Sam Elliott: The Mustache And The Man

By | January 7, 2019

test article image
Left: Sam Elliott attends the 'Tennis and Crumpet Tournament Hosted by Hugh Hefner' on May 21, 1977 at the Playboy Mansion. Right: Elliott in 'Lifeguard' (1976). Sources: Photo by Ron Galella/Wire; IMDB

Sam Elliott is famous for playing cowboys and other rugged types. He's famous for his low, gravelly voice. But let's face it -- Sam Elliott is most famous for his mustache. Sam Elliott's mustache might be more famous than Sam Elliott. An effortless and unhurried performer who never really seems like he's acting, Elliott is the sort of instantly recognizable supporting actor who makes any scene crackle. With those sensitive eyes, lanky frame and soothing vocal inflection alone, he'd be a memorable and charismatic actor. Sam Elliot's mustache makes him a living legend.

Sam Elliott Feels Naked Without His Stache

test article image
Sam Elliott. Source: (

Sam Elliott told AARP magazine that he feels "naked" without a mustache.

Elliott’s signature mustache is his most recognizable feature. Throughout his acting career, he has not often been seen without it. When he shaved it off for a role in the TV series Justified, he says, "It was fun transforming my look, but I did feel naked without the mustache." 

Up until the early ‘70s, we didn’t see many men with facial hair on television, unless the actor was portraying a cowboy. But facial hair of all shapes and sizes was fashionable in the late '60s and the entirety of the '70s. Sam Elliott was a pioneer in changing the way people felt about facial hair on TV.  

“I was one of the early guys from my generation to have hair on his face. Me and Tom Selleck, and I was first.”

What sets Elliott and Selleck -- and let's not forget Burt Reynolds -- apart is their dedication to the mustache. Lots of people experimented with facial hair in the '70s. Few of them had the guts to keep the 'stache through the '80s, '90s, and into the 21st century.