Compiled by the Sam Neill Mailing List and list maintainer Erika Grams.
Additions made by Chriss Green and Vanessa. Corrections and comments should
be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: Although the contents of this FAQ have been verified
as accurate by Mr. Neill, the information in the FAQ was compiled and written
by Erika Grams. In other words, this FAQ should in no way be construed as
an official statement from Mr. Neill.
This FAQ is not a press kit nor should it be treated as publicity material
distributed by Mr. Neill. It is a personal, copyrighted research work by Erika
Grams <email@example.com >.
You are welcome to use material from the FAQ for articles or papers, so long
as you provide proper acknowlegment by giving the site's URL address and
naming the author, Erika Grams, as your source.
Please let me know if you are writing an article about Sam, especially
if it is posted on the Internet, as I would be glad to list it in the bibliography
and provide a link to your article from this site. Thank you for your consideration.
Copyright © 1996-2003 by Erika Grams. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in full or in part in any medium without permission of the author
1.0 Who is Sam Neill?
2.0 What has he done?
3.0 What else can you tell me about him?
Thanks to the following people for their work in improving and modifying
the Sam Neill FAQ: Erika Grams, Vanessa Der Klawer, Chriss Green, Maureen
Lynch, Leslita Godfrey, Betsy Pearson, and all other members of the Sam Neill
Mailing List. Special thanks to Mr. Neill!
1.0 Who is Sam Neill?
1.1 Vital Statistics
- Height: 6'0"
- Eye Colo(u)r: Blue
- Hair Colo(u)r: Light/medium brown
- Date of Birth: September 14, 1947
- Place of Birth: Omagh, Northern Ireland
- Eyesight: Uses glasses for reading
- Pulse: Exists
- Sense of Humo(u)r: Wonderful (if a little dry and dark!)
- Vineyard: Two Paddocks
-- Produces Neill Pinot Noir
- Production Company: Huntaway Films
Sam Neill was born on September 14, 1947 Omagh, Northern Ireland. His father,
Dermot Neill, was a third-generation New Zealander descending from the family
that owned Neill & Co (now Wilson Neill & Co), one of the country's
largest liquor wholesalers. According to Sam (while doing publicity for The
Jungle Book), many generations on both sides of his family served in
the British army, a career carried on by his father. Dermot Neill was sent
to England for an education at Harrow and then he attended Sandhurst Military
Academy. At a ball at the academy, Dermot met and fell in love with Priscilla.
(Very little information is available about her, but it is known that she
is English.) In approximately 1943, their first son, Michael, was born in
England. The father's regiment was posted to Northern Ireland soon after,
serving in the Irish Guards. Nigel followed in 1947 in Omagh, County Tyrone,
and his sister was born in approximately 1950. In 1954, the family returned
to New Zealand where the elder Neill joined the family business. He also
served for 20 years as the French consul in Dunedin and after retirement
took up the equestrian art of dressage. Because of the number of Nigels at
school, Sam soon got his nickname which he continues to use as his stage
name. "I encouraged the nickname because I thought I'd be slightly less likely
to be victimized during the tender years," he says. "Nigel was a little effete
for the rigours of a New Zealand playground." The family lived in Dunedin
on the South Island and Sam went to boarding school at Christchurch's Christ
College, an Anglican boys' school. Both there and at Canterbury University,
he participated in school drama productions, though apparently never took
an acting class. His interest in acting was fueled by Dame Ngaio Marsh, who
annually produced Shakesperian plays during Neill's time at the university
and director Mervyn Thomson. He has a B.A. in English, reflecting his interest
in Shakespeare. This interest is shared by his brother, who did some acting
in school productions and is now an English professor.
1.2.1 Early Years (1947-1974)
After college, Sam toured for a year in a minibus with the Players Drama
Quartet. He then began working with the New Zealand National Film Unit in
Wellington, directing documentaries such as Telephone Etiquette ,
Surf Sail, and Architect Athfield and also acting in fringe
productions and short films such as Ashes and Landfall. After
six years with the Film Unit he landed the lead role in the feature film Sleeping
Dogs, the first New Zealand film ever to be released in the United States.
