Sam Elliott

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Sam Elliott
Sam Elliot.jpg
Elliott at the Veterans Day Ceremonies at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, November 2001
BornSamuel Pack Elliott
(1944-08-09) August 9, 1944 (age 69)
Sacramento, California, United States
Other namesKyle Peterson
EducationClark College
Alma materCal State LA
Years active1968-present
Spouse(s)Katharine Ross
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Sam Elliott
Sam Elliot.jpg
Elliott at the Veterans Day Ceremonies at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, November 2001
BornSamuel Pack Elliott
(1944-08-09) August 9, 1944 (age 69)
Sacramento, California, United States
Other namesKyle Peterson
EducationClark College
Alma materCal State LA
Years active1968-present
Spouse(s)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).

Early life[edit]

Sam Elliott was born in Sacramento, California,[1] to a physical training instructor mother and a father who worked for the Department of the Interior.[2] 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. Elliott also lived for a short time in Princeton, West Virginia.[3]


Elliott began his career as a character actor; his appearance, voice and bearing were ideally suited to Westerns. One of his first film roles was as 'Card Player #2' in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).

In 1970-71, 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 also played Tom Keating in the mini-series Aspen in 1977. He also had the starring role as Rick Carlson in the summer 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, among others. 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. He has also starred 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 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 also 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 where he played a former Marlboro Man advertisement cowboy who has developed lung-cancer. Elliot joined Nicolas Cage in 2007 in the popular Ghost Rider, and stood out in another film the same year, in The Golden Compass as a key character, 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 twice on Parks and Recreation as Ron Dunn, the Eagleton equivalent of Ron Swanson. He has a supporting role in the film The Company You Keep and plays a college football coach in 2014's Draft Day.

Voice acting[edit]

Elliott has performed voice-over narration for various commercials. He has lent his voice to campaigns for Dodge, IBM, Kinney Drugs, Union Pacific, and, most notably, the American Beef Council, succeeding Robert Mitchum in the latter. Since late 2007, Elliott has done voice-overs for Coors beer, bringing his deep, rich voice and "western" appeal to the brand brewed in Colorado. In 2010, Dodge hired Elliott to do the voice-over for their Ram Heavy Duty truck commercial. He is also the new voice for Smokey Bear ("Only YOU can prevent wildfires"), and shares the mascot's birth date (August 9. 1944). Eliott lent his voice to "Buster" (a.k.a. Chupadogra) in Marmaduke (2010). He also narrated the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers team introductions to Super Bowl XLV -- played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, at the conclusion of the 2010 NFL season -- for Fox Sports.

Personal life[edit]

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 Cole Elliott,[4] born in 1984, who is now a musician in Malibu.[5][6]



1969Butch Cassidy and the Sundance KidCard Player #2
1970The GamesRichie Robinson
1972FrogsPickett Smith
1972Molly and Lawless JohnJohnny Lawler
1975I Will Fight No More ForeverCaptain WoodDirect to video film
1976LifeguardRick Carlson
1976Once an EagleSam DamonTV miniseries
1978Legacy, TheThe LegacyPete Danner
1986Blue Lightning, TheThe Blue LightningHarry Wingate
1987Fatal BeautyMike Marshak
1988ShakedownRichie MarksAlso titled "Blue Jean Cop"
1989Road HouseWade Garrett
PrancerJohn Riggs
1990Sibling RivalryCharles Turner Jr.
1993TombstoneVirgil Earp
GettysburgBrigadier General John Buford
1995The Final CutJohn Pierce
The Desperate TrailBill SpeakesDirect to video
1996Dog WatchCharlie FalonDirect to video
1998Big Lebowski, TheThe Big LebowskiThe Stranger
Hi-Lo Country, TheThe Hi-Lo CountryJim Ed Love
2000Contender, TheThe ContenderKermit Newman
2001Pretty When You CryDetective Lukas Black
2002We Were SoldiersSergeant Major Basil L. Plumley
2003HulkGeneral Thunderbolt Ross
Off the MapCharley
2005Thank You for SmokingLorne Lutch
2006Barnyard: The Original Party AnimalsBen the cowVoice only
Alibi, TheThe AlibiThe MormonAlso titled "Lies and Alibis"
2007Ghost RiderThe Caretaker / Carter Slade
Golden Compass, TheThe Golden CompassLee Scoresby
2009Did You Hear About the Morgans?Clay Wheeler
Up in the AirMaynard FinchNominated - Critics Choice Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Nominated - WAFCA Award for Best Ensemble
2010MarmadukeChupadograVoice only
2011Big Bang, TheThe Big BangSimon Kestral
2012The Company You KeepMac McLeod
2014Draft DayCoach Moore


