Sam Elliott: Why the Actor Felt He Had ‘Unresolved Issues’ With His Father When He Passed

by Samantha Whidden

They say that everyone has a different way of dealing with loss in their families, Sam Elliott previously revealed he felt that he had “unresolved issues” with his father when he passed away. The actor, who is known for his roles in various western films, stated in the past he was 18-years-old when his father died of a heart attack at the age of 54.

Sam Elliott reveals in the interview that when he was 9-years-old, he told his father that he wanted to be an actor. “He died thinking, ‘Man, this kid is going to go down the wrong path,’” Elliott says. “And I think on some levels that was either hard on me or made me more focused in my resolve to have a career.”

Sam also shares in the interview that he ultimately believes that every actor is a great pretender. “We’re the great pretenders. Some not so great probably, but that’s what we do,” Elliott explains. “We pretend for a living.”

Sam’s Rise to Fame in Hollywood

Sam Elliott began his career in the 1967 film, The Way West. He then took on minor appearances in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. His breakthrough film is Lifeguard and received his second Golden Globe and first Emmy Award nominations for Buffalo Girls. He played John Buford in Gettysburg and Virgil Earp in Tombstone. 

Sam Elliott’s recent work includes A Star is Born in 2018. Through that film, he was nominated for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, a Critics’ Choice Award, a SAG Award. He won a National Board of Review Award. Sam also was in Disney’s 2019 remake of Lady and the Tramp as the loyal old bloodhound, Trusty. 

While speaking about the decline of cowboy films in Hollywood, Sam Elliott states, “Hollywood’s forgotten about the western genre and that’s unfortunate. Cowboy movies are really hard work, but I’d love to do another one. I have a great simpatico for the Old West. We need to stay true to those old values.”

Sam also says that he felt “pigeonholed” in the western role. “I used to bristle at that on some level like I was sold short as a one-note actor,” Elliott recalls. “But then I got out of that.” He was then cast in The Contender and a few other projects outside the western genre. 

What’s Next for Sam Elliott’s Acting Career?

Sam Elliott’s latest project is The Gettysburg Address. According to IMDB, the film follows the complete story of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. There is currently no information about its release, but the biography/documentary film is in post-production. President Lincoln delivered the address during the American Civil War. It began with the famous phrase, “Four score and seven years ago.”