Sam Neill Biography

Biography by Published on Updated on 13 Apr, 2018
Facts of Sam Neill
Date of Birth: 1947 , September-14
Age: 74 years old
Birth Nation: New Zealand
Height: 6 Feet
Name Sam Neill
Birth Name Nigel John Dermot Neill
Father Dermot Neill
Mother Priscilla Beatrice
Nationality British, New Zealander
Birth Place/City New Zealand
Ethnicity Caucasian
Profession Actor
Net Worth $18 million
Eye Color Blue
Hair Color Brown
Face Color Fair
Famous for Omen III: The Final Conflict, Possession, Merlin, Dead Calm
Married to Noriko Watanabe
Children Andrew, Tim, Elena Neill
Divorce Lisa Harrow
Education Christís College, University of Canterbury, Victoria University
Awards AACTA Awards, Logie Awards
Movies Landfall, and Ashes, Omen III: The Final Conflict, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, The Paino
TV Show Lucinda Brayford, Merlin, Reilly, Ace of Spies, The Tudors
View more / View Less Facts of Sam Neill

Primetime Emmy Award-nominated actor, Nigel John Dermot Neill is professionally known as Sam Neill. He is popular for his performances in the movies including Dead Claim, Reilly Ace of Spies and Own III: The Final Conflict. He made his movie debut in the year 1975 from the movies, Landfall, and AshesAs of 2018, he worked as Captain David Hawthorne in The Commuter and voiced Tommy Brock in Peter Rabbit.

Neill has been married twice. He has one daughter, one stepdaughter two sons from the previous relationship.

Early Life And Education of Sam Neill

Sam Neill was born Nigel John Dermot Neill on 14th September 1947 in Omagh, Northern Ireland under the birth sign Virgo. Neill is British by nationality and belongs to Caucasian ethnicity. He is the son of Priscilla Beatrice and Dermot Neill (was an army officer). When he was born, his father was stationed in Northern Ireland serving with the Irish Guards.

In 1954, Neill along with his family moved to New Zealand where he attended Christ’s College, the Anglican boys’ boarding school.  He then studied English literature at the University of Canterbury where he made his first exposure to acting. Later, he graduated with a BA degree in English literature from the Victoria University.

Neill does not like to be called by his name, Nigel because he felt the name means, ‘’a little effete for… a New Zealand playground’’ so, he chooses the name ‘’Sam’’ at school.

Sam Neill's Career

Sam Neill made his movie debut in 1975 from the movies, Landfall, and Ashes. In 1977, Neill appeared in the lead role in the movie, Sleeping Dogs which is based on the book Smith’s Dream by C. K. Stead.


Neill then worked in numbers of movies like The Journalist, Possession, From a Far Country, Ivanhoe, Enigma, Plenty, For Love Alone, The Good Wife, Dead Calm, The Piano, Restoration, Victory, The Dish, Little Fishland, A Long Way Down among others. Particularly, he is famous for his roles in:

Movies  Role IMDB Rating Cast Members
Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981) Damien Thorn 5.6 Rossano Brazzi, Lisa Harrow,  and Barnaby Holm.
Possession (1981) Mark 7.4 Jeffery Dean Morgan, Natasha Calis, and Madison Davenport.
Dead Calm (1989) John Ingram 6.8 Nicole Kidman, Billy Zane, and Rod Mullinar.
The Hunt for Red October (1990) Captain Vasily Borodin 7.6 Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, and Scott Glenn.
The Piano (1993) Alisdair Stewart 7.6 Holly Hunter, Anna Paquin, and Harvey Keitel.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) Uncle Hec 7.9 Taika Waititi, Julian Dennison and Rhys Darby.

As of 2018, Neill worked in two movies, The Commuter as Captain David Hawthorne and Peter Rabbit as Joe McGregor/ Tommy Brock.

TV Series

Neill made his TV debut in 1980 from the miniseries, Lucinda Brayford which is based on a novel by Australian author, Martin Boyd. Two years later, he worked in TV film, Ivanhoe. In 1983, he appeared in miniseries, Reilly, Ace of Spies. His performance in the miniseries was highly appreciated by both fans and critics.   


