Part of what makes “1883” star Sam Elliott such an iconic actor is not only his gravelly voice but also his bushy mustache.
Elliott himself admitted he’s done work before without the familiar facial hair. But most people recognize him from films or TV shows where he sports the thick stache. From “The Ranch” to “A Star is Born” to “The Hero” to “The Big Lebowski,” all these projects have featured it.
Including “1883,” which Elliott now stars in as Shea Brennan. The series wraps up its first season soon, so Elliott sat down with the TODAY Show to talk about his experience so far. At one point, the hosts wanted to know why he’s kept the mustache after all these years. Or if he understood everyone’s obsession with it.
“Yeah, it’s a weird thing, isn’t it? It’s just hair on somebody’s lip,” Elliott said. “I’m comfortable with it or without it, I’ve worked without it a number of times over the years. I mean, I work with it now.”
In addition to “1883,” Elliott’s also starred in a few episodes of a classic adult animated series this year.
“I’m doing a thing on a show called ‘Family Guy,’ and a mustache is a big part of it,” Elliott explained. “The guy runs a ranch on which he raises mustaches.”
Yep, you read that right. Elliott’s character Wild West runs a ranch on the edge of town, and part of his gig is that he raises mustaches. It’s also hilarious that the animated character looks almost exactly like the “1883” star. He sports the same bushy white mustache, long white hair, and general face shape.
‘1883’ Star Sam Elliott Admits What Draws Him Back to Westerns
During his interview with the TODAY Show hosts, “1883” star Sam Elliott opened up a bit about why he keeps coming back to play in Westerns. He’s starred in several over the years, sporting that cowboy hat like he was born to do it.
“I think on some level it’s the simplicity of that form,” Elliott explained. “You know, things are pretty black and white in westerns. At least they always have been to me. There’s not a lot of grey area.”
The only Western film in recent years that’s been “all grey as far as I’m concerned,” is “The Power of the Dog,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch. The Oscar-nominated film was released this past December to critic and audience praise alike. But there’s no question that the main character is morally grey.
“It’s a classic struggle,” Elliott continued. “The ways I’ve always looked at Westerns, it’s man against man, it’s man against himself, and man against nature. And I just think that those three struggles have spoken to me since I was a little kid and fascinated me. And I think they make for great entertainment. Particularly in Taylor Sheridan’s hands.”