Sam Elliott’s deep, resonant voice has helped to distinguish him in Hollywood over the course of his 40-year career.
But, remarkably, he was once told to alter it.
In fact, Elliott, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role in “A Star Is Born” this past year, recently told CNN that an actor rep told him early in his career that he wouldn’t see success without changing his voice.
“When I was looking for an agent, I went and met with this guy,” Elliott said. “They had a portfolio full of photographs and he was thumbing through these photographs and he closed the book and slid the book back over to me and said, ‘If I was you, I’d go back to Portland, Oregon. and if you’re going to stay in this town, you should take some voice and diction lessons and learn how to talk and get rid of that dialect.’”
Elliott obviously didn’t take that advice.
He made his film debut in 1967’s “The Way West” and went on to other Westerns such as “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” His breakout role came in 1985’s “Mask,” alongside Cher. He’s starred in more than 30 films, appeared in over 40 television shows and has lent his now iconic voice to countless projects.
“I think I grew up thinking about my voice as kind of funny because it had this Southwest dialect to it. I sounded very much like my mom in terms of the dialect,” Elliott said. “I knew that through this years, particularly as I grew older, that I developed this different sound. So I guess I knew at some point before I got into the business that my voice was going to be part of it.”
Following the success of “A Star Is Born,” in which Elliott plays Bobby Maine, the brother of Bradley Cooper’s character, he’s not slowing down. Currently, he can be seen in the action/drama movie, “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot.”
“The fact that I’m still at it after 50 years is a wonderful thing,” he said.
As for what’s on the horizon?
“I’d love to do a musical one day, if it’s in the cards. I just like doing good work and working with good people.”