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Actor

Gender

Male

Date of Birth

1947-09-14

Location

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Sam Neill

Biography

Sir Nigel John Dermot "Sam" Neill KNZM OBE (born 14 September 1947) is a New Zealand actor. Neill's 53-year career has included leading roles in both dramas and blockbusters. Considered an "international leading man", he has been regarded as one of the most versatile actors of his generation.

 

Born in Omagh in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, Neill moved to Christchurch with his family in 1954. He first achieved recognition with his appearance in the 1977 film Sleeping Dogs, which he followed with leading roles in My Brilliant Career (1979), Omen III: The Final Conflict, Possession (both 1981), Evil Angels - also known as A Cry in the Dark (1988), Dead Calm (1989), The Hunt For Red October (1990), The Piano (1993) and In the Mouth of Madness (1994). 

 

He came to international prominence as Dr. Alan Grant in Jurassic Park (1993), a role that he reprises in Jurassic Park III (2001) and Jurassic World Dominion (2022).

 

Outside of film, Neill has appeared in numerous television series, including Reilly, Ace of Spies (1983), The Simpsons (1994), Merlin (1998), The Tudors (2007), Crusoe (2008–2010), Happy Town (2010), Alcatraz (2012), Peaky Blinders (2013–2014), and Rick and Morty (2019). He has presented and narrated several documentaries. In 2021, he had a one-episode role on the Apple TV+ sci-fi series Invasion.

 

Neill is the recipient of the AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, the Longford Lyell Award, the New Zealand Film Award, and the Logie Award for Most Outstanding Actor. He also has three Golden Globe and two Primetime Emmy Award nominations.

 

Neill was born on 14 September 1947 in Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, to Priscilla Beatrice (née Ingham) and Dermot Neill. His father, an army officer, was a second-generation New Zealander, while his mother was English.

 

 His great-grandfather Percival “Percy” Neill left Belfast, Ireland, and moved to Melbourne, Australia, joining a firm of merchants. Four years later, in 1863, he moved to New Zealand, settling in Dunedin. He was the son of a wine merchant importing wine from France.

 

At the time of Neill's birth, his father was stationed in Northern Ireland, serving with the Royal Irish Fusiliers. His father's family owned Neill and Co. (later part of the listed hospitality group Wilson Neill). Neill considers himself a New Zealander.

 

In 1954, Neill moved with his family to New Zealand, where he attended the Anglican boys' boarding school Christ's College, Christchurch. He went on to study English literature at the University of Canterbury, where he had his first exposure to acting. He moved to Wellington to continue his tertiary education at Victoria University, where he graduated with a BA in English literature.

 

In 2004, on the Australian talk show Enough Rope, interviewer Andrew Denton briefly touched on the topic of Neill's stuttering. He recalled how deeply it had affected him in his life and, as a result, he often found himself "hoping that people wouldn't talk to [him]" so he would not have to answer. He also stated, “I kind of outgrew it. I can still ... you can still detect me as a stammerer.”

 

He first took to calling himself "Sam" at school because there were several other students named Nigel, and because he felt the name Nigel was "a little effete for ... a New Zealand playground".

Actor
2001

Jurassic Park III as Dr. Alan Grant

1993

Jurassic Park 1 as Grant