Katharine Ross

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Katharine Ross
Katharine Ross - Buddwing.JPG
In Mister Buddwing (1966)
BornKatharine Juliet Ross
(1940-01-29) January 29, 1940 (age 74)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
OccupationActress, Author
Years active1962–2006
Spouse(s)Joel Fabiani (1960–1962)
John Marion (1964–1967)
Conrad Hall (1969–1974)
Gaetano Lisi (1974–1979)
Sam Elliott (1984–present)
ChildrenCleo Rose Elliott (b.1984)
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Katharine Ross
Katharine Ross - Buddwing.JPG
In Mister Buddwing (1966)
BornKatharine Juliet Ross
(1940-01-29) January 29, 1940 (age 74)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
OccupationActress, Author
Years active1962–2006
Spouse(s)Joel Fabiani (1960–1962)
John Marion (1964–1967)
Conrad Hall (1969–1974)
Gaetano Lisi (1974–1979)
Sam Elliott (1984–present)
ChildrenCleo Rose Elliott (b.1984)

Katharine Juliet Ross (born January 29, 1940)[1] is an American film and stage actress. She starred in two of the most popular films of the late 1960s, as Elaine Robinson in The Graduate (1967), for which she won a Golden Globe Award and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and as Etta Place in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), for which she won a BAFTA Award for Best Actress. She also starred in The Stepford Wives (1975) and won another Golden Globe for Voyage of the Damned (1976).

Early life[edit]

Ross was born in Hollywood, California, on January 29, 1940, when her father, Dudley Ross, was in the Navy.[2] He had also worked for the Associated Press.[3] Her family later settled in Walnut Creek, California, east of San Francisco, and she graduated from Las Lomas High School in 1957. Ross was a keen horse rider in her youth[4] and was friends with Casey Tibbs, a rodeo rider.[5]


She studied at Santa Rosa Junior College for one year (1957–1958), where she was introduced to acting via a production of The King and I. She dropped out of the course and moved to San Francisco to study acting.[4] She joined The Actors Workshop and was with them for three years (1959–1962)[6] working as an understudy;[7] for one role in Jean Genet's The Balcony she appeared nude on stage,[7] and in 1964 she was cast by John Houseman as Cordelia in a production of King Lear.[8][9] While at the Workshop, she began acting in television series in Los Angeles to earn extra money.[4] She was brought to Hollywood by Metro, dropped, then picked up by Universal.[10]

Her first television role was in Sam Benedict in 1962.[6] In 1964, Ross appeared in episodes of Arrest and Trial, The Virginian, Gunsmoke, and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour ("Dividing Wall" episode, 1963), and made her first film, Shenandoah, followed by a starring role opposite James Garner in Mister Buddwing with MGM in 1965.[6] In 1966, she appeared in the episode "To Light a Candle" of Barry Sullivan's NBC Western The Road West.

Ross in 1966

That year, she starred in the film Games.[4] Then came her breakout roles in two of cinema's most popular films, Elaine Robinson in The Graduate (1967) and Etta Place in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).[11] After appearing as Dustin Hoffman's girlfriend Elaine in The Graduate, a part for which she received an Oscar nomination[12] and a Golden Globe as New Star of the Year, she said that "I'm not a movie star...that system is dying and I'd like to help it along."[4] She also won a BAFTA for her part as an Indian in Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (1969).[13] She turned down several roles (including Jacqueline Bisset's role in Bullitt[14]) before accepting the part in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and then turned down several more roles,[15] including a part in The Towering Inferno.[14]

She was dropped by Universal in the spring of 1969 for refusing to play a stewardess in Airport, another role that went to Jacqueline Bisset.[10] She preferred stage acting, and returned to the small playhouses in Los Angeles for much of the 1970s.[15] One of her best-known roles came in 1975's The Stepford Wives, for which she won the Saturn Award for Best Actress.[16] She reprised the role of Etta Place in a 1976 ABC TV movie, Wanted: The Sundance Woman,[11] and then won a Golden Globe for best supporting actress for her part in 1977's Voyage of the Damned;[17]

She starred in several television movies from the late 1970s,[18] including Murder by Natural Causes in 1979 with Hal Holbrook, Barry Bostwick and Richard Anderson,[citation needed] Rodeo Girl in 1980,[19] Murder in Texas in 1981,[14] and the 1980s television series The Colbys opposite Charlton Heston as Francesca Scott Colby.[20] She played Donnie's therapist in the 2001 film Donnie Darko.[21] Her last acting role to date was as Carly Schroeder's grandmother in the 2006 independent film Eye of the Dolphin. Ross has established herself as an author, publishing several children's books.

