Sam Elliott

Sam Elliott, born August 9, 1944, is an American actor. Over the years, he has received critical acclaim and numerous awards, including a National Board of Review Award, and was nominated for awards from the Academy, Golden Globe, Primetime Emmy, and the Screen Actors Guild. Join us in celebrating his birthday!

Fast Facts

Full Name:

Samuel Pack Elliott



Birth date:

August 9, 1944



Zodiac Sign:



6' 2"

Relationship Status:


Net Worth:

$20 million


Samuel Pack Elliott was born on August 9, 1944, in Sacramento. He moved from California to Portland, Oregon, at 13. Elliott spent his teenage years living in northeast Portland and graduated from David Douglas High School in 1962. Elliott studied at the University of Oregon as an English and psychology major for two terms before dropping out. He returned to Portland and attended Clark College in nearby Vancouver, Washington. He completed a two-year program and worked in a stage production of Guys and Dolls. The Vancouver Columbian newspaper praised Elliott for his performance. After he graduated from Clark in 1965, Elliott re-enrolled at the University of Oregon but dropped out again before completing his studies after his father suffered from a fatal heart attack. In the late 1960s, Elliott relocated to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting. Elliott served in the California Air National Guard’s 146th Airlift Wing (the Hollywood Guard) at Van Nuys Airport before the unit moved to Channel Islands Air National Guard Station.

In 1969, Elliott made his voice-acting debut as Dan Kenyon in Judd for the Defense in The Crystal Maze. That same year, he also appeared in Lancer playing Renslo. He appeared in two more episodes of the series between 1970 and 1971. In the 1970–1971 television season, Elliott starred in the hit series Mission: Impossible as Doug Robert for numerous episodes. In 1975, Elliott was cast as Charles Wood in the television film I Will Fight No More Forever. From 1976 to 1977, he played the lead character Sam Damon in the miniseries Once an Eagle. He starred as Rick Carlson in the summer sleeper hit Lifeguard, marking his feature film breakthrough.

In 1977, Elliott played the role of Tom Keating in the miniseries Aspen. He played an abusive wife-killer in the miniseries Murder in Texas. He has made guest appearances on shows like Felony Squad, Gunsmoke, Lancer, and Hawaii Five-O. Elliott had a supporting role in Mask and the Christmas film Prancer. In 1986, he starred in the T.V. movie Gone to Texas. Elliott played Wade Garrett in Road House. He portrayed General John Buford in the 1993 historical drama Gettysburg and played Virgil Earp in The Western Tombstone. Elliott also played The Stranger, a character narrating the story of The Big Lebowski. He subsequently co-starred in We Were Soldiers, an adaptation of We Were Soldiers Once… And Young, in which he portrayed Basil L. Plumley. He starred in the 2003 action film Hulk as General Thaddeus Ross.

In 2005, he played a former Marlboro Man advertisement cowboy who has developed lung cancer in Thank You for Smoking. In 2006, he provided the voice for Ben the Cow in the animated film Barnyard. In 2007, Elliott joined the comic book adaptation Ghost Rider. Elliott appeared in The Golden Compass as the character Lee Scoresby. The film is based on the Northern Lights in Philip Pullman’s trilogy, His Dark Materials. 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 thrice as Ron Dunn in Parks and Recreation. He then provided the voice of Buster in the animated film Marmaduke. In 2015, he won the Critics’ Choice Television Award for his role in Justified.

Career timeline

His First T.V. Show

Elliott stars in "Mission: Impossible," a series that chronicles the missions of a team of secret American government agents.

His Leading T.V. Role

He stars in "Lifeguard" as a 30-year-old full-time lifeguard on the beaches of Los Angeles.

One More Main Role

Elliott plays a major role in "Gone to Texas," an American made-for-television biographical film.

His First Nomination

Elliott is nominated for the Golden Globe Award for ‘Best Actor (Miniseries or Television Film).’

His Superhero Movie

Elliott plays General Thaddeus Ross in "Hulk."

His First Dubbing Role

Elliott works as a voice actor for the first time in the animation "Barnyard," playing Ben the Cow.

He Stars in “The Hero”

Elliott plays an aging Western icon with a golden voice in "The Hero."

Why We Love Sam Elliott

  1. He's proud of his origins

    Elliott is proud of his Southern accent. He was once advised to get voice and diction lessons to change his enunciation, which he tried for some time but eventually decided to be comfortable in his own skin.

  2. He is a devoted husband

    Elliott has been with his wife, Katharine Ross, for decades and the two are still very much in love. He almost missed his important role in "The Mask" because of his honeymoon.

  3. He is awesome to work with

    Elliott is such a cool actor that makers of the "The Big Lebowski" even wrote down his name in the script when describing the character of the Stranger. This made it really hard for Elliott to turn down the role and shows how much he is appreciated as an artist.

5 Surprising Facts

  1. He married his co-star

    He’s been married to actress Katharine Ross since 1984, whom he met when they both co-starred in "The Legacy."

  2. He served in the military

    Elliott has spent time in the army and was even honored by the National Guard Association with the ‘Spirit of America’ award in 2002.

  3. His father disapproved of his acting career

    Elliott’s father, who worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was not initially very happy when his son told him that he wanted to become an actor.

  4. He shares his birthday with a bear

    Elliott and Smokey the Bear share the same birthday.

  5. He has a prolific filmography

    He has appeared in several T.V. shows and films, and some of his most notable movies include "Tombstone," "Ghost Rider," "Gettysburg," "Road House Up In The Air," "The Golden Compass," "Hulk," "We Were Soldiers," and also "Bigfoot."

Sam Elliott FAQs

What does Sam Elliott’s daughter do?

Elliott’s daughter, Cleo Rose, is a model, singer, and musician.

Was Sam Elliott in the Vietnam War?

Although Elliott did not participate in the Vietnam War, he expressed his guilt for not doing his bit for the nation at the time.

What does Sam Elliott do now?

Elliott remains active in films and T.V. shows despite being in his seventies.

Sam Elliott’s birthday dates

2024August 9Friday
2025August 9Saturday
2026August 9Sunday
2027August 9Monday
2028August 9Wednesday

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