Sam Elliott’s Wife, ‘The Graduate’ Star Katharine Ross, Once Spoke Out About How Poor She Was When Moving to Hollywood

by Matthew Wilson

Sam Elliott’s wife Katharine Ross became one of Hollywood’s leading ladies. But similar to Elliott, she had humble beginnings. When she first moved to Hollywood, Ross was almost dirt poor.

The aspiring actor couldn’t even afford the luxury of owning a telephone. As she recently recounted to Daily Mail, Ross had to struggle to make it in Hollywood.

“When I first came to Hollywood, I couldn’t afford a telephone,” she said. Ross wouldn’t make it without a little hard work. But she eventually ended up one of the entertainment industry’s success stories. Ross landed a leading role in “The Graduate” in 1967. The romantic comedy cast her opposite of a young Dustin Hoffman. The film later became a celebrated classic, thanks in part to its downbeat ending.

Meanwhile, the film capitulated Ross to leading lady status. In fact, just a few short years later, Elliott wouldn’t dare approach her. She starred in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” in a lead role. Meanwhile, Elliott appeared as an extra in the film, just finding his start himself.

“I didn’t dare try to talk to her then. She was the leading lady. I was a shadow on the wall, a glorified extra in a bar scene,” Elliott told AARP The Magazine.

Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross

Sam Elliott ended up in Hollywood chasing his own dreams of glamor. He grew up watching westerns and wanted to be an on-screen cowboy. That dream ended up crossing with Katharine Ross’s, though it took a few years for them to properly meet.

“When I first came down to Los Angeles I wanted to do Westerns,” Sam Elliott said.“I don’t know, I saw too many movies as a kid. That was the fantasy, I wanted to go down there and play cowboys and Indians. I’ve wanted to do it since I was a kid like I said, ten years old. I used to go to the theatre on the weekends and get turned on by the movies or whatever happened and think ‘I’d like to do that someday.’”

The two actors finally found themselves on equal footing, each now Hollywood celebrities, when they starred in the film “The Legacy.” That film was a horror-filled romp, casting Ross and Elliott opposite of each other. The two became fast friends while on the set. And soon that friendship became a little more, a passionate romance that turned into a long-lasting romance.

“Sometimes that’s easier than real life,” Ross told The Tribune. “You’re got a script. You’ve got a part. You’ve got your creative juices flowing together. It’s not about the dirty dishes in the sink or whether you’ve picked something up at the laundry.”

In Hollywood, sometimes dreams do come true.