You know when you hear a specific accent or tone of voice and you almost literally go weak at the knees? Sam Elliott knows this all too well, having caused many women (and men!) to melt with his deep and resonant voice!
But this American actor is so much more than the way in which he makes the crowd wild! In fact, he’s kind of a jack-0f-all-trades rebel kinda guy – one whose father disproved of his acting career!
Read all about Sam Elliott, the man behind that ‘voice’, here.
Elliott owes a lot to the school, Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, for his fame and fortune, as it was here where he was cast the lead role in the production of, Guys and Dolls. This, in turn, lead to a local journalist writing a great review on Elliott’s abilities, pushing him to pursue acting.
The Move to Hollywood
But of course, no one simply makes it overnight when it comes to Hollywood. Which is why Elliott worked a number of jobs while auditioning for different roles. One job was in construction, working part-time.
Elliott and His Father
Unfortunately, Elliott’s decision to pursue acting caused quite a strain on his relationship with his father, Henry Nelson Elliott, who worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Sadly, their relationship did not ever fully recover before Henry’s death.
Thoughts On His Father
When asked about his father’s death, Sam kind of thanked him in an interview:
“He died thinking, ‘Man, this kid is going to go down the wrong path, and I think on some levels that was either hard on me or made me more focused in my resolve to have a career.”
At just 15 years old in 1969, Sam was given his TV debut on legal drama Judd, For The Defense. He starred in an episode called Crystal Maze.
First ‘Big’ Role
A pivotal moment for Elliot was in 1968, when he was given a small role on the TV show, The Felony Squad. His performance proved successful, and he was later given two more roles on the same show in 1968 and in 1969.
Elliot’s success on the small screen lead to greater things when he was able to secure his first role in a film. He played ‘Card Player #2’ in the western film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. And it was here where he met his future wife.
Despite Elliott’s superb acting ability, he still found himself playing small roles in TV shows and films throughout the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. But in celebrating small victories, he was finally given a role with an actual character name – Richie Robertson, in the film, The Game.
Mid-70’s – Time to Shine
Luckily for Elliott, the mid-70’s held a lot of promise. He was being noticed considerably by casting directors, and was given recurring roles on shows such as, Mission:Impossible, Once an Eagle, and Aspen.
In 1974 he was even cast as the title character in the TV movie biopic, “Evel Knievel.”
Finally, Elliott was given a leading role in the 1978 film, The Legacy, where he played the role of Pete Danner. And despite the fact that this film did not go on to win any awards, Elliott did manage to fall in love!
Katharine Ross and Elliott, who had starred in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid together a few years prior, found themselves on-set once again. Elliott admitted to being very nervous in approaching Ross and talked about their first encounter by saying, “I didn’t dare try to talk to her then. She was the leading lady. I was a shadow on the wall, a glorified extra in a bar scene”
But, as it turns out, Elliott was made for the spotlight, just like Ross. In fact, his role in The Legacy left many, including Ross, in total lust, pining after him.
We believe one of the reasons for Katharine for falling for Mr Elliott was because of his bare bottom scene in the film. We certainly were lusting after him!
So what was it that attracted Ross to Elliott? In an interview, she exclaimed, “We were working together and one thing led to another. And here we are.” She also admitted to swooning over his deep voice and rugged manly charm.
To much surprise, Ross and Elliott’s love story was not much of a fairytale to start out with. Ross was actually married at the time that they fell in love, having four ex-husbands behind her when the pair married.
The Ambush Murder
So, as things were heating up in Elliott’s love and professional life, he was cast one of the main roles in the film, The Ambush Murder. Unfortunately, he fell ill and was unable to take on the role, leaving the producers to choose James Brolin to take his place.
Ross and Elliott’s Family Life
In 1984, Ross had divorced her fourth husband and walked down the aisle with Elliott. The two had a daughter together that same year, and named her Cleo Rose.
An Interrupted Honeymoon
Whilst on their honeymoon in Hawaii, Elliott received a phone call asking him to audition for a role in the film, The Mask. He politely declined, as it meant his dream vacay with his new wife would come to an early close. Ross however, took matters into her own hands, calling the producers to say that Elliott would be there…
A Woman’s Intuition
Thankfully so, Elliott got the part on The Mask and was able to show off his more serious side as an actor, opening up many more opportunities for the talented star.
The Mask Reception
Although Sam didn’t receive any award nominations, his co-star Cher did (Golden Globe) and the film one an Oscar for Best Make Up in 1986.