Personal life[edit]

Ross has been married five times. Her first marriage was to actor Joel Fabiani[7] from February 28, 1960 to 1962. She was then married to John Marion from May 2, 1964 to 1967. On June 1, 1969, Ross married the triple Oscar-winning cinematographer Conrad L. Hall after meeting him on the set of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.[15] They separated in 1973.[22] She was married to Gaetano Lisi (known as Tom) from 1975 to 1979, after they met when he was a chauffeur and technician on The Stepford Wives.[23][24] Ross is now married to actor Sam Elliott, whom she met when they co-starred in the 1978 film The Legacy (one of his first film roles was as "Card Player #2" in the opening scene of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid). The couple married in 1984 and have a daughter, Cleo Rose Elliott,[25] born in 1984.[26] In March 2011, Ross got a restraining order against Cleo after her daughter allegedly stabbed her repeatedly with a pair of scissors.[27]



1965ShenandoahAnnWith Jimmy Stewart.
1966The Singing NunNicole Arlien
1966Mister BuddwingJanet
1967The Longest Hundred MilesLaura Huntington
1967GamesJennifer Montgomery
1967The GraduateElaine RobinsonGolden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress
Laurel Award for Female Supporting Performance
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—BAFTA Film Award for Newcomer to Leading Film Roles
1968HellfightersTish BuckmanWith John Wayne.
1969Butch Cassidy and the Sundance KidEtta PlaceBAFTA Award for Best Actress (also for Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here)
1969Tell Them Willie Boy Is HereLolaWith Robert Redford. BAFTA Award for Best Actress (also for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)
1970FoolsAnais Appleton
1972Get to Know Your RabbitNameless Woman
1972They Only Kill Their MastersKate
1974Chance and ViolenceDocteur Constance Weber(Limited release)
1975The Stepford WivesJoanna EberhartSaturn Award for Best Actress
1976Voyage of the DamnedMira HouserGolden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1978The BetsySally Hardeman
1978The SwarmHelena
1978The LegacyMargaret WalshWith Sam Elliot.
1980The Final CountdownLaurel Scott
1982Wrong Is RightSally Blake
1986Red Headed StrangerLaurie(Limited release)
1991ConagherEvie Teale(Television film) With Sam Elliot.
1991A Climate for KillingGrace Hines(Straight to video)
1997Home Before DarkRose(Straight to television)
2001Donnie DarkoDr. Lilian Thurman(Limited release)
2002Don't Let GoCharlene Stevens(Unreleased)
2006Eye of the DolphinLucy(Limited release)
2013Wini + GeorgeWini(short)[28]


1962Sam BenedictTeresa ParelliEpisode: "A Split Week in San Quentin"
1963Kraft Suspense TheatreJanet BollingtonEpisode: "Are There Any More Out There Like You?"
1963The LieutenantElizabethEpisode: "Fall from a White Horse"
1963The Alfred Hitchcock HourCarol BrandtEpisode: "The Dividing Wall"
1964Arrest and TrialMarietta ValeraEpisode: "Signals of an Ancient Flame"
1964Ben CaseyMarie CosteauEpisode: "The Evidence of Things Not Seen"
1964The VirginianJenny HendricksEpisode: "The Dark Challenge"
Liz Beaumont
Episode: "Crooked Mile"
Episode: "The Lady"
1965Mr. NovakMrs. BellwayEpisode: "Faculty Follies: Part 2"
1965Wagon TrainBonnie BrookeEpisode: "The Bonnie Brooke Story"
1965Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler TheatreGloriaEpisode: "Terror Island"
1965Run for Your LifeLaura BeaumontEpisode: "The Cold, Cold War of Paul Bryan"
1965The Big ValleyMariaEpisode: "Winner Lose All"
1965The LonerSue SullivanEpisode: "Widow on the Evening Stage"
1965The Wild Wild WestSheila ParnellEpisode: "The Night of the Double-Edged Knife"
1966Preview TonightAsenathEpisode: "Great Bible Adventures: Seven Rich Years and Seven Lean"
1966The Road WestRachel AdamsEpisode: "To Light a Candle"
1976Origins of the MafiaRosa MastrangeloMini-series
1976Wanted: The Sundance WomanEtta Place / Mrs. Sundance / Annie Martin / Bonnie DorisTV movie
1979Murder by Natural CausesAllison SinclairTV movie
1980Rodeo GirlSammy GarrettTV movie
1981Murder in TexasAnn Kurth HillTV movie With Sam Elliot.
1982Wait Until Dark DarkSuzy HendrixTV movie
1982Marian Rose WhiteNurse Bonnie MacNeilTV movie
1982The Shadow RidersKate Connery/Sister KatherineTV movie With Sam Elliot.
1983Travis McGeeGretel HowardTV movie With Sam Elliot.
1983Secrets of a Mother and DaughterAva PriceTV movie
1985–1987The ColbysFrancesca 'Frankie' Scott Colby Hamilton Langdon49 episodes
1986Gone To Texas aka Houston: The Legend of TexasSusannah DickinsonTV movie With Sam Elliott.
1988ABC Afterschool SpecialsMaggie's MotherEpisode: "Tattle: When to Tell on a Friend"
1991ConagherEvie TealeTV movie With Sam Elliott.
2004Capital CityN/AUnaired pilot



