Nigel John Dermot “Sam” Neill is an Irish-born New Zealand actor. He is known primarily for his work in the Jurassic Park series, The Hunt for Red October and The Piano. He is also known for work on the miniseries Merlin, the television series The Tudors and the film The Omen III: The Final Conflict. Neill was appointed a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, an Officer of the British Empire. Neill also owns his own vineyards and a winery called Two Paddocks.
Neill was born in Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. The second son of Dermot Neill, Third generation New Zealander and his english wife Priscilla. Dermot Neill was stationed in Northern Ireland serving with the Irish Guard. His father owned Neill and Co., the largest liquor retailers in New Zealand.
Sam Neill spent most of his childhood education and at Anglican Boys school Christ’s College in Christchurch, New Zealand, eventually moving onto studying English literature at the University of Canterbury, where he was first exposed to the world of acting. After moving to Wellington, he completed his tertiary education at Victoria University, where he graduated BA in English literature.
After working at the New Zealand National Film Unit as a director, Neill was cast for the lead role in 1977 New Zealand film Sleeping Dogs. Following this he appeared in Australian romance My Brilliant Career (1979), opposite Judy Davis. In 1981 he won his first big international role, as Damien Thorn, son of the devil, in Omen III: The Final Conflict; also in that year, he played an outstanding main role in Andrzej Zulawski’s cult film Possession. Later, Neill was also one of the leading candidates to succeed Roger Moore in the role of James Bond, but lost out to Timothy Dalton. His Bond screen-test can be found on the special features of the The Living Daylights (1987) DVD.
Sam Neil was cast in the 1993 Blockbuster Jurassic Park, playing Paleontologist Dr Alan Grant. Neill went on to reprise his role as Alan Grant the 2001 Follow up to 1997’s The Lost World : Jurassic Park, in Jurassic Park III.
Neill has one son, Tim (1983), by New Zealand actress Lisa Harrow, and one daughter, Elena(1991) , by makeup artist Noriko Watanabe, whom he married in 1989. He also has a stepdaughter, Maiko Spencer (born 1982), who is from Noriko Watanabe’s first marriage.
Neill lives in Queenstown and owns a winery called Two Paddocks made up of a vineyard at Gibbston and two near Alexandra, all in the Central Otago region of New Zealand’s South Island. Neill’s hobby is running Two Paddocks. Neill also has homes in Wellington, New Zealand, and Sydney, Australia. He is a supporter of the Australian Speak Easy Association and the British Stammering Association (BSA). He also supports the New Zealand Labour Party and the Australian Labor Party.
1997 – Sleeping Dogs – Smith.
1981 – Omen III : The Final Conflict – Adult Damien Thorn.
1993 – Jurassic Park – Dr Alan Grant.
2001 – Jurassic Park III – Dr Alan Grant.