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Sam Neill

Sam Neill

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Also Known As: John Dermot, Nigel John Dermot Neill Died:
Born: September 14, 1947 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Profession: actor, documentarian

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Few stars could boast a track record of turning in solid performances ranging from understated intensity to completely unhinged with such consistency as actor Sam Neill. Beginning with his work as a member of the New Zealand National Film Unit, Neill began to make a name for himself in his homeland with small films like "Sleeping Dogs" (1977). After moving to Australia for various film and television work, he received international exposure with the third entry in the popular "Omen" horror series as Damian Thorn in "The Final Conflict" (1981). From there it was on to a nearly uninterrupted run of impressive performances alongside some of film's biggest stars in projects such as the underrated "Dead Calm" (1989), co-starring Nicole Kidman, and the Academy Award-winning "The Piano" (1993), featuring Harvey Keitel and Holly Hunter. Neill then headlined one of the biggest blockbuster films of all time as the levelheaded Dr. Alan Grant in Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park" (1993). Almost effortlessly, he would continue to move from genres ranging from horror (1995's "In the Mouth of Madness"), to comedy (2000's "The Dish"), to historical drama (the 2007 season of Showtime's "The Tudors"), and back again...

Few stars could boast a track record of turning in solid performances ranging from understated intensity to completely unhinged with such consistency as actor Sam Neill. Beginning with his work as a member of the New Zealand National Film Unit, Neill began to make a name for himself in his homeland with small films like "Sleeping Dogs" (1977). After moving to Australia for various film and television work, he received international exposure with the third entry in the popular "Omen" horror series as Damian Thorn in "The Final Conflict" (1981). From there it was on to a nearly uninterrupted run of impressive performances alongside some of film's biggest stars in projects such as the underrated "Dead Calm" (1989), co-starring Nicole Kidman, and the Academy Award-winning "The Piano" (1993), featuring Harvey Keitel and Holly Hunter. Neill then headlined one of the biggest blockbuster films of all time as the levelheaded Dr. Alan Grant in Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park" (1993). Almost effortlessly, he would continue to move from genres ranging from horror (1995's "In the Mouth of Madness"), to comedy (2000's "The Dish"), to historical drama (the 2007 season of Showtime's "The Tudors"), and back again with apparent ease. Over the years, the once supposedly camera shy Neill had steadily become one of the most welcome international presences on screen - be it film or television - of his generation.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:


CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Daughter, The (2015)
2.
 Backtrack (2014)
4.
 Long Way Down, A (2014)
5.
 Tomb, The (2013)
6.
 Escape Plan (2013)
7.
 Vow, The (2012)
10.
 Daybreakers (2009)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Born in Ireland where father was stationed during military service
1954:
Returned with family to their native New Zealand at age eight
:
Member of New Zealand's Amamus Repertory Theatre for two years
:
Joined New Zealand National Film Unit as a director and actor
1977:
Made feature film debut playing the lead in Roger Donaldson's "Sleeping Dogs" (first New Zealand production ever released in U.S.)
1978:
Breakthrough film role as the suitor to writer Sybylla Melvin in "My Brilliant Career"; first collaboration with Judy Davis
1981:
First U.S. film, "Omen III: The Final Conflict," the third film in "The Omen" trilogy
1983:
Played the title role of Sidney Reilly on the PBS drama series "Reilly, Ace of Spies"; earned a Golden Globe nomination
1985:
Acted opposite Meryl Streep in Fred Schepisi's "Plenty"
1987:
Portrayed Colonel Andrei Denisov in ABC's acclaimed miniseries "Amerika"
1988:
Re-teamed with Schepisi and Streep for "A Cry in the Dark"
1989:
Starred opposite Nicole Kidman in Phillip Noyce's "Dead Calm"
1990:
Credited as John Dermot for his cameo in "Shadow of China"
1990:
Played Captain Second Rank Vasily Borodin in "The Hunt for Red October"
1991:
Acted in Wim Wenders' "Until the End of the World"
1991:
Played opposite Judy Davis in CBS's "One Against the Wind"
1991:
Starred in the Australian film "Death in Brunswick"
1992:
First association with director John Carpenter, "Memoirs of an Invisible Man"
1993:
Starred opposite Anjelica Huston in the ABC miniseries "Family Pictures"
1993:
Starred as the New Zealand farmer who enters an arranged marriage with a Scottish woman in Jane Campion's "The Piano"
1993:
Played a paleontologist who encounters dinosaurs in Steven Spielberg's blockbuster "Jurassic Park"
1995:
Re-teamed with Carpenter for "In the Mouth of Madness"
1995:
Portrayed charismatic King Charles II in "Restoration"
1995:
Returned to documentary filmmaking with "Cinema of Unease: A Personal Journey By Sam Neill," an autobiographical account of the New Zealand cinema; co-directed and co-scripted with Julie Rymer
1996:
Re-teamed with Judy Davis for the black comedy "Children of the Revolution"
1997:
Played the lead in "The Revengers' Comedies," co-starring Helena Bonham Carter and Kristin Scott Thomas (aired in the U.S. as "Sweet Revenge")
1998:
Played Kristin Scott Thomas' husband in Robert Redford's "The Horse Whisperer"
1998:
Portrayed the legendary wizard in the acclaimed NBC miniseries "Merlin"; received an Emmy nomination
1999:
Appeared in a supporting role in the biopic "Molokai: The Story of Father Damien"
1999:
Cast as a wealthy man who buys a robot for his family in "Bicentennial Man"
2000:
Portrayed U.S. President Thomas Jefferson in the CBS miniseries "Sally Hemings: An American Scandal"
2000:
Starred in the Australian film "The Dish"
2000:
Appeared in the Scandinavian drama "The Zoo Keeper"
2001:
Played a lead role in the based-on-fact NBC movie "Submerged"
2001:
Co-starred in sequel "Jurassic Park III" alongside Tea Leoni and William H. Macy
2002:
Cast opposite Keira Knightley in the miniseries "Doctor Zhivago" (PBS)
2004:
Played the father of Kirsten Dunst's character in the romantic comedy "Wimbledon"
2005:
Starred as Joan Allen's husband in "Yes"
2005:
Co-starred with Cate Blanchett in the Australian film "Little Fish"
2008:
Played the title role in the British comedy-drama film "Dean Spanley" alongside Jeremy Northam and Peter O'Toole
2008:
Cast as Jeremiah Blackthorn on the NBC adventure series "Crusoe"
2009:
Re-teamed with Peter O'Toole in the Canadian miniseries "Iron Road"
2010:
Cast as Charles Bromley, a vampire in charge of a powerful corporation, in the sci-fi film "Daybreakers"
2010:
Acted on the ABC mystery drama series "Happy Town"
2012:
Featured on J. J. Abrams produced "Alcatraz" (Fox)
2012:
Featured opposite Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum in romantic drama "The Vow"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Christ College: -
University of Canterbury: -
Victoria University: -