  1. ^ According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905–1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. At Ancestry.com.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Amory, Cleveland (April 8, 1977). "Katharine Ross has always wanted to play an Indian". The Modesto Bee. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d e De Paolo, Ronald (March 1, 1968). "Sudden Stardom of the 'Graduate Girl'". Life. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  5. ^ Bradford, Jack (June 18, 1968). "Off the Grapevine". Toledo Blade. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c Kleiner, Dick (March 25, 1965). "Katherine, or a Rossy Future". Times Daily. Retrieved August 12, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c Gold, Herbert (2002). "When San Francisco Was Cool". In James O'Reilly, Larry Habegger, Sean O'Reilly. Travelers' Tales San Francisco: True Stories. Travelers' Tales. p. 30. ISBN 1-885211-85-6. 
  8. ^ Houseman, John (1984). Final Dress. Simon & Schuster. p. 263. ISBN 0-671-42032-1. 
  9. ^ Schuhmach, Murray (May 22, 1964). "Hollywood 'Lear' lures Carnovsky; Actor Blacklisted in '51 to Play Title Role at U.C.L.A.". New York Times. Retrieved August 12, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b Champlin, Charles (June 7, 1969). "Katherine Ross: Post-Graduate". The Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b Andreychuk, Ed (1997). The golden corral: a roundup of magnificent Western films. McFarland. p. 142. ISBN 0-7864-0393-4. 
  12. ^ Haber, Joyce (September 6, 1968). "Katharine Ross Lands Role in Public Eye". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  13. ^ Legge, Charles (September 22, 2009). "Hitching a ride to infamy". Daily Mail (on BNET). Retrieved August 12, 2010. 
  14. ^ a b c Graham, Sheila (February 26, 1969). "Katharine Jacqueline Stars on No. 2 Choice". The Pittsburgh Press. 
  15. ^ a b c Monaco, Paul (2003). The sixties, 1960–1969. University of California Press. p. 135. ISBN 0-520-23804-4. 
  16. ^ "Past Saturn Awards". Saturn Awards. The Academy of Science Fiction Fantasy & Horror Films. Retrieved August 12, 2010. 
  17. ^ Kleiner, Dick (March 14, 1977). "Katharine Ross – Talent, Luck Gets Actress Parts She Wants". The Sumter Daily Item. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  18. ^ Lewis, Dan (June 6, 1981). "Katharine Ross graduates to TV-movies". Nashua Telegraph. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  19. ^ Beck, Marilyn (September 16, 1980). "Marilyn Beck's Hollywood". Tri City Herald. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  20. ^ UPI (August 23, 1985). "Katharine Ross gets role in 'Dynasty II'". The Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  21. ^ O'Hehir, Andrew (October 30, 2001). "Donnie Darko". Salon. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  22. ^ Haber, Joyce (March 19, 1973). "Katharine Moves, Horses and All". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 12, 2010. 
  23. ^ Beck, Marilyn (March 18, 1975). "Hollywood Closeup". The Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  24. ^ Brown, Vivian (January 26, 1977). "Old-fashioned and lucky in films". The Free Lance-Star. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  25. ^ "Katharine Ross". People. May 4, 1992. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  26. ^ Magruder, Melonie (December 31, 2008). "Straight from her heart". Malibu Times. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  27. ^ "'Cleo Wants to Kill Me': Graduate Star Katharine Ross takes out restraining order after daughter 'stabs her with scissors'". Daily Mail. March 12, 2011. Retrieved April 15, 2011. 
  28. ^ Wini + George official site

External links[edit]