Noticed by Australian casting director Margaret Fink, he was asked to audition
for the male protagonist in Gillian Armstrong's My Brilliant Career
. After he got the role, "I came back to New Zealand and all in the same
day resigned my job, put my house on the market. I left about two weeks later
and never looked back." It was another 14 years before Sam Neill made a film
in New Zealand. Moving to Australia, Sam finally discovered that he could
make acting his vocation. "It was when I started My Brilliant Career
that I thought, this is something I can do and want to do." He subsequently
made The Journalist, Just Out of Reach, and Attack Force
Z. He also worked on some television programs such as The Sullivans
and Lucinda Brayford. While working on the latter project, he received
a call from English actor James Mason, who had been very impressed by Neill's
performance in My Brilliant Career . Mason recommended Neill for the
lead role in The Final Conflict: Omen III and offered Neill a ticket
1.2.2 An Actor Down Under (1974-1981)
Sam Neill handily won the leading role in Omen III, his first American
film, one shot in London. During the course of filming, he began a relationship
with leading lady Lisa Harrow. They have one son named Tim, but were unable
to settle down as a couple and separated after a few years. Sam went on to
share the screen with her in From a Far Country, a movie about Pope
John Paul II, and with James Mason in Ivanhoe. In this period he also
filmed Enigma, The Country Girls, Possession and Plenty.
One might also say the London period was his 'mini-series' period, as he
finished The Blood of Others, Kane and Abel, Arthur Hailey's
Strong Medicine, and the Australian western Robbery under Arms.
1.2.3 On to the Motherland (1981-1985)
However, his most famous role is, of course, Sidney Reilly in the Thames
Television series, Reilly: Ace of Spies. Neill notes "One of the big
satisfactions for me with Reilly was that I discovered I could cut that particular
mustard ... at the end of it I acquired confidence as I'd never known it."
Others agreed that the Kiwi actor with no formal training was among the best.
In 1983 he received a Golden Globe nomination and won "The Most Popular Actor
in the UK" award for the series as well. When it was broadcast on PBS' Mystery
in the United States, Neill was discovered by new admirers and re-discovered
by fans of My Brilliant Career. Because of Reilly, Sam Neill became
one of the names bandied about for the role of James Bond, after Roger Moore
announced his decision to retire from it. The speculation was repeated again
in the 1990s, after Timothy Dalton and the film series parted ways.
In the middle of the decade, he took on a series of roles in films all
over the world which only increased his reputation as a solid character actor.
Though he remained one of the most popular actors in Australia and commanded
leading roles in films and television down under, it was ten years before
he received a comparable degree of recognition as a lead actor in a film
with world-wide distribution -- Jurassic Park, where his screen time
competed with that of computer-generated dinosaurs. However, that film made
him as well-known to a new generation as "Reilly" had 10 years previously.
Between 1984 and 1988, Neill remained a loyal member of the Australian film
community as well as filming the American mini-series Amerika and
the U.S. made-for-TV movie Leap of Faith (Question of Faith) . For
Love Alone and The Umbrella Woman (The Good Wife) signaled this
return and both films garnered him critical acclaim in Australia. With his
familiar co-star Meryl Streep, he made the controversial Evil Angels (A
Cry in the Dark) for which he won an Australian Film Institute Best Actor
award (Ms. Streep won for Best Actress and the film won Best Picture for
1988 as well). Rumors began about a possible Oscar nomination, but in a trend
which has become familiar to Neill's fans, he was overlooked in the wave
of acclaim for his female co-star. On the set of Dead Calm , Neill
met make-up artist Noriko Watanabe; they married in 1989. Dead Calm
introduced America to director Phillip Noyce who went on to direct Patriot
Games and actress Nicole Kidman who attracted Tom Cruise's attention and
a role in Days of Thunder, and to lesser extent, actor Billy Zane,
now best known as the insufferable fiance in Titanic. Death in
Brunswick brought him his second Australian Film Institute Best Actor
nomination, but he lost to Hugo Weaving (Proof).
1.2.4 All the World's a Stage (1985-1993)
Two off-beat roles came to Sam at the end of the 1980s. The first was a
cameo in Shadow of China, credited under the pseudonym John Dermot.
