41 Facts About Sam Neill


Sir Nigel John Dermot "Sam" Neill was born on 14 September 1947 and is a New Zealand actor.


Sam Neill first achieved recognition with his appearance in the 1977 film Sleeping Dogs, which he followed with leading roles in My Brilliant Career, Omen III: The Final Conflict, Possession, Evil Angels - known as A Cry in the Dark, Dead Calm, The Hunt For Red October, The Piano and In the Mouth of Madness.


Sam Neill came to international prominence as Dr Alan Grant in Jurassic Park, a role that he reprises in Jurassic Park III and Jurassic World Dominion.


Outside of film, Sam Neill has appeared in numerous television series, including Reilly, Ace of Spies, The Simpsons, Merlin, The Tudors, Crusoe, Happy Town, Alcatraz, Peaky Blinders, and Rick and Morty.


Sam 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.


Sam Neill has three Golden Globe and two Primetime Emmy Award nominations.


Sam Neill was born on 14 September 1947 in Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, to Priscilla Beatrice and Dermot Sam Neill.


Sam Neill's father, an army officer, was a second-generation New Zealander, while his mother was English.


Sam Neill was the son of a wine merchant importing wine from France.


In 1954, Sam Neill moved with his family to New Zealand, where he attended the Anglican boys' boarding school Christ's College, Christchurch.


Sam Neill went on to study English literature at the University of Canterbury, where he had his first exposure to acting.


Sam Neill moved to Wellington to continue his tertiary education at Victoria University, where he graduated with a BA in English literature.


Sam Neill 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.


Sam Neill followed it with a short, The Water Cycle and the television film Hunt's Duffer.


Sam Neill wrote and directed a film for the New Zealand National Film Unit, Telephone Etiquette.


Sam Neill went to Australia where he had a guest role on the TV show The Sullivans.


Sam Neill was the romantic male lead in My Brilliant Career, opposite Judy Davis, which was a big international success.


Sam Neill made some Australian films that were less widely seen: The Journalist, Just Out of Reach and Attack Force Z, and appeared in television productions such as Young Ramsay and Lucinda Brayford.


Sam Neill was one of the leading candidates to succeed Roger Moore in the role of James Bond, but lost out to Timothy Dalton.


Sam Neill has played heroes and occasionally villains in a succession of film and television dramas and comedies.


Sam Neill has occasionally acted in New Zealand films, including The Piano, Perfect Strangers, Under the Mountain, and Hunt for the Wilderpeople.


Sam Neill returned to directing in 1995 with the documentary Cinema of Unease: A Personal Journey by Sam Neill which he wrote and directed with Judy Rymer.


Sam Neill portrayed the eponymous wizard in Merlin, a miniseries based on the legends of King Arthur.


Sam Neill reprised his role in the sequel, Merlin's Apprentice.


Sam Neill starred in the historical drama The Tudors, playing Cardinal Thomas Wolsey.


Sam Neill acted in the short-lived Fox TV series Alcatraz as Emerson Hauser.


Sam Neill played the role of Otto Luger in the fantasy adventure film The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box.


Sam Neill had a role in the BBC series Peaky Blinders, set in post-World War I Birmingham.


Sam Neill played the role of Chief Inspector Chester Campbell, a sadistic corrupt policeman, who came to clean up the town on Churchill's orders.


In 2017, Sam Neill appeared in a scene in Waititi's fantasy sequel Thor: Ragnarok, in which he portrays an actor playing Odin, alongside Luke Hemsworth and Matt Damon as actors playing Thor and Loki, respectively.


Sam Neill portrays the same actor in Thor: Love and Thunder in 2022.


In 1980, Sam Neill met actress Lisa Harrow while filming Omen III: The Final Conflict and the two have a son.


Sam Neill subsequently married make-up artist Noriko Watanabe in 1989 and they have one daughter together.


Sam Neill separated from Watanabe in 2017, and as of early 2018 was reportedly dating Australian political journalist Laura Tingle.


Sam Neill has been a member of the Equity New Zealand trade union since 1979.


In March 2023, Sam Neill revealed that he had been undergoing chemotherapy since March 2022 after being diagnosed with stage 3 angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, following swollen glands that were first noticed during publicity for Jurassic World Dominion.


Sam Neill stated that the cancer is in remission, but he will require monthly chemotherapy for the rest of his life.


Sam Neill was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 1991 Queen's Birthday Honours, for services as an actor.


Sam Neill chose not to do this, saying the title of Sir was "just far too grand, by far".


Sam Neill was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by the University of Canterbury in 2002.


Sam Neill was awarded the 2019 Equity New Zealand Lifetime achievement award, celebrating his distinguished performance career, as well as his leadership and mentoring towards others in the acting industry.