Overnight, Katharine Juliet Ross went from being an unknown actress to a nominee for an Academy Award. Alongside Dustin Hoffman, she is best known for playing Elaine in The Graduate. Over the years, she developed into what many at the time referred to as a Hollywood bombshell.
Ross has had a long and fruitful career up to this point. She has been married five times, but her personal life hasn’t been quite as steady. Thankfully, her fifth union with adored actor Sam Elliott has been worthwhile waiting for.
Although Katharine Ross hasn’t appeared on television in a while, her life is far more complicated than just acting. She still maintains her true attractiveness today. Here is everything you need to know about Katharine Ross, including her current appearance at age 83.
On January 29, 1940, Katharine Ross was born in Hollywood, California. Unlike many other Hollywood celebrities, the young girl’s parents were not in the acting industry. Dudley, her father, was a U.S. Navy commander and an Associated Press correspondent. As a result, his family frequently relocated.
They started in Virginia, relocated to Palo Alto, California, and finally made their home in Walnut Creek, just outside San Francisco. Katharine was raised there and attended Las Lomas High School, where she received her diploma in 1957.
She continued to Santa Rosa Junior College, which would later play a crucial role in her future. She was initially exposed to acting at the school. Katharine Ross participated in her first theatrical performances, forever altering her life.
She participated in the school’s performance of The King and I and later decided to take acting seriously as a vocation. Katharine, however, decided to leave school after only a year. Instead, she moved into a tiny apartment above a grocery store and applied for The Actors Workshop in San Francisco.
Ross continued to hone her craft for three years, getting more and better at acting. She eventually managed to get a few bit parts in TV shows. She was not only a skilled actor but also a skilled auditioner.
Ross told Life Magazine in 1968, “I was the queen of the screen tests.” Runs every day in time for the Workshop’s curtain time from San Francisco to Los Angeles and returns. I took on the roles of several different hit-and-run drivers, including an innocent, hardened, and well-off, obnoxious teen. I played a compassionate crippled clubfoot on Gunsmoke.
College sweetheart Joel Fabiani, whom Ross married in 1960, was how Ross met her first husband. We’ll return to the fact that he was the first of her five spouses in a moment.
The years that followed her marriage to Fabiani were very important in Ross’ life. She rose to fame as a result of her numerous Western television appearances. She suited the genre nicely because she is a great beauty.
Being cast in numerous television shows may sound like a dream, but Katharine Ross’ life wasn’t all sunshine and flowers. She was abused and taken advantage of, just like many other people in the industry.
Life in the 1960s wasn’t all fun and games for some teenage TV stars.
“I recall taking a screen test for The Young Lovers, the solo movie Samuel Goldwyn Jr. ever directed. Peter Fonda was supposed to star in it, but Chad Everett was substituted since he couldn’t join me for the screen test. He was giving the screen test his all while unaware that the part had already been cast. I couldn’t bring myself to tell him the truth. I had a series of appointments with a hairstylist to get Sam’s desired look. They had removed my hair entirely by the time they were done. And ultimately, someone else was cast, Katharine told Variety.
She added, “I’ll tell you what was unique about it. The little $1 million budget films were viewed as the way forward when the old studio system was on its deathbed, and they were only beginning to test new techniques. And that did end up being the beginning of a great new age that eventually gave rise to the independent film movement.
In 1962, Katharine made her television debut in an episode of Sam Benedict. In 1965, she had the lead part in the Civil War-themed movie Shenandoah with James Stewart. The following year, Ross inked a contract with Universal, and when she started filming her first leading part in the movie Games, Mike Nichols recognized something special about the young, gifted actress.
He gave her the part of Elaine in The Graduate, which also starred Dustin Hoffman, arguably the most notable of all her cinematic roles.
“There was this New York stage performer named Dustin Hoffman. He was so pale that he appeared to have rolled out from under a rock. He merely wished to return to the off-Broadway production he was performing. I remember thinking, “Oh my God — this guy is dressed all in black, and he is white as a sheet,” on the first day, even though we eventually got to know and enjoy each other, Ross remembered in an interview with the Houston Chronicle.
You know that Dustin’s former roommate Gene Hackman was chosen to play my father. He bowed out, and I’m unsure exactly what the deal was.
