Sam Elliott and Wife Katherine Ross: How They Became a Classic Hollywood Couple

by Matthew Wilson

Sam Elliott and Katherine Ross are a classic Hollywood love story for the stars. The couple actually met while they were filming together.

But Elliott admitted he felt a little smitten from the first time he saw Ross. The duo had appeared in the classic western “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” back in 1969. Ross starred in the film as the female lead opposite Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Meanwhile, Elliott had been a “glorified extra” on set.

It marked his first film role, and he wasn’t going to mess it up by approaching the Hollywood actress. Ross starred in the 1967 drama “The Graduate” and was among the big leagues in the industry. The thought of any imagined ridicule kept Elliott firmly on the sidelines during the film’s production.

“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 Katherine Ross on ‘The Legacy’

But fate would give him another chance to meet Ross. It turns out that “Butch Cassidy” was only the first of many roles for Elliott. Soon, he became a leading man himself, with “The Lifeguard” casting him as one of America’s sex symbols. In 1978, Elliott and Ross appeared in another movie together, this time as co-stars.

The two actors starred as a couple fighting the forces of darkness in England in the horror flick “The Legacy.”

The two became fast friends offset, and that bond quickly grew into something more. Ross couldn’t deny that she had chemistry and a growing attraction for the actor and his mustache.

“Probably all that and more. We were working together and one thing led to another. And here we are,” Ross told the Mercury News.

Before marrying Elliott, Ross had been married four times to Joel Fabiani, John Marion, Conrad Hall, and Gaetano Lisi. Meanwhile, Elliott had never taken the plunge himself before. But by 1984, the duo tied the knot and became one of Hollywood’s most enduring couples. Playing a couple on screen may have less stress, but being married is more rewarding.

“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.”

Elliott’s Role on ‘Mask’

In 1985, Elliott and Ross had their only child Cleo Ross. The couple has endeared and continue to be happily married over the decades. Ross even helped Elliott out career-wise by encouraging him to accept a part in the film “Mask.”

Elliott turned a scene-stealing role as a biker that helped increase his star power even more. In 2017, the two also starred opposite of each other once more in the film “The Hero.”

As for what makes a long-lasting marriage, Elliott believes it’s working 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.”