Prior to completing work on The Hulk, Sam Elliott (General Ross) most recently starred opposite Joan Allen in the feature Off the Map, which had its premiere showing at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival followed by a Cannes showing in the Critics Choice Category. His recent films include We Were Soldiers, Top Secret, The Contender, The Hi-Lo Country, The Big Lebowski, Tombstone and Gettysburg.
On television, Elliott was nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his role in Buffalo Girls. Later he was seen in the highly successful CBS telefilm Fail Safe; prior to that, he co-produced and starred in TNT’s You Know My Name, which won the first Golden Boot “Best of the West” Award.
Elliott gained cult status some years ago with his performance in the title role of Lifeguard. Since then, he has gone on to start in such films as Mask, Fatal Beauty, Prancer and Rush.
He made his debut as executive producer on Louis L’Amour’s Conagher for TNT, still one of the top-rated shows. He and L’Amour were good friends and Elliott purchased the property just before the author’s death. Katharine Ross co-starred and they co-wrote the script. Sam has starred in such mini-series as Murder in Texas, Gone to Texas and The Sam Houston Story, as well as the NBC series The Yellow Rose and later in Joseph Wambaugh’s Fugitive Nights.
Elliott was born in Sacramento, California, to parents whose families extend back several generations in Texas; they lend credibility to Sam’s very strong and silent personality. He was raised in Oregon, where his father was an official for the Fish and Wildlife Service for the Department of the Interior. His earliest memories are of hiking and fishing trips with his father, a background which eminently suited him for the many outdoor action-packed roles in which he has appeared.
He left the University of Oregon in his senior year and moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. After attending the Columbia Pictures Film Workshop, he was sent on his first interview to 20th Century Fox Studios and was immediately signed as a contract player. His first feature credit was “Cardplayer #2” in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. On that set he often glimpsed the female star, Katharine Ross, and some years later, they co-starred in The Legacy, which led to their eventual marriage. They are the parents of a daughter, Cleo Rose, and live in a beautiful, secluded ranch far up the Coast, where they have horses, dogs and assorted wildlife.
At the very beginning of his career, leading director John Ford visited the set and spotted Sam, noting, “That’s my kind of a guy, he’ll go far.” Today, Elliott is considered one of the top exponents of the Western genre.
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General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross