Elliott began his acting career on Broadway in the 1960’s, and then went on to become the embodiment of a disenchanted youth culture in such films as Robert Altman’s Korean War satire M*A*S*H (1970) in which he played the maverick surgeon "Trapper John" and BOB & TED & CAROL & ALICE (1969), for which he received an Oscar nomination. Time Magazine placed him on one of its covers in 1970, at a peak of his long and prolific career, calling him a "star for an uptight age."
Some of his other notable films include A BRIDGE TOO FAR, CAPRICORN ONE, and a remake of THE LADY VANISHES. Gould played the detective Philip Marlowe in Altman's 1973 film THE LONG GOODBYE.
Gould's Broadway theatre credits include IRMA LA DOUCE, SAY, DARLING, I CAN GET IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE, LITTLE MURDERS, and DRAT! THE CAT!
On television, Gould hosted “Saturday Night Live” six times. He had a recurring guest role on “Friends” as Jack Gellar, the good-natured, but fussy father of the Greenwich village-dwelling Gellar kids, Monica and Ross, spending nine years recurring in the role across 10 seasons. Later, Gould appeared in guest spots on “Law & Order” and “CSI.”
Gould received critical praise for his role in Warren Beatty's 1991 gangster epic film BUGSY. In addition, he appeared in AMERICAN HISTORY X as the boyfriend of Edward Norton's character's mother. He co-starred as Reuben Tishkoff in OCEAN'S ELEVEN (2001), and its sequels: OCEAN'S TWELVE (2004), and OCEAN'S THIRTEEN (2007). Gould also can be seen in the Warner Brothers feature CONTAGION (2011).
Gould currently serves on the Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors.