Katharine Juliet Ross first became well-known for her part in The Graduate, which she played with Dustin Hoffman. She was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting part and a Golden Globe for New Star of the Year for this part.
The movie was a big hit. It made $104.9 million in the US and Canada, making it the most successful movie of 1967. The ending of The Graduate is still a puzzle, since Hoffman’s character, Benjamin, saves Elaine (Ross), who is about to get married. Then, the two are seen sitting on a city bus with looks on their faces that most people didn’t expect.
“People always tell you to keep going in a scene until the director says ‘cut.’ Mike didn’t say it for a long time, though. We had no more lines to say, but the camera kept going. How do I feel? Ross said of the part that made Elaine famous, “I think she got off at the next stop.”
“This New York stage star was Dustin Hoffman. He was so pale that he looked like he had just emerged from under a rock. He just wanted to get back to a play he was in off-Broadway. We got to know and like each other in the end, but on our first day together, Ross told the Houston Chronicle, he thought, “Oh my God, this guy is dressed in all black and is as white as a sheet.”
“You know that Gene Hackman, who used to live with Dustin, was cast as my father. I’m unsure what the deal was, but he didn’t show up.”
Ross’s first professional part was in the TV show Sam Benedict in 1962, and her first movie role was in Shenandoah, which starred James Stewart.
Sam wanted me to look a certain way, so I went to a hairdresser more than once. By the time they were done, they had cut my hair off. And they chose someone else,” she told Variety at one point. “I’ll tell you what was great about it,” she said. “At the time, the old studio system was on its last legs, and they were just starting to try new things. The small projects with a budget of $1 million were seen as the way to go. And that was the start of a great new time that grew into the independent film scene.
She got another very important part in 1969. She was chosen to be in the now-legendary movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. In one of the most famous scenes ever, she balanced on the handlebars of a bicycle while star Paul Newman rode it.
Ross has been happily married to star Sam Elliott for about 40 years. She had been married four times before she married him. With Elliot, she finally found true love.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was the first time they worked together, but he was just an extra in the movie and didn’t have the guts to talk to her. He fell in love with her, which was the start of one of the most beautiful relationships ever seen in Hollywood.
“My wife Katharine Ross and I worked on Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, but I didn’t dare try to talk to her then. She was the star of the show. Elliott told AARP The Magazine in 2015, “I was a shadow on the wall, a glorified extra in a pub scene.”
“It was a great chance, though, because I was an extra on the show and a contract player with Fox, which gave me access to the set and let me watch them make the movie. He told The Oklahoman, “I spent a lot of time in a dark corner watching Katharine and the others work while they were in L.A.”
They worked together again about ten years later in the Gothic horror movie The Legacy.
They had a daughter, Cleo Rose Elliott, and then went on to star in films together, such as Travis McGee, Houston: The Legend of Texas, and Conagher. In 2017, they were both in “The Hero.” Elliott played an old Western movie star, and Ross played his ex-wife.
Elliott told the Los Angeles Times in 2016: “I think we just like making films and making films together is the best.”
“It’s only for fun. Going home with someone you work with is a whole different kind of energy than going home with someone who doesn’t work. It’s a great time all the way around.”
Elliot once said the key to a long and happy marriage: “We have the same sense of right and wrong, but we also work at being together.” You work through the crap; you don’t just walk away. That’s how people stay together.”