those ads significantly increased the numbers in the market for beef.”
The actor had a reliable stream of income from voice work and commercials, which allowed him to pick and choose which film and TV acting roles he would accept. In the same interview, he continued:
“I feel secure because I have never worked a job for pay. A certain level of comfort that comes from the business world enables me to decline dramatic or theatrical employment, or acting roles. However, I’ve essentially always made my own decisions. And I believe I’ve performed admirably. I have folks who give me input, offer me thoughts, and sort of keep me on course. It’s all about what’s on the page in my opinion, though. It doesn’t include working for pay. I’ve simply wanted to do it ever since I was a young child.”
Elliott has been in the entertainment industry for 55 years, and throughout that time he has witnessed both positive and negative changes to the sector. “The game has undergone major alteration. The movie industry has undergone nearly complete change as a result of technical advancements. There are some things that will never change. But from a technical perspective, it’s a completely different universe, “Elliottt added.
Elliott said in an interview that despite his voice and appearance, he doesn’t feel confined to playing cowboy characters. He remembered an incident that happened on set: “In terms of what people have requested from me as an actor, I don’t believe I’ve ever had issues with my voice. But in 1976, I worked on a film called “Lifeguard” with a director named Dan Petrie, who produced some truly amazing stuff. He would occasionally say to me, “Let’s do it again, but this time, let’s be a bit less south of the mouth.” I always find that amusing.”
Elliott does not, however, like portraying a certain kind of part. The performer said, “I’ve occasionally played the bad guy, but I didn’t like it. I’m just unwilling to go there. There is already enough unfavorable content in the world. I’d rather to make people happy, cry, or, you know, go inside of themselves and realize that they’re not alone.”
In 1978, Elliot and Ross first met at the beginning of the gothic-horror movie “The Legacy.” They hit it off right away and soon started dating. Four months before the birth of their daughter, Cleo Rose Elliott, in 1984, they got married.
The star revealed, “I co-wrote “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” with my wife, Katharine Ross, but I didn’t dare approach her at the time. She played the lead role. I was a glorified extra in a bar scene, a shadow on the wall. We didn’t begin to communicate until we began to make “The Legacy.” We strive to be a unit despite having similar sensibilities. You don’t just walk away from the (thing); you work through it. Relationships endure in this way.”
Ross’ performance on “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” was described by Elliott. To The Oklahoman, he said:
“I was limited to simply observing Katharine’s entrance and exit. We exchanged no words at all. Because I knew who she was and at the time I was just another person on the lot, I saw her a lot. But it was a terrific chance because it gave me access to see the movie being made because I was a contract player (with Fox) and an extra on the show. While they were in LA, I spent a lot of time over there in a dim corner observing Katharine and the others at work.”
‘Conagher,’ a television movie based on the Louis L’Amour book, gave the pair another opportunity to collaborate. Elliott was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film for the part. In an interview with The Oklahoman, he made reference to the movie: “For me, working with Katharine is amazing. Always has been. One of the pinnacles of my career, in my opinion, was our time together on “Conagher.” I am aware that this is how I will always feel.”
The Los Angeles Times cited Elliot as saying, “The nicest part of doing movies together, in my opinion, is that creative experience. Just for fun. Going home with someone you’re working with has a whole different energy than going home with someone you’re not working with. It’s an entirely satisfying experience.”
Elliot responded to the query, “What’s the key to a long and happy marriage?” “The key, in my opinion, is that you must desire marriage. It’s a two-way street, so you have to be in love with whoever it is and be prepared to put in the effort. The rest is basically just riding the storm after you realize that, in my opinion.” You just ride the roller coaster, and hang on tight, Ross continued with a chuckle.
Ross was born in Hollywood, California, on January 29, 1940. Her family eventually made Walnut Creek, California, their home, and she earned her high school diploma from Las Lomas in 1957. She liked riding horses and was childhood friends with rodeo rider Casey Tibbs. Ross made the decision to relocate to San Francisco to pursue acting after high school. She joined The Actors Workshop there, where she got the chance to participate in numerous theatre performances.
The actress talked about her time working on “Twinkling of an Eye” and at The Actors Workshop. She stated: “Even if we opened, I’m not even sure! I discovered there that I had the acting bug. But because we all worked on the performance, from acting to selling tickets to making props, I truly learnt a lot.”
Ross first encountered the television industry when she was a student of acting in San Francisco. “I was made aware of a casting call for the television program Sam Benedict. They wanted to cast a San Franciscan because they were filming there. That wasn’t too bad; I had two really wonderful scenes with the star Edmond O’Brien “Ross revealed.
In her interview with The Oklahoman, the actress provided further specifics about her professional background. Ross clarified, “I kind of started working in the 1960s, and I was lucky to have roles in many of the television Westerns that were being produced at the time. Additionally, I had the chance to collaborate with several superb character performers.”
In 2014, Ross received the same award that her husband had received seven years earlier: induction into the National Cowboy Museum’s Hall of Great Western Performers. She stated: “If I could ride a horse, I would do anything. Being a Western girl, I consider it a great honor to even be included among the Great Western Performers.”
Ross was questioned by The Mercury News about whether Elliot’s voice, mustache, or rugged good looks were what drew her in. She replied, “Most likely all of that and more. One thing led to another while we were working together. Now look at us.” The couple still enjoys a solid and content marriage despite working together on numerous projects throughout the years. We wish them the best of luck in the future because their love has been like a wonderful Western fairytale.