Sam Elliott Revealed Why He Quit Voice Work for Iconic Beef Commercials: ‘Started to Bristle’

by Madison Miller

“Beef … it’s what’s for dinner.”

The phrase alone makes you hear a deep, rough, and incredibly smooth voice. Sam Elliott’s beef commercial is famous to the point people recognize it, whether they know it’s Elliott on the other end or not.

Sam Elliott on Beef Ads

Elliott is more than just a pro at commercials and having an amazing voice. He’s known for his roles in “A Star Is Born,” “The Hero,” “The Ranch,” and “The Big Lebowski.” However, he pursued work in the commercial industry because its something he wanted to do, not because he had to.

“I did beef ads for about eight years because I love the people in that industry, and there are a lot of people who make their living in the beef world. Ranchers, primarily. Those ads pushed the numbers in the marketplace for beef up considerably,” Sam Elliott said to The Guardian in 2017.

Sam Elliott lives on a gorgeous ranch in Oregon. Outside of acting and entertainment, Elliott loves the ranching world the same way many of his characters do. Elliott expressed a passion for the beefing industry but got beefed when it became more than just a job.

“When it got to the point where they kept asking for different takes, different cuts, different deals you can get involved with … I started to bristle at it, just talking to these guys. I think I talked myself out of a job, ultimately. Because it became something that I didn’t want to deal with every time out,” Elliott said.

Elliott gets involved in projects when he’s passionate about them. His work on commercials also gives him a cushion to turn down acting roles. However, at this point, Elliott doesn’t work as much for money or job security anymore.

“My security comes from the fact that I’ve never done a job for money … It’s not about working for money. It’s just something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid,” Sam Elliott said.

Elliott Other Commercial Work

Besides playing stoic and often heroic characters, Elliott can inflict a lot of emotion and extravagance in just his voice. A career in voice acting seemed inevitable in some ways.

Elliott has told everyone what you can cook with beef — from beef stroganoff to beef fajitas. His work with the American Beef Council is perhaps the most recognizable.

In addition to that, Elliott has done voice-over narration for Dodge, IBM, Kinney Drugs, Union Pacific. He has lent his voice to the popular Colorado beer brand, Coors. Elliott is a longtime partner with Ram Trucks. He’s been partnered with them since 2010.

According to USA Today, Sam Elliott was the voice of a $4 million political ad for Joe Biden that aired during baseball season.

One of his latest projects pushed him away from the commercial world. He was a recurring character on the longtime animated series “Family Guy.” He played the new mayor of Quahog, Wild Wild West.