Notes

Awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1991, he has stated, "The only award I have ever been thrilled to receive was the OBE ... given to me four days before my father died of cancer. It made him proud of me and I'm pleased he knew about it."

His great-great grandfather aided in burning down the White House during the War of 1812.

"I am deeply into pop culture, especially pop music. I think Dion's 'The Wanderer', for me the great 60s rock and roll song, will probably endure much longer than most of the stuff we actors do. Pop music is like the sense of smell--the most potent trigger for memories. Anyway, I was at one of these Oscar parties and I was so excited to meet Mick Jagger, I blurted out, 'Mick, I've always wanted to meet you. I saw you at such-and-so in 1964 ... ,' and immediately his expression completely changed and he snapped, 'Great,' or something like that. I went and buried my head in my hands. How could I be so inane?" --Sam Neill, in Movieline, December 1997/January 1998.

"The one thing I find sad when I come to Los Angeles, though, is realizing that the world is populated by millions of people who want to be actors and never will be. It's unbearably sad to live your life and not be able to do what you really want. And it's a particularly American thing, I think, to advise people to follow their dreams. You ought to be careful advising such things, because people have all kinds of entirely unrealistic dreams. As a result, so many people here think of themselves as losers, which is the worst thing you can be called in America. If you divide society into winners and losers, 98 percent of the people will feel like losers. That attitude is particualrly prevalent among athletes ... I dread the Olympics coming to Sydney. I can't bear the thought of all these people coming and having medals stuck on them, while the others are sent back to obscurity." --Neill in Movieline, December 1997/January 1998.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Lisa Harrow. Actor. Mother of Neill's son Tim; never married; acted together in "The Final Conflict" (1981).
wife:
Noriko Watanbe. Makeup artist. Japanese; mother of Neill's youngest child; met on the set of "Dead Calm" (1989); married in 1989.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Dermot Neill. New Zealander who served in the British Army; family owned Neill & Company (now Wilson Neill & Co.), one of New Zealand's largest liquor wholesalers; died in 1991.
mother:
Priscilla Neill. British.
brother:
Michael Neill. College professor. Older; born c. 1943.
sister:
Juliet Neill. Younger; born c. 1950.
son:
Tim Neill. Born in 1982; mother, Lisa Harrow.
step-daughter:
Maiko. Mother, Noriko Watanbe.
daughter:
Elena Neill. Born on January 10, 1991; mother, Noriko Watanbe.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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