Sam Neill Biography

Sam Neill photo

Born: September 14, 1947


Date of Birth: September 14, 1947

Born in Northern Ireland, Neill was raised in the country he still calls home—New Zealand. And being far away from the Hollywood spotlight is just the way he likes it. "The one thing I find sad when I come to Los Angeles," he says, "is that the world here is populated by millions of people who want to be actors and never will be. And it's a particularly American thing, I think, to advise people to follow their dreams. You ought to be very careful about 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."

But "loser" is certainly not the category Neill fell into with a film career that has netted him three Golden Globe nominations. Since his wonderful performance in My Brilliant Career (1979) he's worked non-stop. "I'm a useful actor," he says. "I don't come to the audience with any particular baggage. When I turn up on the screen, you don't necessarily know whether I'm going to solve everything as the good guy or whether I will turn out to be something else entirely."

Neill has managed to carve out a successful career as an actor. Many will remember him from the series of Jurassic Park films. He's also starred in several television shows, including The Tudors, Crusoe, Happy Town and Alcatraz.

The veteran actor went on to act in films such as The Vow (2012) with Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams, The Hunter (2012) alongside Willem Dafoe and Frances O'Connor, Escape Plan (2013) opposite Sylvester Stallone, Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016), The Daughter (2016) and the drama Tommy's Honour (2017). His latest films are The Commuter (2018) and Peter Rabbit (2018).

Neill married Noriko Watanabe, a makeup artist, in September 1989. They have a daughter, Elena. He also has a son, Tim, from a previous relationship with a New Zealand actress. Neil was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1993 for his service to acting. He and his family divide their time between homes in Los Angeles, Australia and New Zealand.

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