One Of The Manliest Actors, Sam Elliott, On How His Father’s Disapproval Made His Career

Date March 21, 2018

The legendary actor Sam Elliott is best known for his distinguished voice and marked moustache, but now he is also The Hero. After nearly 100 films and five decades of acting, Elliott (73) starred in a film written specifically for him.


The Hero (2017) depicted Sam as a veteran actor past his prime, who’s looking back at his grand career. The film was written for Elliott for the first time in his life, and, as expected, he was very pleased.

It is nice to have something written for you as an actor.


Brett Haley, the film’s director, said that they were looking for a strong male figure, and, according to Haley, Elliott is a definition of man. Hardly anyone can disagree with that. Sam, on his part, gives sole credit for his masculine status to his late father.

READ ALSO: Mark Harmon And Pam Dawber’s 30 Years Of Happiness


Sam Elliott’s father unknowingly pushed him to become an actor

According to Elliott, his character was largely shaped by his father and his friends. He remembers going fishing with them, and regards to the men he grew up around as “hardcore,” but at the same time as “gentlemen.


His father died when Sam was 18 years old, and came as quite a shock at the time. “My dad died thinking I was a total idiot for wanting to be an actor,” Elliott says. His dad had little faith in Sam’s decision to pursue the career in film, but that didn’t discourage the now famous actor at all.

READ ALSO: 73-Year-Old Sam Elliott Shared What Kept Their Marriage With Katharine Ross (77) Happy


Even after his father’s death, Elliott continued to be motivated to becoming an actor, but he didn’t view it as a away of proving his dad wrong. Above all, Sam wanted to make his father proud, and he most definitely succeeded.

Best advice Sam Elliott ever received

Elliott’s father wasn’t the only influence in his life. Back when Sam’s career was only starting, he was working with an old cowboy actor - Ben Johnson.


The two actors worked together several times, so Johnson, in a way, became Elliott’s mentor. Sam remembers the best advice that he’s ever received from his co-star about acting, which was to never take it too seriously.



Johnson told Elliott that even if you’re not a very good actor, no one can play you better than yourself. Sam still carries these words with him, and says:

I may not be a very good actor, but I don't think anybody can play me better than I can.

READ ALSO: You Will Always Recognize That Moustache: Most Memorable Roles Of Sam Elliott