Sam appeared in a very small role in the classic film, Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid in 1969. This movie stars Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and Katherine Ross. Nearly ten years after this, he actually met Katherine Ross, and they fell in love and got married in 1984.
Sam's next claim to fame and why we're celebrating his birthday here was that he appeared on the popular TV series Mission:Impossible during its 5th season. This was 1970-1971, when he played Dr. Doug Roberts. The producer of the show thought that Sam Elliott was a more interesting presence on the I:M Team than strong-man Willy Armitage, portrayed by Peter Lupus. The fans of the show, however, disagreed. They flooded Paramount with letters of complaint, so after one appearance in the sixth season, Sam Elliott was gone.
Luckily for all of us, his career eventually took off. He starred in a sleeper hit called Lifeguard in 1976. He co-starred with Tom Selleck in The Shadow Riders in 1982. He did a wonderful job in Mask (1985) co-starring with Cher and Eric Stolz. In 1989 he appeared with Patrick Swayze in the cult classic Roadhouse. In 1993 he appeared as Virgil Earp in Tombstone, with Val Kilmer and Kurt Russell.
And you probably hear his voice in commercials all the time for Coors Beer and for Ford RAM Trucks. And you may not have noticed it, but he is also the voice of Smokey the Bear in the newest series of PSAs. Coincidentally (?), August 9 is also the anniversary of the first Smokey the Bear poster!
Happy Birthday, Sam Elliott!
Listen at the end, not at the neighbor but the actual
Smokey. It's Sam Elliott.