For the upcoming film The Incredible Hulk, Sam Elliott was replaced as General Ross by William Hurt. Elliott said he would have liked to have reprised the role, but that "I'll be looking forward to seeing this one."
Sam Elliott has received two Golden Globe Award nominations: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV for Buffalo Girls (1995); and Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV for Conagher (1991).
Early in his career, Sam Elliott was observed on set by legendary Western director John Ford. Ford, upon seeing Elliott, said "That's my kind of a guy, he'll go far."
The character of "The Stranger" in The Big Lebowski was written by the Coen Brothers with Sam Elliott in mind.
Sam Elliott made great effort to stay in character on the set of Gettysburg, so much so that a production assistant was sent out ahead of him in between takes to warn the extras that he only responded to salutes and would address them by their rank.
Sam Elliott was nominated for an Emmy in 1995 for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Special for his work in Buffalo Girls.
Along with the screenwriter and fellow cast members of The Contender, Sam Elliott won the 2001 Alan J. Pakula Award from the Broadcast Film Critics Association. The award is given "for artistic excellence by illuminating issues of great social and political importance."
In 1998, Sam Elliot was named the grand marshal of the Calgary Stampede parade (for the world's largest outdoor rodeo) and rode in the procession before 300,000 spectators.
Sam Elliott and Katherine Ross have one daughter, Cleo Rose.
Sam Elliott made his film debut in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, a film that also starred his future wife, Katherine Ross. The two did not actually meet until they both appeared in The Legacy nine years later.
In Thank You For Smoking, Sam Elliott argued with Jason Reitman for three hours because Elliott did not believe his character would take the bribe that was offered to him. Reitman ultimately persuaded Elliott to follow the script.
Sam Elliott was listed as one of the 12 "Promising New Actors of 1976" in John Willis' Screen World.
Since 1999, Sam Elliott has provided the voice over for the American Beef Council's "Beef - it's what's for dinner" commercials.
Sam Elliott has played supporting roles in two Marvel Comics films: General Ross in Hulk and the Caretaker in Ghost Rider.
Sam Elliott was reluctant to wear a mustache in Hulk, since the Army does not encourage facial hair. Ang Lee persuaded him, however, as Elliott's character General Ross has a mustache in the comics.
In Thank You For Smoking, the script called for Sam Elliott's character to wield a shotgun, but Elliott wanted it to be a rifle. Director Jason Reitman agreed to the change, but forgot about the request until the day of shooting. He frantically searched for a prop gun to use and was relieved when he saw a rifle on the prop table. Reitman asked Elliott if he knew how to use it, and Elliott assured him that he did - it was his rifle.
Sam Elliott has played two characters who have served in the 7th Cavalry: General Ross in Hulk and Sgt. Major Plumley in We Were Soldiers.
Sam Elliott: I was single-minded on what I wanted to do since I was like nine or ten. I just went to see too many movies and I sat in too many dark matinees watching those old serials.
Sam Elliott: I've spent my entire career on horseback or on a motorcycle. It boxes you in, the way people perceive you. I read a lot of scripts. Most of 'em go to other actors.
Sam Elliott: I think I might have been a more interesting actor, had more of a career earlier on, if I had more formal preparation. When I see something ten years later that I was in I think, "Boy, would I love to do that over."
Sam Elliott: I was really happy that Ang Lee won the Best Director award, I got to know him very well on Hulk. But I'm not the Brokeback Mountain crowd, what can I tell ya. I'm more of a purist. But at the same time, it's a new day.