Katharine Juliet Ross (born January 29, 1940) is an American film and stage actress. She starred in three of the most popular films of the 1960s and 1970s: as Elaine Robinson in The Graduate (1967), for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress; as Etta Place in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), for which she won a BAFTA Award for Best Actress; and The Stepford Wives (1975). She won a Golden Globe for Voyage of the Damned (1976).
Ross was born in Hollywood, California, on January 29, 1940 (though many sources cite 1942 or 1943) when her father, Dudley Ross, was in the Navy. He had also worked for the Associated Press. Her family later settled in Walnut Creek, California, east of San Francisco, and she graduated from Las Lomas High School in 1957. Ross was a keen horse rider in her youth and was friends with Casey Tibbs, a rodeo rider.
She studied at Santa Rosa Junior College for one year (1957–1958), where she was introduced to acting via a production of The King and I. She dropped out of the course and moved to San Francisco to study acting. She joined The Actors Workshop and was with them for three years (1959–1962) working as an understudy; for one role in Jean Genet's The Balcony she appeared nude on stage, and in 1964 she was cast by John Houseman as Cordelia in a production of King Lear. While at the Workshop, she began acting in television series in Los Angeles to earn extra money. She was brought to Hollywood by Metro, dropped, then picked up by Universal.
She unsuccessfully auditioned for West Side Story (1961), then her first television role was in Sam Benedict in 1962. She was picked up by agent Wally Hiller, and in 1964, Ross appeared in episodes of Arrest and Trial, The Virginian, Gunsmoke, and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour ("Dividing Wall" episode, 1963). She screen tested for The Young Lovers and made her first film, Shenandoah, followed by a starring role opposite James Garner in Mister Buddwing with MGM in 1965. In 1966, she appeared in the episode "To Light a Candle" of Barry Sullivan's NBC Western The Road West.
That year, she starred in the film Games. Then came her breakout roles in two of cinema's most popular films, Elaine Robinson in The Graduate (1967) and Etta Place in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). After appearing as Dustin Hoffman's character's girlfriend Elaine in The Graduate, a part for which she received an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe as New Star of the Year, she said that "I'm not a movie star...that system is dying and I'd like to help it along." She also won a BAFTA for her part as an Indian in Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (1969). She turned down several roles (including Jacqueline Bisset's role in Bullitt) before accepting the part in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and then turned down several more roles, including a part in The Towering Inferno.
She was dropped by Universal in the spring of 1969 for refusing to play a stewardess in Airport, another role that went to Jacqueline Bisset. She preferred stage acting, and returned to the small playhouses in Los Angeles for much of the 1970s. One of her best-known roles came in 1975's The Stepford Wives, for which she won the Saturn Award for Best Actress. She reprised the role of Etta Place in a 1976 ABC TV movie, Wanted: The Sundance Woman, and then won a Golden Globe for best supporting actress for her part in 1977's Voyage of the Damned;
She starred in several television movies from the late 1970s, including Murder by Natural Causes in 1979 with Hal Holbrook, Barry Bostwick and Richard Anderson, Rodeo Girl in 1980, Murder in Texas in 1981, and the 1980s television series The Colbys opposite Charlton Heston as Francesca Scott Colby. She played Donnie's therapist in the 2001 film Donnie Darko. Her last acting role to date was as Carly Schroeder's grandmother in the 2006 independent film Eye of the Dolphin. Ross has established herself as an author, publishing several children's books.
In January 2015 she appeared at the Malibu Playhouse in the first of a series titled "A Conversation With", interviewed by Steven Gaydos. That February, she appeared with her husband Sam Elliott in Love Letters, also at the Malibu Playhouse.
Ross has been married five times. Her first marriage was to actor Joel Fabiani from February 28, 1960, to 1962. She was then married to John Marion from May 2, 1964, to 1967. On June 1, 1969, Ross married the triple Oscar-winning cinematographer Conrad L. Hall after meeting him on the set of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. They separated in 1973. She was married to Gaetano "Tom" Lisi from 1975 to 1979; they met when he was a chauffeur and technician on the set of The Stepford Wives.
Ross is now married to actor Sam Elliott, whom she met when they co-starred in the 1978 film The Legacy (one of his first film roles was as "Card Player #2" in the opening scene of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid). The couple married in 1984 and have a daughter, Cleo Rose Elliott, born in 1984. In March 2011, Ross obtained a restraining order against Cleo after an argument. After both Katharine and Cleo failed to appear at the Los Angeles County Court formal hearing that had been scheduled for the 30th of March, 2011, which would determine the extension of the restraining order, the order was thrown out by the judge.
