Sam Elliott, Hollywood's favorite cowboy, has become a legend during his many years working in entertainment. Other than Tom Selleck, he's easily the most beloved man in the world sporting a mustache. His resume is full of recognizable supporting roles, roles where Elliott plays the hero, and many where he offers some much-needed comic relief. His dry wit and deep voice have managed to make him one of a kind.
Though born in Sacramento, Elliott was actually not raised in the south as you might assume. He grew up in California and Oregon, raised by Texan parents. In honor of one of our favorite cowboys, here's a trip down memory lane from some of Elliott's very first acting gigs to his current role starring on Yellowstone prequel 1883.
Can you even believe that is Sam Elliott? Just a few years after Elliott appeared on Lancer and the TV series Mission: Impossible, this unrecognizable Sam Elliott starred in this horror film about killer swamp creatures.
1974 - Hawaii Five-0
Elliott appeared in a few TV shows throughout the '70s including Gunsmoke and this memorable episode of Hawaii Five-0 where the young actor still hasn't decided that he would really stand out if he grew a mustache.
1976 - Lifeguard
There we go! Elliott's film breakthrough came with the drama Lifeguard. He plays Rick, a lifeguard in his 30s who tries to rekindle a romance with an old flame.
1978 - The Legacy
Technically, this is the second time Elliott was in the same movie as his future wife Katharine Ross. While she was playing the onscreen love interest of Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, he appeared as a card player, but they didn't share the screen. The couple didn't actually meet again or start dating until they starred in The Legacy, a horror film about an American couple who travels to Europe and discovers an old curse in a British mansion.
1985 - Mask
When you think about 'young Sam Elliott', this is probably the movie you think of. Elliott landed a supporting role opposite Cher and Eric Stoltz in this movie about a boy with a rare genetic disorder. Elliott plays Gar, a member of the Turks motorcycle gang who is close with the boy and his family.
1989 - Road House
Who could forget the classic Patrick Swayze film Road House? Has a movie character ever been cooler than Elliott's Wade Garrett? Wade is James Dalton's (Swayze) old mentor who comes down to Missouri to help him whip the Double Deuce club into shape.
1989 - Prancer
Sam Elliott in a Christmas movie? Yes, please. Elliott plays a widower father, John, who's fallen on hard times. His daughter Jessica finds a reindeer who she believes is Prancer, one of Santa's real reindeer. I know this is technically two 1989 movies but they are both so iconic!
1993 - Tombstone
Easily one of the most popular westerns ever, Tombstone tells the story of the legendary shoot-out at the O.K. Corral. With a cast that includes Kurt Russell, Sam Elliott, Val Kilmer, and Bill Paxton, it's definitely going to be a hit. Elliott played the role of Virgil Earp, the brother of Wyatt Earp.
1993 - Gettysburg
One of the most epic war films ever made, (and one of the longest, coming in over 4 hours) included Elliott in a supporting role as Brig. Gen. John Buford, a Union general.
1998 - The Big Lebowski
Elliott appears in this cult classic as The Stranger alongside Jeff Bridges and John Goodman.
2003 - Hulk
?There were a couple of Hulk movies that came out within a few years of each other, but this was the first. Elliott played a general (and father of the Hulk's love interest). Directed by the Oscar-winning director Ang Lee, Eric Bana and Jennifer Connelly co-starred.
2006 - Thank You For Smoking
Elliott did his thing in this dark comedy as Lorne Lutch, a former Marlboro Man advertisement cowboy suffering from lung cancer. Plus, how cute was the actor and his longtime love at the premiere?
2007 - The Golden Compass
2007 was a big movie year for Elliott. Not only was he in Ghost Rider with Nicolas Cage, but he played Texan aeronaut Lee Scoresby in The Golden Compass, based on the first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy. Though most of the film wasn't well-received, everyone loved Elliott's take on the popular character.
2016 - The Ranch
For four seasons, Elliott starred on this hilarious Netflix TV show as Beau Bennett, a Colorado ranch owner who works the land with his two sons (Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson). It was a mini-reunion for some of the cast members of That 70s Show with Debra Winger co-starring as their mother Maggie.
2018 - A Star is Born
Elliott landed his very first Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor for the role of Bobby Maine. He played the older brother of Jack (Bradley Cooper), the alcoholic artist who romances rising star Ally (Lady Gaga).
2022 - 1883
The handsome cowboy is currently starring in the Yellowstone prequel 1883 as Shea Brennan, a Civil War veteran who is tasked with leading a wagon train of immigrants West.
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