Samuel Pack Elliott was born August 9, 1944 in Sacramento, California. During his teen years he moved, along with his family, to Oregon. Elliott was in love with film from early on, knowing he wanted to be an actor from the age of 9. He laughingly attributes being bitten by the acting bug due to seeing too many movies as a kid. He attended Clark College, Vancouver, Washington and the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. He moved to Los Angeles, California where he studied acting while working as a construction worker.
Sam Elliott made his film debut in 1969, appearing in a small role in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. While his role was small, he impressed female co-star Katherine Ross and they were married in 1984. They were to have a daughter on September 17, 1984 named Cleo Rose Elliott.
The studio system that maintained a stable of stars was on its last legs and there was little room for Elliott. The small screen had also turned away from that staple of American viewership, the western. Sam Elliott had to scratch out the occasional part wherever he could. He played some 'beefcake' parts or standard good guy roles. Elliott was in Lifeguard (1976) in which he wore little more than swim trunks. His bare-buns appearance in The Lagacy (1978) earned him a three star rating, their highest, in The Bare Facts, a printed guide to film nudity. As late as 2003 Elliott is seen stripped to the waist in Off the Map, even though in his late 50's.
The western genre on TV made an eventual comeback and Elliott was there. He was in Louis L'amour's saga The Sacketts (1976), I Will Fight No More Forever (1981), The Shadow Riders (1982), Houston: The Legend of Texas (1986), and Conagher (1991). Conagher was the realization of a dream for Elliott as he was the producer as well as co-star with his wife Katherine Ross.
The big screen rediscovered the western genre also, and Elliott was cast in the 1993 hit Tombstone along with Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, and Bill Paxton. Elliott played the part of lawman Virgil Earpe in the infamous remake of the shootout at the OK Corral. Sam Elliott was in The Desperate Trail (1995), The Hi-Lo Country, and You Know My Name. He made an appearance in the Coen Brothers cult hit The Big Lebowski (1998).
Sam Elliott crosses genres with appearances in movies such as Mask, (1985) in which he plays Cher's motorcycle riding love interest. Elliott is veteran bouncer Wade Garrett in Roadhouse (1989). The remake of Failsafe (2000) found Elliott donning a suit instead of a cowboy hat and duster. Elliott was in the military in We Were Soldiers, a film set in the Vietnam War era. He sustained a double hernia in his physical preparations for his role in that film, but endured the pain until filming was completed. He played a vindictive general in The Hulk (2003), on a personal mission to destroy the green monster. Elliott played a cancer-ridden Marlboro Man in the comedy Thank You For Smoking (2005). Sam Elliott broadened his horizons yet again by lending his voice to Ben the Cow in the animated film Barnyard, the Original Party Animals. He continued his string with his role in Ghost Rider (2007).
Sam Elliott's distinctive voice has been utilized in ad campaigns for Chevy, IBM, Union-Pacific and most notably has become the voice for the American Beef Council, reminding us that "beef, its what's for dinner".
Sam Elliott has received recognition for his work by being nominated for several major awards. He was nominated for an Emmy Award (Outstanding Supporting Actor in a miniseries or special) for Buffalo Girls (1995). He was nominated for an award at the Golden Globes for Buffalo Girls (1996). He received another Golden Globe Award nomination for Conagher (1992).
Sam Elliott is recognized for his distinctive gruff voice, his rugged spare appearance and his thick handlebar mustache. He lends a credibility to his parts in that he doesn't play a character, he is the character. He has been referred to as the last American cowboy, following in the footsteps of such giants as John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, and Henry Fonda. As for him being the last, that is arguable as Robert Duvall certainly has his claim to make for the title. Sam Elliott is a joy to watch as he brings believability to each role he accepts. He along with his wife Katherine and daughter Cleo Rose live in Malibu, California.
Sam Elliott Filmography:
2007 The Golden Compass
2007 Ghost Rider
2006 Lies & Alibis
2005 Thank You for Smoking
2003 The Hulk
2003 Off the Map
2002 We Were Soldiers
2000 The Contender
2000 Fail Safe
1999 You Know My Name
1998 The Hi-Lo Country
1998 The Big Lebowski
1997 Rough Riders
1996 The Adventures of Mowgli
1996 Woman Undone
1995 Blue River
1995 The Ranger, the Cook and a Hole in the Sky
1995 The Final Cut
1995 Buffalo Girls
1994 The Desperate Trail
1993 Fugitive Nights: Danger in the Desert
1992 A Hole in the Sky
1990 Sibling Rivalry
1989 Road House
1987 Fatal Beauty
1987 The Quick and the Dead
1986 The Blue Lightning
1986 Houston: The Legend of Texas
1985 A Death in California
1983 Empty Copper Sea
1983 Travis McGee
1982 The Shadow Riders
1981 Murder in Texas
1979 The Sacketts
1979 Last Convertible
1979 The Daybreakers
1979 Wild Times
1978 The Legacy
1976 Once an Eagle
1975 I Will Fight No More Forever
1973 The Blue Knight
1973 Die, Darling, Die
1972 Molly and Lawless John
1971 Assault on the Wayne
1971 Mission: Impossible: Encore
1971 Mission: Impossible: The Takeover
1971 Mission: Impossible: Kitara
1970 Mission: Impossible: The Rebel
1970 Mission: Impossible: The Amateur
1970 The Games
1970 Mission: Impossible: My Friend, My Enemy?
1970 The Challenge
1970 Mission: Impossible: The Hostage
1970 Mission: Impossible: Hunted
1970 Mission: Impossible: The Flight
1969 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Once There Was a Ballpark
1999 You Know My Name