A Star Is Born actor Sam Elliott and The Graduate actress Katharine Ross have much more in common than being Oscar-nominated Hollywood legends. The two have been married for 34 years.
Elliott is 74 and is known for his roles on The Ranch, A Star Is Born, Tombstone, The Big Lebowski, and Justified. Ross is 79 and is known for her roles in The Graduate, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Stepford Wives.
Ross and Elliott met in 1978 while filming the horror movie The Legacy in London, in which they played a couple who are among a group of guests terrorized at a creepy English estate. Actually, Elliott had a small role in Butch Cassidy nearly a decade earlier, but he and Ross never met on set. “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 in 2015.
Ross and Elliott married in 1984 and are parents to daughter Cleo, 34. They have worked together on several films since then, most recently 2017’s The Hero. Ross told The Tribune their frequent collaborations have helped their marriage stay strong.
“Sometimes that’s easier than real life,” she 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, 74, and Ross live together in Malibu, and almost lost their home last fall during California’s wildfire season. Ironically, Elliott voiced Smokey the Bear for a National Parks Service campaign.
“We went through the fire in Malibu, came right over the top of us, and we stayed and poured the water on and watched the house behind us burn to the ground, and we made it through,” Elliott told CBS Sunday Morning.
Although the couple first met on the set of The Legacy, a quick look at their IMDb pages will reveal that they both appeared in Butch Cassidy. While Ross was a major star at the time and played a lead role, Elliott had a small background part in the Western. They were not in the same scene together, either.
“All I could do was just watch Katharine come and go,” Elliott recalled in a NewsOK interview. “We didn’t interact at all. I saw her a lot because I knew who she was, and I was just another guy on the lot at that point and time.”
Elliott nearly passed on his breakout role as Cher’s biker boyfriend in the 1985 film Mask because he and Ross were on their honeymoon in Hawaii. After Elliott told his agent he wouldn’t return early to test for the role, Ross made sure she got her new husband back in time to audition and it seems that was a good decision.
As for Elliott’s theory on why their relationship has lasted so long, he said it was their common sensibility. “We have a common sensibility, but we also work at being together,” he told AARP. “You work past the s—; you don’t walk away from it. That’s how relationships last.”
Elliott was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in A Star Is Born.