1968-1969Felony SquadNumerous3 episodes
1969Land of the GiantsMartin Reed1 episode: "Six Hours to Live"
The F.B.I.SAC Kendall Lisbon)1 episode: "The Prey"
Judd, for the DefenseDan Kenyon1 episode: "The Crystal Maze"
1969-1970LancerNumerous3 episodes
1970Challenge, TheThe ChallengeBryantTelevision film
1970-1971"ONCE AN EAGLE"Sam DamonTV Miniseries
1970-1971Mission: ImpossibleDr. Douglas Robert (Lang)13 episodes
1971Assault on the WayneEnsign William 'Bill' SandoverTV movie
1972GunsmokeCory Soames1 episode: "The Wedding"
Mod Squad, TheThe Mod SquadRick Price1 episode: Good Times Are Just Memories
Molly and Lawless JohnJohnny LawlerTV movie
1973Blue Knight, TheDetective Charlie BronskiTV movie
MannixBill Saunders1 episode, Little Girl Lost
HawkinsLuther Wilkes1 episode: "Die Die, Darling"
1974Doc ElliotLee Barrows1 episode: "A Time to Live"
Hawaii Five-OJack Houston1 episode: "The Two-Faced Corpse"
Evel KnievelEvel KnievelTV movie
Manhunter, TheThe ManhunterWill Gantry1 episode: "The Ma Gantry Gang"
Streets of San Francisco, TheThe Streets of San FranciscoKen Johnson1 episode: "The Hard Breed"
1975Police WomanMichael Gregory1 episode: Farewell, Mary Jane
1976-1977Once an EagleSam Damon7 episodes (TV miniseries)
1977AspenTom KeatingTV movie
1979Sacketts, TheThe SackettsTell SackettTV movie
1980Wild TimesHugh Cardiff2 episodes
1981Murder in TexasDr. John HillTV movie
1982Shadow Riders, TheThe Shadow RidersDal TravenTV movie
1983Yellow Rose, TheThe Yellow RoseChance McKenzie1 episode
Travis McGeeTravis McGeeTV movie
1985A Death in CaliforniaD. Jordan Williams2 episodes (TV miniseries)
1986Gone to TexasSam HoustonTV movie. Also titled "Houston: The Legend of Texas"
1987Quick and the Dead, TheThe Quick and the DeadCon Vallian(TV movie)
1991ConagherConn Conagher(TV movie)
Nominated - Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor - TV Film
1993Fugitive Nights: Danger in the DesertLyn CutterTV movie
1995The Ranger, the Cook and a Hole in the SkyBill BellTV movie
Buffalo GirlsWild Bill Hickok(TV movie)
Nominated - Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor - Movie
Nominated - Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor - TV Film
Blue RiverHenry HowlandTV movie
1996Woman UndoneRoss BishopTV movie
1997Rough RidersCapt. Bucky O'NeilTV movie
1998TexarkanaTV movie
1999You Know My NameBill TilghmanTV movie
2000Fail SafeCongressman RaskobTV movie
2006AvengerCalvin DexterTV movie
2010November ChristmasJess SanfordTV movie
2012Robot ChickenVarious1 episode: "Hurtled from a Helicopter Into a Speeding Train"
2013-2014Parks And RecreationRon Dunn2 episodes


  1. ^ "Movies & TV: Sam Elliott Biography". New York Times. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
    • a "Birthplace: Sacramento, California, USA" — ¶ 1.
  2. ^ "Sam Elliott Biography (1944-)". 1944-08-09. Retrieved 2013-05-08. 
  3. ^ "Sam Elliot Biography". Perfect People. 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-22. 
  4. ^ "Katharine Ross". People. 4 May 1992. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  5. ^ Magruder, Melonie (31 December 2008). "Straight from her heart". Malibu Times. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  6. ^ "'Cleo:". Daily Mail. 12 March 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 

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