- Sam Elliot
August 09, 1944 (age 76)
- Actor, Voice Actor, Film Producer
- Katharine Ross
Samuel Pack "Sam" Elliott (born August 9, 1944) is an American actor. His rangy physique, thick horseshoe moustache, deep, resonant voice, and Western drawl lend to frequent casting as cowboys and ranchers. His other credits over the years have included playing Marvel Comics characters General Ross in Hulk (2003) and The Caretaker in Ghost Rider (2007), as well as the "Stranger" in 1998's The Big Lebowski.
Sam Elliott was born in Sacramento, California, to a physical training instructor mother and a father who worked for the Department of the Interior. He moved from California to Oregon with his family during his teenage years, where he graduated from David Douglas High School in Portland. He attended Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, where he completed a two-year program and was cast as one of the leads in Guys and Dolls. The local newspaper suggested that Elliott should be a professional actor. Soon after, Elliott declared he was going to Hollywood to become a star. Elliott is a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at Cal State LA. He worked in construction while studying acting in Los Angeles and served in the California Army National Guard. Elliott also lived for a short time in Princeton, West Virginia.
Elliott has a family heritage from Texas—with a relative who was in the Battle of the Alamo.
Elliott began his career as a character actor; his appearance, voice, and bearing were well-suited to Westerns. One of his first film roles was as 'Card Player #2' in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).
In the 1970–71 television season, Sam Elliott starred as Doug Robert in the hit TV series Mission: Impossible, and played the lead character Sam Damon in Once an Eagle, an NBC miniseries during the 1976–77 season. He played Tom Keating in the mini-series Aspen in 1977. He had the starring role as Rick Carlson in the summer hit sleeper Lifeguard (1976). In 1979, he played the oldest brother in the made-for-TV miniseries The Sacketts, also starring Tom Selleck, Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens, Glenn Ford, Ruth Roman, Mercedes McCambridge, Jack Elam, and Gilbert Roland. He later played a wife killer in the miniseries Murder in Texas (1981) and A Death in California (1985). Elliott's breakthrough came with his supporting role in Mask (1985) when he co-starred with Cher. He has made guest appearances on shows such as Felony Squad, Gunsmoke, Lancer, and Hawaii Five-O and has been featured in many TV movies, including Prancer (1989) and Buffalo Girls (1995) in which he played Wild Bill Hickok. In 1986 he starred in a TV movie Gone to Texas based on a biography of Sam Houston. The role allowed him to play Houston as both fighter and a man who grew into a skillful political leader; the film depicted his disgrace as Governor of Tennessee, his return to his Cherokee Nation friends, and his pivotal role in the liberation of Texas from Mexico in 1836. Elliott played Wade Garrett in Road House (1989) with Patrick Swayze and played Virgil Earp in Tombstone (1993), which starred Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer. In 1998, Elliot was named the grand marshal of the Calgary Stampede parade and rode in the procession before an estimated 300,000 spectators.
Elliott co-starred in We Were Soldiers, which is based on the book We Were Soldiers Once… And Young, portraying Sgt. Maj. Basil L. Plumley. He portrayed General John Buford in the 1993 film Gettysburg. He played General Thunderbolt Ross in the 2003 film Hulk.
Elliott played "The Stranger", a character narrating the story of The Big Lebowski (1998). In 2005 he appeared in Thank You for Smoking, as a former Marlboro Man advertisement cowboy who has developed lung cancer. Elliot joined Nicolas Cage in 2007 in the comic book adaptation Ghost Rider, and stood out in another film that same year, in The Golden Compass as Lee Scoresby. In 2009, Elliott had a small role in Up In The Air in which he portrayed the Chief Pilot of American Airlines. He has appeared three times on Parks and Recreation as Ron Dunn, the Eagleton equivalent of Ron Swanson; Ron Dunn is a hippie, compared to Swanson's staunch survivalist-Libertarian personality. He has a supporting role in the film The Company You Keep and played a college football coach in 2014's Draft Day.
In 2015, Elliott played the role of Karl, Lily Tomlin's former flame, in Paul Weitz's film, Grandma. He played opposite Blythe Danner in the romance I'll See You in My Dreams, and had a role in the independent film Digging for Fire.
In 2015, he won the Critics' Choice Television Award for best guest performer in a drama for his role in the FX Network's show Justified.
Elliott married actress Katharine Ross in 1984. Although Ross starred in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, in which Elliott had a very small role, the two did not meet and begin dating until 1978 when they both starred with Roger Daltrey in The Legacy. He and Katharine Ross have a daughter, Cleo Rose Elliott, born in 1984, who is now a musician in Malibu.