Sam Elliott: The Mustache And The Man

Entertainment | January 7, 2019

Actor Sam Elliott attends the 'Tennis and Crumpet Tournament Hosted by Hugh Hefner' on May 21, 1977 at Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, California. Source: (Photo by Ron Galella/Wire)

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. Source: (pinterest.com)

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. 

Sam Elliott. Source: (thrillist.com)

Sam Elliott has always been known for his signature mustache.

Many celebrity icons are known for one thing or another. Many are known for some genre of entertainment. Sam Elliott, in fact, is no different. Elliott has been known as a rough and tumble cowboy, biker and cop type. That being said, his signature 'Stache has been his trademark throughout his career.

Elliott’s all-around rugged look seemed to be the beginning of his notable career and the mustache soon followed.

His epic career began with minor roles in films including The Way West and Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid in the late ‘60s.  

Sam Elliott. Source: (pinterest.com)

Sam Elliott guest-starred on the TV Western Gunsmoke in 1972, although clean shaven.

Elliott guest-starred on Gunsmoke as Corey Soames in an episode entitled, “The Wedding” in ’72. At the start of his acting career, Sam Elliott was clean shaven. After he had some experience and a bit more confidence, he reinvented his look and grew his iconic mustache.

Sam Elliott boasts many award nominations for his acting ability.

Sam Elliott in "The Quick And The Dead." Source: (cowboysindians.com)

Sam Elliott has many nominations and awards under his belt but not necessarily because of the mustache.

Elliott’s career landed him many nominations and awards. The awards were just icing on the cake. Sam Elliott had the adoration of fans from the moment he hit the screen. His rough and tumble image has made him a favorite with fans. He easily portrays every role from a cowboy, a sheriff, an outlaw to a ladies’ man. He was one of those actors that men admired and women adored no matter his role.

Elliott's work has been honored numerous times with the "Bronze Wrangler," an award given by the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. The role that has brought him the greatest critical acclaim was Bobby in the 2018 film A Star Is Born, for which he received Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations.

Though it wasn't a major character in the film, Elliott's portrayal of "The Stranger" in The Big Lebowski (1998) may be the one for which he is best known, given the fanatical following that the Coen brothers' neo-noir movie has attracted.

Sam Elliott. Source: (latimes.com)

Many years have passed since he first began his acting career but Sam Elliott remains one of the most recognizable celebrities, even if he doesn't usually play a leading role. If the mustache is the secret to Sam Elliott's success -- does he have a secret regimen for his successful mustache?

"Nope, it’s just there," he told the New York Post. "I keep it clean. That’s my only regimen. I’ve got a lot of hair on my head. I keep it clean and, you know, well-oiled or well-whatever. It’s a real blessing; it allows me to change my look. I’ve had beards, long mustaches, short mustaches, no hair."

Tags: 1970s Hair Styles | Men With Mustaches | Sam Elliott | Then And Now | Westerns | What They Are Known For

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Rebeka Knott


Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.