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The Only Major Actors Still Alive From Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid

There are great Western movies, and then there are true classics. "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" falls firmly into the latter category. An emotionally stirring and gorgeously shot tale of love, brotherhood, and inevitability, George Roy Hill's 1969 flick remains a pillar of Hollywood history. But while the cinematography, score, and screenplay all deserve a lot of credit for that success, "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" is ultimately a film carried by its cast.

Paul Newman and Robert Redford will be forever linked as an onscreen duo, despite the fact that they only ever co-starred in two movies. "Butch Cassidy" was the first, and "The Sting" was the second, released just four years after their initial collaboration and once again directed by Hill. It's a testament to the two stars' incredible chemistry that this pair of shared performances was enough to eternally tie them together in the eyes of movie fans. They're incomparable as the eponymous cowboy bank robbers, but they aren't the only actors responsible for making the movie so beloved.

The iconic Western doesn't have a huge cast, but even the supporting characters make big impressions despite having very little screen time. Unfortunately, most of the talented stars who appear in the film are no longer with us. These are the only actors still alive from the cast of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

Robert Redford (The Sundance Kid)

Robert Redford is a movie star in every sense of the word. His career has lasted for more than 60 years, and he was already in his early 30s when he starred as the Sundance Kid alongside Paul Newman's Butch Cassidy. Though Newman sadly passed away in 2008, Redford is still alive and well at 87.

Running down Redford's storied career would take all day. After capturing audiences' hearts in "Butch Cassidy," he went on to star in other classics like "The Sting," "Three Days of the Condor," "The Natural," "All the President's Men," "Spy Game," and "Sneakers." You could watch every Robert Redford movie and rarely find a true dud, which is a testament to his onscreen charisma regardless of the material at hand. Eventually, Redford also took up directing and producing, winning an Oscar in 1981 for his feature directorial debut, "Ordinary People."

Now in his later years, Redford has continued to take on prominent roles, even appearing as the villainous Alexander Pierce in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He announced his retirement in 2018 following the release of "The Old Man and the Gun," which was set to be his final film, but he later said that he regretted doing so. With luck, that means that we still haven't seen Robert Redford's final performance.

Katharine Ross (Etta Place)

Though her character's name doesn't appear in the film's title, Katharine Ross is definitively the third star of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." She plays Etta Place in the movie, ostensibly Sundance's love interest but also an intimate friend of Butch's. Her complicated relationship with the two crooks is one of the centerpieces of the story, and she manages to get out of their doomed lives before the reaper comes calling. And, like Butch and Sundance, Etta is also based on a real person.

Ross was already a rising star when she appeared in "Butch Cassidy." The year before, she'd been nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her turn in "The Graduate." Her later credits include "The Stepford Wives," "Donnie Darko," "The Shadow Riders," and "Voyage of the Damned." For that last film, she won a Golden Globe award — her second after winning one for "The Graduate."

These days, at 84 years old, Ross doesn't appear on the screen much, but she's never formally retired. In 2017, she co-starred in "The Hero," a film about an aging Western film star, alongside her longtime husband and fellow Western icon Sam Elliott. As it happens, the two first worked together way back on "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," though they didn't start dating until many years later.

Sam Elliott (Card Player #2)

These days, most people couldn't even tell you that Sam Elliott appears in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" at all. Which is fair since Elliott hardly plays a big role in the film. But because of the Western superstar he later became, it's only appropriate that the beloved classic is one of his earliest credits. Elliott had only been acting for a couple of years when he was cast in the film, in which he's credited simply as "Card Player #2." It's a small part in a short scene that came with no real lines. Greatness comes from small beginnings, though, right?

The scene in question occurs early on, when Butch and Sundance are playing poker in a saloon. One of the other card players accuses Butch of cheating, which leads to a tense confrontation with Sundance. Elliott plays another card player in the scene who quickly removes himself from the potential violence.

These days, it's difficult to name a more iconic actor from the Western genre. Elliott's credits include movies like "Tombstone" and shows like "The Yellow Rose," and his deep voice and mustache are inimitable pieces of cinematic history. He eventually became Katharine Ross' fifth and final husband, but they didn't actually meet on the set of "Butch Cassidy. "I didn't dare try to talk to her then," Elliott said in a 2015 interview with AARP. "She was the leading lady. I was a shadow on the wall, a glorified extra in a bar scene." They later got to know each other while working on 1978's "The Legacy" and have collaborated on numerous projects in the decades since. At 79, Elliott is the youngest surviving cast member of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."