Samuel Pack Elliott (born August 9, 1944) is an American actor. In films, he is often characterized by his rangy physique, thick horseshoe moustache and gruff speaking voice.
Elliott was born in Sacramento, California to a physical training instructor mother and a father who worked for the Department of the Interior. He moved from California to Oregon with his family during his teenage years, where he graduated from David Douglas High School in Portland. He attended Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, where he completed a two-year program. Elliott is a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the California State University, Los Angeles. He worked in construction while studying acting in Los Angeles. Elliott also lived for a short time in Princeton, West Virginia.
Elliott began his career as a character actor, his appearance and bearing ideally suited for Westerns.
His debut role in film (a bit part as 'Card Player #2') was in 1969's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
During 1970-71, Elliott starred as Doug Robert in the hit TV series Mission: Impossible and later played a wife killer in the miniseries Murder in Texas (1981) and A Death in California (1986). He has made guest appearances on shows such as Felony Squad, Gunsmoke, Lancer and Hawaii Five-O and has been featured in many TV movies; for instance, he played Wild Bill Hickock in Buffalo Girls (1995). In 1998, Elliot was named the grand marshall of the Calgary Stampede parade and rode in the procession before 300,000 spectators.
The young Elliott was often cast for his masculine appeal. In his early movies—The Games, Frogs, Molly and Lawless John—he performed a number of scenes without his shirt. In 1975's Lifeguard, he appeared in much of the movie wearing nothing more than a pair of swim trunks. In 1978's The Legacy, he shed all his clothes for a nude scene. As late as 2003, when he was in his late 50s, Elliott still managed to retain his sex appeal as he stripped to the waist for a scene in Off the Map.
Elliott's voice can be heard as the voice-over narration for commercials from time to time. In the past, he has lent his voice to campaigns for Chevy, IBM, Union Pacific, and, most notably, took over as the voice of the American Beef Council after Robert Mitchum died. In 2007, Toyota hired Elliott to perform voice-overs for the new Toyota Tundra truck commercials, playing on the rich and gravelly delivery of his voice. Since late 2007, Elliot has been heard doing voice-overs for Coors Beer, bringing his deep, rich voice and "western" appeal to the beer brewed in Colorado.
Interestingly, the US Army's Officer Professional Development Recommended Reading List includes only two novels: The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara and Once an Eagle by Anton Myrer. The one common element in both novels is that Elliott has a starring role in the film adaptations of both, playing a US Army general officer. Elliott also co-stars in another movie, We Were Soldiers, which is based on a book from that same reading list We Were Soldiers Once ... And Young, portraying Sgt. Maj. Basil L. Plumley.
Elliott has been married to actress Katharine Ross since 1984. Although Ross starred in the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in which Elliott had a very small role, the two did not meet and begin dating until 1978 when they both starred with Roger Daltrey in The Legacy. He and Ross had a daughter, Cleo Rose, on September 17, 1984.