Sam Elliott: How His Wife Katharine Ross Helped Him Land One of His Biggest Roles

by Matthew Wilson
sam-elliott-how-his-wife-katharine-ross-helped-him-land-one-of-his-biggest-roles

Sam Elliott has had a lot of iconic roles throughout his career. But for one movie role, he needed a little convincing from his wife Katharine Ross.

We can’t blame Elliott for wanting to enjoy his honeymoon. The actor had just tied the knot with Ross after years of dating. And the two were enjoying the blue skies and tranquil waters of Hawaii. Elliott was in no hurry to leave his relaxing beach paradise for the hustle and bustle of Hollywood. But his agent had the perfect movie role for Elliott that would widen his star appeal even further.

Elliott initially turned down leaving his honeymoon early to audition for the role. But Ross realized the role could be beneficial to Elliott’s career. She convinced the actor to return home in time for the audition, and Elliott landed a role in the 1985 biography “Mask.”

The film told the real-life story of Roy L. Dennis, who was born with the extremely rare Craniodiaphyseal dysplasia disorder. The disorder caused a facial deformity and eventually his death at age 16. The film follows his life and his relationship with his biker mother, played by Cher. During the film, Elliott captivated audiences as the kindly biker Gar, who acted as a father figure to Roy. The role ended up being an extremely successful one for Elliott.

“ I loved Cher. I mean, what the f—? Cher’s Cher, you know? I mean, what’s there not to love about her,” Elliott said of his time in the film. “She’s one of the most outrageous people I’ve ever spent time with, and she’s wonderful to work with. It just was a glorious f—ing period of time.”

Sam Elliott Met Katharine Ross While Filming

Both Elliott and Ross met while working on the film “The Legacy” in 1978. That film cast both Elliott and Ross as a couple battling evil and horrors at an English estate. That chemistry on-screen followed the two when the camera wasn’t rolling. Both of them quickly became friends, and that friendship soon blossomed into a growing romance.

It was Elliott’s first marriage and Ross’s fifth. Previously, she had been married to Joel Fabiani, John Marion, Conrad Hall, and Gaetano Lisi. The couple married in 1984, and they’ve been together ever since. Through the good times and the bad, they’ve endured and grew stronger together.

“We have a common sensibility, but we also work at being together,” Elliott said. “You work past the s–t; you don’t walk away from it. That’s how relationships last.”

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