A Step Into the West
From 1987, Elliott managed to secure several very successful roles in various western films, such as The Quick and the Dead, Houston: The Legend of Texas, Tombstone, and You Know My Name. And due to his rise in stardom, he was appointed a spot in the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
Taking After His Father
Despite Elliott’s rather rocky relationship with his father, he owes his success to his dad – saying in an interview, “And I was with my dad and my – and his peers, who were all men’s men and outdoorsmen. All had incredible work ethics and were all good men. And they were really the ones I think that I learned what kind of a man I wanted to be when I grew up.”
As many will admit, with time comes wisdom and charm…and that is definitely the truth for Elliott, who admits that his voice was not always so deep and attractive. “It came with age. It just kept going down the older I got – can’t imagine it’s going to go much further,” he said.
Despite having over 90 credits to his name, Elliott revealed that he is most recognized by the public for his role in Road House, even though he believes that the 1989 film was one of his poorest performances.
With many stars having done menial roles in hopes of making it big, Elliott refused to take on roles he was not interested in. “I’m picky, very picky,” he said. “I wanted to be an actor since I was nine years old and I figured that was only one way to ever have any longevity and that’s to be careful about what kind of work you do. You can work for money, do a lot of whatever comes your way and not have any kind of a yardstick to measure quality by, and people, you know you’ll make a lot of money if you’re lucky, and people will get fed up and sick of seeing you and that’s it onto the next one.”
Back when Elliot was first being recruited, Fox Studios had a ‘studio system’ and he was one of the last actors to go through it. Elliot being the sweet talker he is, got very friendly with the women in the law office who would be sending scripts through all the time. They would allow him to have a read of the scripts before anyone and therefore gave him an advantage over other actors. He was able to call casting directors and ask for auditions before anyone else!
To further prove Elliott’s picky nature, at first when he was offered a role in the film, Road House, he turned it down. This was because he was asked to play the part of Brad Wesley – a character Elliott did not care to play. Later however, when the producers asked him to play a different role, he accepted.
The Big Lebowski
Soon, Elliott was making such an impact on the Hollywood scene, that roles were even being written with him in mind. In the film, The Big Lebowski, for example, the script literally read, “The voice-over sounded not unlike Sam Elliottt,” leaving Elliott to admit, “They certainly wrote it with me in mind.”
While Elliott has many prominent and famous attributes about him, his moustache is arguably the most famous. In fact, it even wound him a spot in the International Mustache Hall of Fame.
There’s good reason why Elliott persists to star in films in the western genre. In an interview, he explains his ties to the old west by saying, “I have a heritage from the West. My family had a relative in the Alamo. I’ve got history to Texas… It is because of that I always hearken to western roles, that family heritage.”
Recently Sam has taken on slightly smaller roles in films and TV shows, including his role in Netflix series Grace And Frankie.
Considering Sam has been in the movie industry for over five decades, it is no surprise that his net worth is estimated at $16 million!
Elliott is well thought of in the world of film, with many believing he is the ‘Manliest Man in Hollywood’. He certainly proved this in an interview for his film Road House:
“You hear all that bullsh** about ‘It’s all stunt doubles’ and all that sh**. Well, it isn’t, all the actors, as far as I know, did their own fighting. I f**king got the sh** kicked out of me for the entire film.”
All right Sam, calm down, we get it, you’re a man.
One Problem With Katharine
Elliot told a reporter that although he loves his wife very much she isn’t perfect and has one flaw that he tries to help her with, he said:
“She never wanted to chase it, acting, I’ve told her to get a new agent and get back out there.”
Interestingly, Elliott not only worked in construction during his search for fame, but actually joined the California Army National Guard (CAL ARNG), which most certainly contributed to his success today.
Katharine And Cleo
In March 2011, Sam’s wife Katharine filed for a restraining order against her own daughter after she threatened to attack her with scissors. But just months later when the case went to court, neither turned up and it seems that was the end of the matter…
Sam revealed when asked about the situation: “I’d like to do parenthood over again, I feel like I fell short. Everyone says, ‘I wouldn’t change anything.’ I can’t believe that’s true. Either that or I think, ‘Wow, you’re a lucky man to be able to be able to say that, if you really believe it.'”
Elliott, Ross and their daughter Cleo are said to be a very happy family now. The couple joined forces once again on screen in ‘The Hero’ in 2017.