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Sam Elliott And His Incredible Life Story

Finding The Money

Before a star makes it to Hollywood, they usually experience financial constraints. This was no different for Sam Elliott. In order to pay his bills, he took on construction work, which he did on a part-time basis. This way, he was still making money while auditioning for roles.

An Outdoors Kid

Unacceptable And Unaccepted

Sam was just 18 years old when he lost his father due to a heart attack. When he died, Sam was not yet successful and did not get the chance to prove him wrong. However, this did not change Sam’s mind. If anything, he said it became a motivating factor in his career.

Other Work

TV Debut

Sam’s big screen debut was when he played Dan Kenyon in an episode of The Crystal Maze. This was for the American legal drama Judd for the Defense, which took place in 1969.

Not Camera Shy

Gathering No Moss

Soon, Sam Elliott got the opportunity to play a minor role in a big movie. He played the character of “card player #2” in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Although it was a modest role, he knew it would lead to much greater things. Fascinatingly enough, he played alongside his future wife Katharine Ross, who was the female lead in the movie.

Flying Below The Radar

Turning Heads

Appearances in television gave Sam his first few acting jobs where directors started to notice him. In 1970’s, he was given more significant roles and appeared in TV series like Mission Impossible, Mission, Once an Eagle and Aspen. In 1974, his TV career started to blossom when he played the lead character in Evel Knievel.

Finding Love

A Leading Lady

As mentioned earlier, both Katharine and Sam were in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Katharine was the leading lady and dubbed one of the most beautiful ladies of Hollywood. Sam admitted that he was too shy and nervous to talk to her when she was the leading lady, and he was a mere extra.

A Ladies’ Man

Reflecting On Their Moment

Elliott also did not hesitate to let the world know how he felt about the movie The Legacy. Although it did not rank so well, he was happy with the outcome as it created a legacy for him and Katharine.

Magnetic Attraction

Life Before Elliott

When Elliot came into her life, Katharine was still married to her fourth husband Gaetano Lisi. She then got a divorce in 1979. It is then that she and Sam took their relationship further.

Being Himself

Getting Replaced

Elliott had his bad days though. One such instance was when he was unable to film The Ambush Murderer. The character was a lawyer who had to defend a black political activist wrongfully accused of killing two white policemen. Sam fell ill during the filming and was replaced with James Brolin.

Making It Official

Wearing The Mask

One of Sam’s biggest and most popular roles was in the film Mask where he played Cher’s biker boyfriend. However, he nearly missed this role. He was contacted by his agent while in Hawaii on his honeymoon with Katharine. He declined to go back to California for the auditions, but Katharine did not agree with him.

Katharine’s Insistence

A Fitting Role

Throughout his career, Sam took on many roles but he was the perfect fit for grand marshal at the Calgary Stampede parade. For his efforts, he attracted an impressive crowd of about 300,000 spectators!

The Cowboy

His Father

When asked where he got his work ethic and persona, Sam did not hesitate to credit his father. During his interview with NPR, Sam said that spending time with his dad and his friends, all outdoorsmen, really helped him. He admits that they had good work ethics and this is where he got the idea of what kind of man he would love to be.

Before The Voice

Choosing His Roles

Sam discloses that he is picky about the roles offered to him and only goes for those that are right by him. He attributes his longevity to the fact that he chooses his own roles. He has always wanted to be an actor and he figured that the way to keep it up was to be cautious about the work one does.

Everything For The Part

Turning Down And turning Up

We all know Sam from his supporting role of Wade Garrett in the film Road House. However, he was originally offered the role of Brad Wesley and turned down that role. The casting director then offered him the role of Wade Garrett, to which he said yes.

Road House

The Big Lebowski

In the The Big Lebowski, which was written by the Coen brothers, Sam did not have a big role. But once again, he proved that it was not the size of the role that mattered but what you do with it. He took up the role of a stranger, which eventually became well-known. It is obvious that the Coen brothers had Sam in mind when writing the script since when Elliott was going through the pages; he noticed it was written: “the voice-over sounds not unlike Sam Elliott.” His character was also described as “looking like a drugstore cowboy, looking not unlike Sam Elliott.”

The Big Lebowski Spin-Off

His Name In The Script

As mentioned earlier, Elliott’s name was in the script of The Big Lebowski. With descriptions that mentioned him, it was clear that the character was written especially for him. It’s like the scriptwriters tried their luck at getting him to accept the role by including his name in the script!

Working With Jeff Bridges

Trouble At Home

In 2011, there was a serious family drama that caught the attention of the media. It was reported that Elliott’s wife Katharine filed a restraining order against their daughter Cleo. Katharine testified that her 21-year-old daughter stabbed her with a pair of scissors and made death threats. The 71-year-old mother filed a report and Cleo was ordered to stay 100 yards from her at all times.

Missing Judgement Day

Quite A ‘Stach

One thing that sets Sam Elliott apart from other actors in Hollywood is his mustache. Not everyone can pull it off for decades. It remains one of his iconic features and has played a major role in his success in the entertainment industry. In fact, he has been inducted into the International Moustache Hall of Fame in 2015. Other mustache men who have received this great honor include Tom Selleck and Burt Reynolds.

Other Awards

In His Blood

When asked how he played the cowboy persona so well, Elliott admitted that he had a family heritage that traces to the old West. They had relatives in Alamo and he believes this connection is what draws him to such roles.

Not Just An Actor

Never Giving Up Hope

It took five marriages for Katharine Ross to find lasting love and it was her hope that made her give Sam Elliott a chance. No one would imagine she would find true love after her fourth divorce. Although not many people thought their marriage would last, the two have been married for 33 years now. When asked what kept them together, Elliott noted that they share sensibilities and that they work well together.

Not The Usual Hollywood Couple

In Its Richest Form

Elliott believes that he has been very fortunate in his life thanks to his amazing career and endorsements. Along with acting, he also owns properties and does voiceovers. It is estimated that Elliott’s net worth is $16 million while his wife’s net worth is $5 million.

Hollywood Advantage

Smokey Bear

Most people didn’t know that Elliott’s remarkable voice got him voicing the character of “Smokey Bear’’ in 2008. This character was used to create awareness of wildfire dangers. He was able to portray the voice of a talking bear and delivered the message in a friendly, reliable, and approachable manner.


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