Sam Elliott And His Incredible Life Story

#1: His Father Didn't Approve Of His Acting

Sam had wanted to become an actor since he was nine years old, but his father, a U.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Service worker, didn't think that was a good career path. The ensuing rift damaged their relationship and defined much of Sam's character.

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#2: A Tragic Ending

When the aspiring young actor was just 18 years old, his father died of a heart attack. "He died thinking, 'Man, this kid is going to go down the wrong path,'" said Sam. "And I think on some level that was either hard on me or made me more focused in my resolve to have a career."

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#3: Off To A Good Start

Sam was cast as one of the leads in "Guys and Dolls" while at college in Washington. The local newspaper complimented his performance and claimed he had what it took to be a professional actor. Soon after, Sam declared he was going to Hollywood to pursue his dream.

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#4: Working For A Living

The stereotype of a struggling actor is of someone who serves you in a local cafe to make ends meet. However, Sam took a different route due in part to his blue-collar background. He was instead working part-time in construction between acting auditions. Fortunately, there were plenty of construction work opportunities in California at the time.

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#5: Military Man

Any fan of Sam Elliott knows that he has portrayed many military characters on the big screen. However, what you might not know is that his first military role was in real life. Sam joined the California Army National Guard while living in California, and his experience in the military was key in enhancing both his discipline and his leadership skills.

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#6: Big Screen Debut

Sam's big screen debut was a relatively modest role in a big movie. He played a card player that didn't even have a proper name in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." Fortunately, the film was a hit and it really raised his profile in Hollywood. Interestingly enough, his future wife, Katharine Ross was the female lead in the movie. However, funnily enough, they didn't meet during filming.

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#7: Small Roles Continue

Despite landing a role in a blockbuster film, Sam was still only landing small roles in the late 1960s as well as early 1970s. He appeared on episodes of "Lancer, Land of the Giants," "The F.B.I." and "Bracken's World". He also portrayed Richie Robinson in the film "The Games."

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#8: Blossoming TV Career

With every movie and role that he was cast in, Sam began getting noticed by more and more casting directors. He started landing significant roles in films like "Mission: Impossible" and in shows like "Once an Eagle." His biggest part yet came in 1974, when he starred as the lead character in the TV biopic of "Evel Knievel".

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#9: Shy Guy

Sam said later that he was too nervous to approach Katharine Ross while on the set of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." "I didn't dare try to talk to her then," he said. "She was the leading lady. I was a shadow on the wall, a glorified extra in a bar scene."

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#10: Love Connection

As mentioned earlier, Sam and Katharine Ross didn't meet on the set of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." It was actually a few years later when Elliott starred in the film "The Legacy" that he met Katharine and the pair immediately hit it off.

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#11: Katharine Fell For Him

Everybody wanted to know what attracted Katharine to Sam. Some time later, she was asked if it was his distinctive voice, gentlemanly charm, his mustache or his rugged good looks that caught her eye. Her reply was "Probably all that and more. We were working together and one thing led to another." The two eventually married in 1984.

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#12: Love That Lasts

A vast number of people were cynical about Katharine and Sam's marriage. However, they have now been married for 34 years and have proven the world wrong. "We have a common sensibility, but we also work at being together," he said, "She is the love of my life!"

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#13: Showing Off His Assets

"The Legacy" had a significant impact on Sam Elliot, both professionally and personally. It was his first leading role in a movie, his first meeting of his future wife, and also the first time he exposed his rear end on camera. "Bare Facts" nudity scenes guide gave Sam's scene its highest ranking of three stars.

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#14: What's He Worth?

Many are curious about how much Sam is worth today. Not only does he make money from films, but also endorsement deals and real-estate investments. His reported net worth is $16 million.

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#15: He Can Do It All

Though Sam is best-known as an actor, he has proven to be a man of many talents. He has also worked on producing, writing and singing. He recently helped produce the Netflix series "The Ranch," in 2017 and sang a song on the 2006 animated film "Barnyard."

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#16: Sam's Secret Trick

During his time with Fox Studios, he got on well with the staff at the law office responsible for checking scripts before casting directors received them. So, he made sure he was first in line to get new scripts. When he found a script he liked, he went directly to the casting director to ask for an audition.

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#17: What's Sam Up To

In 2017, Sam appeared in "The Hero" alongside his wife, Katharine. He has also been working on both sides of the the camera on the upcoming movie, "A Star is Born," which features Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.

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#18: Notable Voice Role

With the growing trouble of forest fires in the U.S., Smokey Bear was created in order to warn U.S citizens about wildfire dangers. The American Ad Council, along with the U.S. Forest Service wanted a voice-artist who can deliver a message in a friendly, reliable, and approachable manner. Guess who they asked to do it? You guessed it!

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#19: Almost Passed On Mask

One of Sam Elliott's prominent roles was in the film "Mask," where he played the biker and was in a romantic relationship with Cher. However, Sam nearly missed out on the role. 

Sam was contacted by his agent while on his honeymoon in Hawaii and said he could not take the screen test for the role. His wife later called back and said her husband would come back for the audition. It was a wise decision, as the film became a huge hit and made Sam a household name.

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#20: Favorite Role

A journalist once quizzed Elliott on the favorite role of his career, and his response was in the film, "The Hero." "I think what I remember most about films are the people rather than the films themselves," Elliott explained. "I don't think it will ever get any better than it was on this film [The Hero]. You know, this was on all sides of the camera, it was labor of love for a lot of people."

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