With his distinctive baritone voice and trademark mustache, Sam Elliott has become one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood. For over 50 years, Elliott has brought his stoic masculinity and quiet intensity to roles in some of the most iconic Westerns, dramas, and action films. Though he is known for playing the stereotypical cowboy, Elliott’s long career reveals an actor of great depth and versatility.
Sam Elliott’s Early Life
Samuel Pack Elliott was born in Sacramento, California, on August 9, 1944. His father, Henry Nelson Elliott, worked for the Department of the Interior, often moving the family around to different parks in the Western United States. As a child, living in remote areas of Oregon, Alaska, and Texas heavily influenced Elliott’s eventual persona and drawl.
Elliott graduated from David Douglas High School in Portland, Oregon in 1962. He attended Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, where he completed a two-year program and was cast in a stage production of Guys and Dolls, sparking his interest in acting. Elliott transferred to the University of Oregon for one term before dropping out and moving to Los Angeles to pursue acting full-time.
Sam Elliott Career
Elliott spent his early career playing small roles in various television shows throughout the 1960s, including minor parts on Gunsmoke, Lancer, and Land of the Giants. His first film role came in 1969 when he played “Card Player #2” in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
After a series of minor appearances, Elliott had his breakthrough role in the Western Legacy in 1978. Though not a hit, Elliott’s performance drew the attention of casting directors in Hollywood. That same year, he appeared in the smash hit National Lampoon’s Animal House, raising his profile in the industry.
Rise to Stardom
In 1979, Elliott landed his first starring role in the Western romance The Sacketts, solidifying his image as a rugged Western hero. Through the 80s, Elliott would star in several other Westerns and war movies like Road House, Fatal Beauty, and Prancer.
Elliott’s famous baritone voice lent perfectly to voiceover work as well. In the early 80s, he began doing commercial voiceovers, a substantial part of his career. Fans instantly recognize his voice from “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner” ads.
In 1991, Elliott got the role that would make him famous – the womanizing, quintessential cowboy, Lee Clayton, in Ron Howard’s Tombstone. Though not the lead role, Elliott’s performance stole the show and earned him much acclaim. This would cement his Hollywood persona as a stoic, rugged Western hero.
While often typecast, Elliott has been part of some of the most acclaimed films of the past 30 years. In 1998, he received a Screen Actors Guild award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor for his role in The Big Lebowski.
Elliott earned an Emmy nomination for his performance as General John Buford in the historical war drama Gettysburg in 1993. In 2007, he received critical praise for his role as the controversial father in The Golden Compass.
In 2015, Elliott was honored with the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series for his heartbreaking performance in Justified. At 71, Elliott became the oldest actor ever to be nominated and win in the category.
Most recently, Elliott earned his first Oscar nomination for his supporting role in A Star is Born opposite Lady Gaga. Though he did not win, the nomination was a huge milestone in his decades-long career.
Sam Elliott’s Personal Life
Elliott married actress Katharine Ross, best known for her role in The Graduate, in 1984. The two met when working on the 1978 film The Legacy together. They have one daughter, Cleo Rose Elliott, who is now an actress.
The family divides their time between homes in Malibu, California, and Portland, Oregon, to maintain Elliott’s connection to his Pacific Northwest roots—both advocate for various environmental and philanthropic causes, focusing on preserving open spaces in Oregon.
Known to keep his personal life private, Elliott does not maintain public social media accounts and stays out of the spotlight when not working. In interviews, he comes across as grounded, introspective, and genuine.
Sam Elliott Wife – Katharine Ross
Katharine Ross and Sam Elliott met on the set of the 1978 film The Legacy, in which they both had starring roles. At the time, Ross was married to gaffer Conrad Hall, and Elliott was dating actress Farrah Fawcett. However, the two reconnected when Elliott played a bit part in Butch and Sundance: The Early Days, which Ross starred in.
In 1984, Elliott and Ross married. That same year, they welcomed their only child, daughter Cleo Rose Elliott. The family splits their time between Los Angeles and Oregon.
Ross is best known for her breakout role as Elaine Robinson in the 1967 film The Graduate opposite Dustin Hoffman. She earned an Oscar nomination for her performance. With a prolific career spanning over 50 years, Ross has starred in many successful films, including The Stepford Wives, The Betsy, and Donnie Darko.
