We know about Joe DiMaggio, but where have you gone, Katharine Ross? It’s been (gulp) a full quarter century since her portrayal of the virtuous Elaine Robinson in The Graduate was nominated for Best Supporting Oscar. More important, Ross captivated a whole generation with her lush-lipped and decidedly unplastic beauty—here was someone worth snatching from the altar (or spiriting down to Bolivia, as in the 1969 megahit Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid).
Recently turned 50 and still radiant, Ross shares a spread above Malibu with her second husband, actor Sam Elliott, 47, and their daughter, Cleo, 7. “There’s a period in one’s life when beauty is very important,” she reflects. “For me, it was high school. But I had a grandmother who kept saying, ‘Handsome is as handsome does.’ That’s always stuck with me. The hell with the aging process. It happens to everyone—you just keep your mind active, you keep physically active.” These days Ross’ main professional activity is made-for-cable westerns with spouse Elliott: “When you hit 40, you suddenly find that they are looking at younger actresses.” But if Brady Bunch sequels work, why shouldn’t The Post-Graduate? “Depending on who did it, it might be sort of fun.” She smiles. “This time I could be Mrs. Robinson.”