|1965||Shenandoah||Ann||With Jimmy Stewart.|
|1966||The Singing Nun||Nicole Arlien|
|1967||The Longest Hundred Miles||Laura Huntington|
|1967||The Graduate||Elaine Robinson||Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress |
Laurel Award for Female Supporting Performance
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—BAFTA Film Award for Newcomer to Leading Film Roles
|1968||Hellfighters||Tish Buckman||With John Wayne.|
|1969||Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid||Etta Place||BAFTA Award for Best Actress (also for Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here)|
|1969||Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here||Lola||With Robert Redford. |
BAFTA Award for Best Actress (also for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)
|1972||Get to Know Your Rabbit||Nameless Woman|
|1972||They Only Kill Their Masters||Kate|
|1974||Chance and Violence||Docteur Constance Weber||(Limited release)|
|1975||The Stepford Wives||Joanna Eberhart||Saturn Award for Best Actress|
|1976||Voyage of the Damned||Mira Houser||Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture|
|1978||The Betsy||Sally Hardeman|
|1978||The Legacy||Margaret Walsh||With Sam Elliott.|
|1980||The Final Countdown||Laurel Scott|
|1982||Wrong Is Right||Sally Blake|
|1986||Red Headed Stranger||Laurie||(Limited release)|
|1991||A Climate for Killing||Grace Hines||(Straight to video)|
|1997||Home Before Dark||Rose||(Straight to television)|
|2001||Donnie Darko||Dr. Lilian Thurman||(Limited release)|
|2002||Don't Let Go||Charlene Stevens||(Unreleased)|
|2006||Eye of the Dolphin||Lucy||(Limited release)|
|2013||Wini + George||Wini||(short)|
|1962||Sam Benedict||Teresa Parelli||Episode: "A Split Week in San Quentin"|
|1963||Kraft Suspense Theatre||Janet Bollington||Episode: "Are There Any More Out There Like You?"|
|1963||The Lieutenant||Elizabeth||Episode: "Fall from a White Horse"|
|1963||The Alfred Hitchcock Hour||Carol Brandt||Episode: "The Dividing Wall"|
|1964||Arrest and Trial||Marietta Valera||Episode: "Signals of an Ancient Flame"|
|1964||Ben Casey||Marie Costeau||Episode: "The Evidence of Things Not Seen"|
|1964||The Virginian||Jenny Hendricks||Episode: "The Dark Challenge"|
|Episode: "Crooked Mile" |
Episode: "The Lady"
|1965||Mr. Novak||Mrs. Bellway||Episode: "Faculty Follies: Part 2"|
|1965||Wagon Train||Bonnie Brooke||Episode: "The Bonnie Brooke Story"|
|1965||Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre||Gloria||Episode: "Terror Island"|
|1965||Run for Your Life||Laura Beaumont||Episode: "The Cold, Cold War of Paul Bryan"|
|1965||The Big Valley||Maria||Episode: "Winner Lose All"|
|1965||The Loner||Sue Sullivan||Episode: "Widow on the Evening Stage"|
|1965||The Wild Wild West||Sheila Parnell||Episode: "The Night of the Double-Edged Knife"|
|1966||Preview Tonight||Asenath||Episode: "Great Bible Adventures: Seven Rich Years and Seven Lean"|
|1966||The Road West||Rachel Adams||Episode: "To Light a Candle"|
|1976||Origins of the Mafia||Rosa Mastrangelo||Mini-series|
|1976||Wanted: The Sundance Woman||Etta Place / Mrs. Sundance / Annie Martin / Bonnie Doris||TV movie|
|1979||Murder by Natural Causes||Allison Sinclair||TV movie|
|1980||Rodeo Girl||Sammy Garrett||TV movie|
|1981||Murder in Texas||Ann Kurth Hill||TV movie with Sam Elliott.|
|1982||Wait Until Dark||Suzy Hendrix||TV movie|
|1982||Marian Rose White||Nurse Bonnie MacNeil||TV movie|
|1982||The Shadow Riders||Kate Connery/Sister Katherine||TV movie with Sam Elliott.|
|1983||Travis McGee||Gretel Howard||TV movie with Sam Elliott.|
|1983||Secrets of a Mother and Daughter||Ava Price||TV movie|
|1985–1987||The Colbys||Francesca 'Frankie' Scott Colby Hamilton Langdon||49 episodes|
|1986||Gone To Texas aka Houston: The Legend of Texas||Susannah Dickinson||TV movie with Sam Elliott.|
|1988||ABC Afterschool Specials||Maggie's Mother||Episode: "Tattle: When to Tell on a Friend"|
|1991||Conagher||Evie Teale||TV movie with Sam Elliott.|
|2004||Capital City||N/A||Unaired pilot|
- Grover, Grover come on over!
- The Teeny, Tiny Farm
- Bear Island
- The Baby Animals' Party
- The Fuzzytail Friends' Great Egg Hunt
- The Little Quiet Book (with Jean Hirashima, Random House)
- The Little Noise Book (with Jean Hirashima, Random House)
- Open the Door, Little Dinosaur (with Norman Gorbaty)
- Twinkle, Twinkle The Little Bug (with Tom Cooke)
- Sweetie and Petie (with Lisa McCue)