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Sam Elliott: 10 Things You Didn't Know About the Hollywood Cowboy

Sam Elliott's iconic deep voice and memorable mustache have made him one of the most beloved actors in Hollywood. He fits in perfectly in a wild west film and is the definition of cool everywhere he goes. He may not be from Texas, but he really does feel like a modern-day cowboy. He recently even portrayed a cowboy in Yellowstone prequel, 1883.

Since he first got to Los Angeles in the late '60s, Elliott has had a steady career, starring in countless films and TV shows. Here are some things you might not know about the one and only Sam Elliott. 

1. He really doesn't get why people love his mustache

He told Vanity Fair that he finds the fascination totally bizarre.

"The whole mustache thing is a mystery to me," he said. "I'm working on this thing now, A Star is Born—somebody showed me on their cell phone one day that there was this contest online between me and [Tom] Selleck about who had the best mustache. [Laughs] It's so bizarre."

2. He has an estimated net worth of $20 million 

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Sam Elliott has an estimated net worth of $20 million.  This makes sense — Elliott is a movie star after all. Throughout his impressive career, Elliott has been nominated for an Academy Award, two Golden Globe Awards and two Emmy Awards. His filmography itself is so lengthy, that it has its own Wikipedia page.

3. He's been married to actress Katharine Ross since 1984

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After meeting on the set of the horror film The Legacy, Elliott started dating Ross, best known for her role in The Graduate and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The couple has one daughter together, Cleo Rose Elliott.

4. He left his honeymoon early to audition for Mask

When Elliott was on his honeymoon, his agent called to say that he had been asked to screen test for Mask. His new wife made him go back early and the role, opposite Cher, ended up being his breakout role. He's had an active career ever since. 

5. His first big film was an appearance in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

He's just seen briefly as a card player and didn't share any scenes with future wife Katharine Ross. But it seems the experience on the set of one of the most classic westerns of all time prepared him to thrive in Old West films. 

6. He's appeared in nearly 40 films and close to 60 TV shows

Some of his most notable films include Ghost Rider, Road House, Tombstone, Gettysburg, Up In The Air, The Golden Compass, We Were Soldiers, Hulk, The Quick and the Dead and The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot.

Some TV highlights include Gunsmoke, Lancer, Mission: Impossible, The Ranch on Netflix, Murder in Texas, Justified, Buffalo Girls, Hawaii Five-O, Judd for the Defense and Felony Squad.

7. The Coen Brothers just really like listening to him talk

When narrating his lines for Jeff Bridges (The Dude) in The Big Lebowski, The Coen Brothers had Elliott go 15 times. He finally said, "Guys, you've got to tell me what you want." They told him it was perfect by the sixth take, they were just having so much fun watching him work.

8. His early life was spent in Portland, Oregon

Elliott was born in Sacramento, California, but his family moved to Portland when he was a young teen. After high school, he attended the University of Oregon, though he dropped out and went to Clark College in Vancouver, Washington for two years where he started acting, landing a lead role in Guys and Dolls. He ended up going back to the University of Oregon, but dropped out again and moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. 

9. He has the same birth date as Smokey the Bear

That's right. August 9, 1944, is officially the same day that Sam Elliott and the U.S. Forest Service icon were born. Starting in 2008, he even voiced the historic mascot, something he is incredibly proud of.

10. He's proud of his Southern drawl

Elliott told the Saturday Evening Post that early in his career someone actually told him he should go to a dialect coach to lose his now-iconic accent. 

"A guy named Mike Greenblatt told me that one time. He worked at a big agency, and he said 'You ought to get voice and diction lessons. You need to learn how to talk.' They wanted me to speed up and enunciate. I went through trying to do that for a time, but I'm glad it didn't work out. I've played a lot of guys who have that Western sensibility. It's me being me."

This article was originally published in September of 2020.