When Katharine Ross rode off with Dustin Hoffman in the final scene of The Graduate, the duo likely didn’t know they were making film history. Both Ross and Hoffman enjoyed immediate success after the film’s release, with Ross earning a Best Supporting Actress nod as well as a Golden Globe win for New Star of the Year.
Since that fateful film in 1967, Ross, now 82, rattled off a multi-decade career. She starred in films like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here, The Stepford Wives, and Village of the Damned. She also starred in the Dynasty spinoff The Colbys in the ’80s. During that era, Ross met and married another entertainment veteran with staying power, Sam Elliott, in 1984.
Work in the 1990s slowed for Ross, but she did turn in some credits after the turn of the century like 2001’s Donnie Darko, 2002’s Don’t Let Go, The Hero in 2017, and Attachments in 2019.
How Ross and Elliott met
Elliott fondly recalled meeting his future wife on the set of Butch Cassidy, but says he was too scared to talk to her at first.
“My wife, Katharine Ross, and I both worked on Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, but I didn’t dare try to talk to her then,” Elliot said in 2015. “She was the leading lady. I was a shadow on the wall, a glorified extra in a bar scene. It wasn’t until we made The Legacy [in 1978] that we actually interacted.”
The pair also worked together in a theater performance of Love Letters in 2015 and in the film The Hero in 2017.
“We’ve always enjoyed working together,” Ross said at the premiere of The Hero. “We met working, and we’ve done maybe five things together. And then this was the first time in quite a while that we’ve worked together. It’s fun.”
“It’s easier than real life,” she added, with a smile.
Katharine Ross made waves in the 60s when Hollywood was about to change its formula
Off screen, Ross wrote a few children’s books, started a family, and became an industry icon for her part in Hollywood’s indie film movement. She and husband Sam share one daughter together, Cleo Rose Elliott. who was born in 1984.
In a 2015 interview with Variety, Ross discussed Hollywood life in the ’60s. Ross told a variety of stories, like the time she had to cut her hair off for an audition, but still didn’t receive the part. But she also explained what she did like about that time of her life.
“I’ll tell you what was great about it,” she said of the 1960s in Hollywood. “It was a time when the old studio system was in its dying throes. They were just starting to try new approaches, and the little $1 million budget films were being seen as the way to go. And that did turn out to be the progenitor of a great new era that eventually became the indie film movement.”