Like her husband, Ross values her privacy and maintains a low profile when not working. Elliott frequently expresses his deep love and admiration for his wife in interviews. The two have enjoyed an enduring, solid marriage for nearly 40 years.
|August 9, 1944
|Samuel Pack Elliott
|Henry Nelson Elliott
|Sacramento, California, U.S
Sam Elliott Movies and TV Shows
With over 100 acting credits, Sam Elliott has brought his commanding presence to some of the last five decades’ most iconic films and television series. Some highlights include:
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) – Elliott’s first film
- Tombstone (1993) – His breakout as mustachioed cowboy Lee Clayton
- Gettysburg (1993) – Emmy-nominated role as General John Buford
- The Big Lebowski (1998) – Fan-favorite role as The Stranger
- Hulk (2003) – General Ross, reprised in later Marvel films
- Thank You for Smoking (2005) – Wendell, lobbyist for tobacco
- The Golden Compass (2007) – Controversial father
- Parks and Recreation (2011-2015) – Recurring role as Ron Dunn
- Justified (2015) – Critics’ Choice Award for guest appearance
- The Ranch (2016-2020) – Beau Bennett on the Netflix series
- A Star Is Born (2018) – Oscar-nominated supporting role
- The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot (2018) – Lead role
- 1883 (2021-2022) – Shea Brennan in Yellowstone prequel series
On the small screen, Elliott has also lent his voice to animated hits like The Simpsons, Family Guy, King of the Hill, and American Dad!
Sam Elliott Net Worth
After over five decades in the entertainment industry, Sam Elliott has amassed an impressive net worth. While his exact net worth varies depending on the source, most estimate Elliott’s net worth to be around $16 million as of 2023.
In his early career, Elliott undoubtedly earned humble sums as a relative unknown doing minor television roles. However, as his career took off in the late 70s and 80s, his salaries rose substantially. Leading man movie roles in the 80s and 90s would have earned Elliott paychecks in the millions.
Elliott likely earned at least $1-2 million for his supporting part in A Star Is Born. He also earned well for his recurring role on Parks and Recreation and as a series regular on The Ranch.
Additionally, Elliott earns royalties from his extensive voiceover work, which continues to be a significant source of income. The veteran actor commands up to $750,000 for national commercial voiceover work.
Elliott has accumulated his wealth between real estate assets and decades of lucrative acting paychecks. And at 78 years old, Elliott’s net worth will likely grow with several projects on the horizon.
Fun Facts About Sam Elliott
- Dropped out of college after just one term to pursue acting full-time.
- He worked as a construction worker early in his career to make ends meet.
- He turned down the lead role in Mask because he didn’t want to be typecast playing similar roles.
- He performed all of his stunts in Tombstone, including being dragged by the horse
- Voiced the dog Chupadogra in Marmaduke.
- Was voted “Most Handsome” senior superlative in high school.
- After working on Road House together, and made good friends with Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves.
- He surprised his wife Katharine with a helicopter ride for her birthday.
- He is an ordained minister and officiated his friends’ wedding.
- Publicly endorsed Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
With his commanding presence and memorable voice, Sam Elliott has cemented his place as one of Hollywood’s most prolific actors. While often playing the stoic cowboy, Elliott’s long, varied career reveals his versatility and magnetism as a performer.
Approaching his fifth decade in the business, Elliott shows no signs of slowing down. The veteran actor continues to take on challenging new roles and explore the depth of his talents. No matter the part, Elliott
What is Sam Elliott’s age?
Sam Elliott is 78 years old as of 2023. He was born on August 9, 1944 in Sacramento, California. Elliot will turn 79 later this year.
Who is Sam Elliott’s wife?
Sam Elliott has been married to actress Katharine Ross since 1984. The couple met on the 1978 film The Legacy set and later reconnected to begin dating. Elliott and Ross have one daughter together named Cleo Rose Elliott, who is also an actress.
Is Sam Elliott alive?
Yes, Sam Elliott is alive and well. At 78 years old, Elliott continues to take on active acting roles. He remains one of the most prolific actors in Hollywood after over 50 years in the business.
What disease does Sam Elliott have?
Sam Elliott has not publicly disclosed having any major health conditions or diseases. The actor appears to be in good health for his age. There are no reports of Elliott battling any serious illnesses.
How tall is Sam Elliott?
Sam Elliott is 6’2″ (1.88 meters) tall. His height adds to his imposing physical presence, often playing rugged, masculine characters on screen.
Who is Sam Elliott’s daughter?
Sam Elliott’s daughter is Cleo Rose Elliott. She was born in 1984 to Elliott and his wife, Katharine Ross. Cleo Rose has followed in her parent’s footsteps as an actress. She has appeared in small roles on shows like Freddie and movies such as Masked and Anonymous.
Is Sam Elliott in Yellowstone?
No, Sam Elliott has no role in the TV series Yellowstone. However, he does play the lead role of Shea Brennan in the prequel series 1883, which follows an earlier generation of the Dutton family before the events of Yellowstone.
What are Sam Elliott’s movies and TV shows?
Some of Sam Elliott’s most notable movies and TV shows include Tombstone, Road House, The Big Lebowski, Thank You for Smoking, Parks and Recreation, The Ranch, A Star Is Born, and 1883. Elliott has also done voiceover work for shows like Family Guy and commercials.