Ross’s performance in The Graduate, a classic, catapulted him to fame. She received nominations for the Golden Globe for New Star of the Year and the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
The Graduate’s conclusion is still a mystery. Although Benjamin had saved Elaine from the wedding, no one had anticipated the look on their faces as they rode a city bus.
Most of them thought the heartwarming tale of two people in love who were forcibly separated before being dramatically reunited would have a good ending. However, there was silence between the two.
So what, in Katharine’s opinion, transpired between the two individuals? It turns out that the conclusion was not predetermined.
“It’s usually advised to continue acting in a scene until the director tells you to stop. Mike held his tongue for a very long time. The talk stopped, but the camera remained rolling. How do I feel? She said, “I believe Elaine got off at the next station.
Katharine won yet another important job in 1969. She starred in one of cinema’s most recognizable scenes when she balanced on the handlebars of an actor-pedaled bicycle in the now-legendary Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Ross had appeared in the same movie as her lifelong love by the time they finished production, though she was unaware of it then.
At least when Ross first started her job, her personal life was quite the roller coaster. Katharine has been married five times, and her most recent partnership has been going strong for over 40 years.
As reported, Ross wed Joel Fabiani for the first time in 1960. Following their brief two-year marriage, Ross soon married John Marion in 1964. Three years passed during their marriage. She later married Conrad Hall, the director of photography for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, for the third time in 1969. Following their divorce in 1973, Ross wed Gaetano “Tom” Lisi the following year.
In 1979, when the couple decided to part ways, Katharine Ross also met the love of her life.
Sam Elliott, who played Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, had a crush on Katharine even back on the set. He chose not to approach her because he was only a movie extra. According to the now-famous actor in 2018, all he could do was “just watch Katharine come and go.”
I co-wrote Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with my wife, Katharine Ross, but I didn’t dare approach her then. She played the lead role. I was a glorified extra in a bar scene, a shadow on the wall,” Elliott claimed to AARP The Magazine in 2015.
But it was a terrific chance because I got to watch them make the movie. After all, I was a contract player with Fox and an extra on the show. While they were in Los Angeles, I spent a lot of time in a dim corner observing Katharine and the others at work, he recalled to The Oklahoman.
Before Katharine and Sam would cross paths once more, it would be ten years. The first movie they engaged with one another was the Gothic horror picture The Legacy, in which both were cast. Sam Elliott didn’t want to attend the London premiere since he didn’t believe the movie was very good. He was ultimately persuaded to travel because of his “smitten” feeling for Katharine.
The actress claimed their attraction was sparked by his unusual baritone voice and rugged, attractive looks.
According to her, “probably all that and more,” she told The Mercury News. “While we were working together, something else came up. Finally, here we are.
Just four months after getting married, Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross welcomed their daughter, Cleo Rose Elliott, on September 17, 1984. As a musician, Cleo planned to work in the entertainment industry. And looking back, perhaps it was better that way.
She told The Malibu Times that her parents were fully behind her musical endeavors. They’re just relieved that I don’t want to work in acting.
After The Legacy, Katharine Ross and Sam Elliott continued to work together on screen. The two have shared many on-screen appearances, including Travis McGee, Houston: The Legend of Texas, and Conagher, all of which they starred together. Elliott has referred to the latter as “one of the highlights of my career.”
The Hero, in which Ross played his ex-wife, and Elliott played an aging Western film star, starred the two in 2017. It may not precisely reflect their everyday lives, but for the couple, it’s all about exploring new things together.
“I think we just like making movies, and having that creative experience together is the best,” Elliott told the Los Angeles Times in 2016.
It’s just enjoyable. Going home with someone you’re working with has a different energy than going home with someone you’re not. It has been an entirely positive experience.
Ross and Elliott split their time between residences in Oregon and California. The two went to the Screen Actors Guild Awards together earlier this year. In recent years, Katharine has not appeared as an actor in movies or television shows.
However, she has developed into a prolific writer and has released several children’s books.
The marriage between her and Sam has been challenging, but it has all been worthwhile. And it appears that their long-lasting relationship has one secret.
“I believe that at the end of the day, it all comes down to how much we care for one another. It also requires desiring to get married, which is, in my opinion, more crucial than everything else, Sam said. “Having a successful acting career, getting married, and starting a family were the two things I most desired. And the fact that I possess both is an embarrassment of riches.
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