Katharine Juliet Ross rose to prominence through her memorable performance in the critically acclaimed film “The Graduate,” alongside Dustin Hoffman. Her portrayal earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress and a Golden Globe nomination for New Star of the Year.
“The Graduate” became a phenomenal success, grossing an impressive $104.9 million in the United States and Canada, making it the highest-grossing film of 1967. The film’s enigmatic ending, featuring Benjamin (played by Hoffman) rescuing Elaine (played by Ross) from her wedding, left audiences captivated. The scene of them sitting together on a city bus, displaying unexpected expressions, sparked intrigue and speculation.
Reflecting on her breakthrough role, Ross shared her perspective: “You are always told you just keep going in a scene until the director says ‘cut.’ Well, Mike didn’t say it for the longest time. We ran out of dialogue, but the camera kept running. What do I think? I think Elaine got off at the next stop.” This role propelled Ross to stardom and allowed her to establish herself as an actress.
Recalling her initial impression of Dustin Hoffman, Ross described him as a New York stage actor who appeared pale, as though he had emerged from under a rock. She also revealed that Gene Hackman, Hoffman’s former roommate, was initially cast as her father in the film but withdrew for undisclosed reasons.
Ross embarked on her acting career in 1962, making her professional debut on television in “Sam Benedict.” Her film debut followed shortly after in “Shenandoah,” where she acted alongside James Stewart. Throughout the 1960s, she appeared in various movies, such as “Hellfighters,” “Fools,” “The Final Countdown,” and “A Climate for Killing.” However, navigating the industry as an actor during that era presented its challenges.
One memorable experience Ross shared was during a screen test for the film “The Young Lovers,” directed by Samuel Goldwyn Jr. Peter Fonda, initially set to star, couldn’t participate in the screen test, so Chad Everett filled in. Despite knowing the role had already been cast, Everett poured his heart into the audition, unbeknownst to him. Ross couldn’t bring herself to break the news. Additionally, she recounted undergoing a series of hairstyling sessions to meet the director’s expectations, only to have all her hair cut off. Ultimately, someone else was cast for the role. Despite the disappointment, Ross acknowledged that this period marked a turning point in the industry, as the traditional studio system waned, giving rise to new approaches and the burgeoning independent film movement.
In 1969, Ross landed another significant role in the legendary film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” She became known for her participation in one of the most iconic scenes, where she balanced on the handlebars of a bicycle pedaled by actor Paul Newman.
For over four decades, Ross has been happily married to actor Sam Elliott. Prior to Elliott, she had been married four times, and finding true love finally came with him. Their love story began on the set of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” although at the time, Elliott was an extra and lacked the courage to approach her. Their connection blossomed, leading to one of Hollywood’s most beautiful romances.
A decade later, they found themselves collaborating once again, this time in the Gothic horror film “The Legacy.” During this period, they joyfully welcomed their daughter Cleo Rose Elliott and continued their on-screen partnership in various movies, including “Travis McGee,” “Houston: The Legend of Texas,” and “Conagher.” Their cinematic journey together culminated in the 2017 film “The Hero,” where Elliott portrayed an aging Western film star and Ross portrayed his ex-wife.
Expressing their love for working together, Elliott shared with the Los Angeles Times in 2016, “I think we just like making movies, and having that creative experience together is the best. It’s just fun. Going home with someone you’re working with brings a different kind of energy compared to going home to someone who isn’t involved in the industry. It’s an entirely positive experience.”
When asked about the secret to their enduring and blissful marriage, Elliott once revealed, “We have a common sensibility, but we also put effort into being together. We work through challenges instead of walking away from them. That’s how relationships endure.”
Feel free to share this article with your loved ones on Facebook.