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Elliott Gould: What Made the Groovy ’70s Star of ‘M*A*S*H’ and ‘The Long Goodbye’ So Unique

Learn why he was called "the star for an uptight age"


Elliott Gould starred in many of the definitive films of the ’60s and ’70s, including Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, M*A*S*H and The Long Goodbye. With his bohemian vibe, towering height, dry sense of humor and instantly recognizable voice, he had a swagger particular to the era that’s never truly been replicated since.

While Gould will forever be associated with his hip roles of decades past, the now 85-year-old actor has enjoyed impressive longevity, with nearly 200 credits to his name. In the ’90s, he won over a new audience with his supporting role as Jack Geller, Ross and Monica’s father, on the beloved sitcom Friends, and his role in the star-studded Ocean’s film franchise in the ’00s kept him on the A-list.

Gould has always been just as intriguing off the screen as he is on it. Here’s a look back at Elliott Gould young, with some quirky facts you might not have known about him.

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Elliott Gould was married to Barbra Streisand

Gould started his career on Broadway, where he starred alongside Barbra Streisand in the 1962 musical I Can Get It for You Wholesale. The two rising stars married in 1963, and had a son, Jason Gould, who became an actor and singer himself. Streisand and Gould divorced in 1971, but up until that point they were one of the era’s most talented and charming couples.

In an interview, Gould said their marriage ended because “we didn’t grow together and the reason for that was because she became more important than us.”

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Elliott Gould and Barbra Streisand in 1964
Elliott Gould and Barbra Streisand in 1964Ray Fisher/Getty

Gould then married Jennifer Bogart in 1973. They had two children and divorced in 1975, then got remarried from 1978 to 1989.

Elliott Gould and Jennifer Bogart in the '70s
Elliott Gould and Jennifer Bogart in the ’70sArt Zelin/Getty

He was a regular on Saturday Night Live in its early days

When Saturday Night Live first started in the ’70s, it was very much aligned with Gould’s countercultural spirit and wit, and he hosted the sketch comedy show six times between 1976 and 1980. On his episodes, he sang and joked along with SNL heavy hitters like John Belushi and Bill Murray.

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Elliott Gould in the '70s
Elliott Gould in the ’70sArt Zelin/Getty

Elliott Gould acted alongside the Muppets — twice

Gould appeared in both The Muppet Movie (1979) and The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984). In an interview, he said he loved the Muppets and personally requested to be in the first film, and proudly revealed, “I’ve been told that I’m one of few actors, if not the only, who’s done more than one Muppet movie.”

The actor with Grover in 1974
Elliott Gould with Grover in 1974@treasure_chamber/Instagram

He’s spoken openly about his faith

Elliott Gould was born Elliott Goldstein in Brooklyn, and he’s spoken openly about his Jewish faith. In an interview, he said, “I never have, never will, never could, deny my roots. So I have a very deep Jewish identity… There’s not a moment that I’m not Jewish and I cherish it.”

Elliott Gould in 1970
Elliott Gould in 1970TPLP/Getty

Elliott Gould was close friends with Donald Sutherland

Gould and Donald Sutherland starred together in M*A*S*H, and following Sutherland’s recent passing, Gould posted a poignant tribute to him on Instagram, saying, “Donald and I both had sons that were born just a week apart. We were young fathers at the same time. It’s never easy, losing the caliber of a human being and actor like Donald Sutherland, but this one really profoundly hurts because Donald was like my brother, and a big part of my own career.”

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The actor with Donald Sutherland in 'M*A*S*H' 1970
Elliott Gould and Donald Sutherland in M*A*S*H (1970)FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty

He was called “the star for an uptight age”

Gould is one of the actors who best represents the “New Hollywood” of the late ’60s and early ’70s, when directors began to get more experimental and youthful in their approach and a new guard of charismatic stars rose to fame.

Elliott Gould in 1971
Elliott Gould in 1971Avalon/Getty

In 1970, he appeared on a Time magazine cover with the headline “star for an uptight age.” As the article described him, “Gould always seems to be caught up in social — and sexual — tension. He embodies an inner need to be hip at the risk of seeming silly, the struggle not to give in to the indignity and/or insanity of contemporary life.” Over 50 years later, these qualities still feel relevant.

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