Neill then worked in various TV series, Amerika, The Simpsons, In Cold Blood, Stiff, The Triangle, Jessica, Crusoe, Happy Town, and Old School among others. He, however, is popular for:

TV Series Role IMDB Rating Cast Members
Reilly, Ace of Spies (1983) Sidney Reilly 8.3 Norman Rodway, Leo McKern, and Michael Bryant.
Merlin (1998) Merlin 7.1 Colin Morgan, Bradley James, Katie McGrath and Angel Coulby.
Peaky Blinder (2013-2014) C.I. Campbell 8.8 Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Helen McCrory and Paul Anderson
The Tudors (2007) Cardinal Thomas Wolsey 8.1 Henry Cavill, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and Natalie Dormer.

His latest TV series include Why Anzac with Sam Neill, New Zealand: Earth’s Mythical Islands, Tutankhamun, and Country Calendar.

Sam Neill's Awards And Nominations

Sam Neill has been nominated for several awards. Some of them include:

  • 1988 = AACTA Awards for Evil Angels (A Cry in the Dark).
  • 2004 = Logie Awards for Jessica.

He has also been nominated for AACTA Awards, Gemini AwardsMOnte-Carlo Television Festival AwardsPrimetime Emmy Awards, and Golden Globe Awards.

Sam Neill's Net Worth

Sam Neill has an estimated net worth of $18 million. He has appeared in numbers of movies that made an impressive collection at the box office.

Here is the list of his hit movies:

Movies Budget Box Office Collection IMDB Rating Awards and Nominations Cast Members
The Hunt for Red October (1990) $30 million $200.5 million 7.6
  • Won Academy AwardsBMI Film Awards and Motion Picture Sound Editors Awards.
  • Nominated for Academy Awards, and British Academy Film Awards.
Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Scott Glenn, and James Earl Jones.
Jurassic Park (1993) $63 million $1.029 billion 8.1
  • Won Bambi AwardsAcademy AwardsBAFTA Awards and People's Choice Awards.
  • Nominated for Saturn AwardsGrammy Awards, and MTV Movie Awards.
Chris Pratt, Jeff Goldblum, Bryce Dallas, and Laura Dern.
The Horse Whisperer (1998) $60 million $186,883,563 6.6
  • Nominated for Academy Awards and Golden Globe Awards.
Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford, Kristin Scott Thomas and Dianne Wiest.
Jurassic Park III (2001) $93 million $368.8 million 5.9
  • Won Sierra Awards, and BMI Awards.
  • Nominated for Saturn AwardsSatellite Awards, and Golden Reel Awards.
Tea Leoni, William H. Macy, Laura Dern and Alessandro Nivola.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017) $180 million $854 million 7.9
  • Won NAACP Awards.
  • Nominated for British Academy Film AwardsWashington D.C. Film Critics Awards, and Saturn Awards.
Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth and Taika Waititi.

Neill owns the largest liquor retailers in New Zealand, Neill, and Co. He has several homes in Wellington, Sydney and New Zealand.

Sam Neill's Personal Life

Sam Neill has been married twice. In 1987, Neill tied the knot to Lisa Harrow. Harrow is a popular actress well recognized for her roles in British theater, films, and television. In 1983, the couple welcomed their first child, Tim Neill, an electrician. Their relationship did not last long and divorced in 1989.

CAPTION: Sam with his first wife, Lisa. SOURCE:

In 1989, Neill married for the second time with make-up artist Noriko Watanabe with whom he shares a daughter, Elena Neill who was born in 1991. As of 2018, he was rumored to be dating Australian journalist, Laura Tingle. They, however, have not revealed their relationship to the public.

CAPTION: Sam with his wife, Noriko Watanabe. SOURCE: Pinterest

He also has a step-daughter from his second wife’s previous relationship. In his early twenties, he fathered a son, Andrew but gave him for adoption. He said,

‘’My first son, Andrew, was given up for adoption when he was very small. I was quite small, too- in my early twenties. I didn’t see him for 25 years and then we went looking for each other.’’

The father and son met after 25 years and their reunion was ‘’much more grown-up.’’

In an interview on the Australian talk show, Enough Rope, he told that his stammering affected his childhood and used to hope that people would not talk to him so that he would not have to answer back. He stated,

‘’I kind of outgrew it can still… you can still detect me as a stammer.’’

He is the supporter of the British Stammering Association (BSA) and Australian Speak Easy Assassination. He also supports Australian Labor Party and New Zealand Labor Party. In 1991, he was appointed as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and later appointed as a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (DCNZM).

In 2002, the University of Canterbury awarded him an honorary Doctor of Letters.

Here is the video, where Sam Neill talks about his character in the movie, Thor: Ragnarok:


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