Happy Birthday Sam Elliott: Celebrating the Cowboy Icon’s Legendary Career on His 77th

by Jon D. B.
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Whether it’s The Legend, Tombstone, The Big Lebowski, A Star Is Born, or his recent Yellowstone casting, Sam Elliott is the definition of an icon.

And to this Outsider icon we say: Happy 77th Birthday, Sam Elliott! Celebrate his legendary career with us as we mark the man, myth, and mustache this August 9.

Born Samuel Pack Elliott on August 9, 1944, Sam Elliott is a Sacramento, California native. His parents are originally from El Paso, Texas. The Western icon has much history in the state, with ancestors serving in many of the most important battles in U.S. history within Texan borders.

After the tragic death of his father, Elliott would become the iconic actor we know today.

1978: Sam Elliott Meets His ‘Legacy’ – And His Wife

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(Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

The Legacy (1978) sees an American couple shack up in a British mansion – that also happens to be violently haunted. The horror classic was one of Elliott’s first headlining film roles and helped catapult him to fame. More importantly, however, it’s where he and his wife, Katharine Ross, met and fell in love.

Interestingly, Ross had starred in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), a film in which Sam Elliott had one of his first roles. But the two did not share scenes or meet during production.

1993: The Battle for Tombstone, Arizona

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(Photo by Ltd/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

There’s little we can write about Tombstone that Outsiders don’t already know and love. Sam Elliott had already become a Western icon prior to this 1993 smash hit, but it always bares mentioning as it is one of the finest of its genre ever made. Elliott lends his unmatched gravitas to one of the best ensemble casts of all time, and Tombstone remains a classic to this day.

1998: ‘The Dude Abides’

(Photo by Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Sure, we only see Elliott’s face for a small sliver of The Big Lebowski. But never forget: it is his voice that narrates the film. And more importantly – it is Sam Elliott himself who delivers the film’s most iconic line: “The Dude abides.”

Lebowski may be Jeff Bridges’ film on the surface, but it cemented Sam Elliott as a household name.

2005: Sam Elliott, The Marlboro Man

Sam Elliott and JK Simmons (Photo by E. Charbonneau/WireImage for Fox Searchlight Pictures)

If you haven’t seen Jason Reitman’s breakout film, Thank You For Smoking, allow this Outsider and Sam Elliott fan to recommend it immediately. It’s full of absolutely brilliant performances across the board, and sees Sam Elliott step into the shoes of the cancer-ridden, original Marlboro Man.

2018: A Star Is Re-Born

(Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images)

If anyone deserves the recognition that Bradley Cooper’s 2018 reimagining of A Star Is Born brought, it’s his co-star, Sam Elliott. His role as Bobby Maine, older brother to Cooper’s central Jackson Maine, showcases some of the best acting of his career. As such, it would earn him his first Oscar nomination – finally – after decades in the business.

Of the nomination, Elliott would joke to Deadline that “It’s about f*cking time!”

Now, Sam Elliott is also set to star in the first Yellowstone spinoff, 1883 – and we cannot wait to see what he brings. Happy Birthday, legend!

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