Sam Elliott’s Best Quotes of All Time: Thoughts on Hard Work and Embracing His Inner Cowboy

by Matthew Wilson
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Sam Elliott is a modern-day cowboy. It doesn’t get more Texan than Elliott’s cool-sounding baritones, cowboy hat, and iconic stache. Even though Elliott was born in California, now that’s acting. But the actor is as much of an outdoorsman and man’s man in real life as he is on the silver screen.

Over his decades-long career, Elliott has worked hard and made a name for himself starring in various western TV shows and movies. John Wayne would be proud. But he’s also shared a lot of wisdom as well.

With these inspirational Elliott quotes, you too can embrace your inner cowboy.

Top Ten Sam Elliott Quotes

Ranking Sam Elliott‘s best quotes would be a fool’s errand. So in no particular order, here are some of his most inspiring words of wisdom.

  • “I think anytime you can affect people in general, in a positive way, then you’re a lucky individual.”
  • “Sometimes, you get the bear. Sometimes, the bear gets you.”
  • “I’ve spent my entire career on horseback or on a motorcycle. It boxes you in, the way people perceive you.”
  • “I don’t want to be known as a sex symbol. There’s a great stigma that goes with that tag. I want to be a Sam Elliott.”
  • “I’m not a quick study, so I’m always struggling for my words right up until.”
  • “I understand lost love, and I think that can destroy a man more than anything if it was a deep love that is lost somehow.”
  • “My security comes from the fact that I’ve never done a job for money.”
  • “I was single-minded on what I wanted to do since I was like nine or ten.”
  • “The guy is a lawyer by trade who operates outside the law. It’s an easy thing to identify with for me.”
  • “I’m not a hunter, but I’ve been around guns all my life. I’m a great shot.”

But even mustaches take time to grow. Before Elliott was one of the coolest actors to ever grace cinema, he was a young upstart growing up in Oregon.

Elliott Wanted to be an Actor

Spending his formative years in Oregon, Elliott wanted to be an actor from an early age. His father, who worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, didn’t agree with his son’s choice. Sadly, the two were unable to reconcile their differences before Elliott’s father passed away. Elliot was only 18 at the time.

But in 1969, Elliott realized he was destined for big-screen greatness. He got a bit role in the western “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Through the 1970s, he increased his prominence appearing in TV shows like “Gunsmoke” and iconic films like “Road House” and “The Big Lebowski.”

It wasn’t long before a star was born. And we’re not talking about his role in the 2018 drama. As for his iconic voice and mustache, Elliot has his own thoughts.

“My voice gets recognized before anything else,” Elliott said. “It’s always gotten attention. In choruses at church and school, I started as a tenor, moved to a baritone, and finally became a bass. I knew then that my voice would be my instrument. Now if I want to hide, I just keep my mouth shut.”

He considers himself and actor Tom Selleck to be in a league of their own when it comes to facial hair.

“I was one of the early guys from my generation to have hair on his face,” Elliott said. “Me and Tom Selleck, and I was first.”

Sam Elliott on Hard Work

Elliot said, “I was never afraid of hard work.”

And that’s been true for most of his career. Even before he started acting, Elliott believed in a hard day’s worth of labor. For instance, he worked often in the construction business. “I was in the cement end of the construction business, as a laborer. I was pouring concrete, and stripping forms off of set concrete, and pulling nails, and stacking plywood, and doing that kind of thing, I was in peak condition in those days.”

When it finally came to acting, Elliott played roles in projects that barely saw the light of day. “I’ve done films over the years that basically no one saw. And I’m thankful that some of them haven’t been seen.”

And while he feels a certain affinity for his mustache, Elliott is willing to do whatever is required of him for a role. “I’ll do anything. I’ll shave my head for the right job. I’m partial to my facial hair, I guess, but I also enjoy doing something where I look totally different, which is kind of the reason why I’ve always worn long hair. I can really change my look radically by getting rid of it.”

Elliott on Embracing His Inner Cowboy

Before anyone calls Sam Elliott a poser, Elliott considers himself Texas. He may have been born in California. But his heart belongs to the Longhorns state.

“My western heritage runs deep,” Elliot said. He also elaborated, “I’m a sixth-generation Texan, even though I was born in California.”

Elliott’s Texan roots stretch all the way back to his great-great-grandfather who fought alongside Sam Houston in the Battle of San Jacinto. That western blood has come in handy when it comes to his Hollywood roles. He’s played a variety of cowboys across his career appearing in films like “The Quick and the Dead” and “Tombstone.”

“It seemed like whenever a Western was going to get made, it came my way,” Elliott said. But he doesn’t seem to have a problem with being typecast. “Looking back on the long haul in my career, little films, big films, TV, the Western thing has been really good to me”

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