His future wife Noriko Watanabe was the make-up artist on this Japanese production,
filmed in Hong Kong. The second was a small, but pivotal role as the Marquis
de Lafayette in the grand epic La Revolution francaise . The scenes
were all originally filmed in both French and English, but an English version
of the film has never been officially been released on video. It was shown
on Canadian television in English. Most of the non-native French speakers,
including Neill, have had all their lines dubbed by other actors for the
The 1990s brought Neill a succession of roles which have kept him extremely
busy. The Hunt for Red October and Wim Wenders' epic Until the End
of the World began the decade. A full 5-6 hour version of the already
2hour 40minute Until the End of the World has been produced, but is
not widely available; Neill aided the re-cut by adding additional narration.
The HBO film Fever and Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation One Against
the Wind nicely concluded 1991 and the latter film re-united him with
his My Brilliant Career co-star Judy Davis (who received an Emmy nomination
for the role). In 1991, Sam Neill was awarded an O.B.E (Order of the British
Empire) for services to acting: "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."
1992 brought Memoirs of an Invisible Man and Hostage. 1993
was a signifcant year for Mr. Neill -- films released then included two which
had allowed him to film in his home country for the first time in 14 years:
The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior and award-winning the Piano
. In addition, in February 1993, the mini-series Family Pictures was
broadcast in the United States (gaining co-star Angelica Huston an Emmy nomination).
June was the monster month, coming just after the Piano made its huge
splash at Cannes, where Neill accepted the Palme d'Or on behalf of director
Jane Campion and coinciding with the long-awaited release of Steven Spielberg's
dinosaur extravaganza Jurassic Park. While doing publicity for JP,
Neill stated "It's a good double act to have ... this commercial success
and this critical success." The attention did get him one role which signifies
success in 1990s America: a cameo on The Simpsons as a David Niven-esque
Neill has been making movies almost continuously through the 1990s, from
Sirens with Hugh Grant and Elle McPherson, to John Carpenter's In
the Mouth of Madness, Miramax's epic Restoration (which won Oscars
for Best Costumes and Best Art Direction), Michael Blakemore's adaptation
of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" -- Country Life, the live-action Disney
adventure The Jungle Book, and the adaptation of Joseph Conrad's Victory,
which is still in release limbo four year later. In 1995, his documentary
about New Zealand film-making, Cinema of Unease, was shown at Cannes
and received widespread critical acclaim. It formed part of the British Film
Institute's Century of Cinema series, which asked representative directors
(including Martin Scorsese, Stephen Frears, George Miller, and Jean-Luc Godard)
from a number of different countries to write and direct a retrospective
of their country's film history. In 1995, he began filming, on location in
Prague the live-action fairy tale -- The Grimm Brothers: Snow White in
the Black Forest, a darker, more gothic version of the traditional tale
in which Sigourney Weaver plays the evil stepmother and Sam Neill plays her
hapless husband, Snow White's father. After two years in limbo, Showtime
finally broadcast the film on television in the summer of 1997 and it resulted
in a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Weaver.
1.2.5 Current Work (1994-Present):
Children of the Revolution was finally screened in 1996 to much
critical acclaim, winning several Australian Film Institute Awards including
one for Judy Davis, for best actress. Although no other film of Mr. Neill's
got a theatrical release in 1996, it was a productive year. During the summer,
he joined Anthony Edwards and Eric Roberts in Alberta to film a remake of
In Cold Blood, broadcast on the American network CBS in November 1996.
The fall was spent in England filming a screen adaptation of Alan Ackybourne's
excellent play The Revengers' Comedies with Helena Bonham Carter and
Kristin Scott Thomas. As the year came to a close, he stayed in England to
film the science-fiction thriller Event Horizion with Laurence Fishburne
which was released in the summer of 1997.
The summer of 1997 found Mr. Neill in New York and Montana filming his
role in Robert Redford's adaptation of the novel The Horse Whisperer
. Fans were reminded of Vassily Borodin's final words in The Hunt for Red
October. Originally scheduled for a December release against Titanic
, The Horse Whisperer was re-scheduled for May 1998 so it could vye
for the audiences who would be unimpressed by Godzilla (released only
a few days later). This also gave Redford time to trim the film down from
his original 3 hour plus cut. In fact the movie did extremely well, making
over $70 million in the United States in a summer filled with blockbusters.
Neill spent the fall and winter of 1997-8 in Great Britain again, this time
in Wales, filming the Hallmark Entertainment mini-series Merlin. Playing
the eponymous wizard, Sam Neill led an excellent cast to a ratings victory
for NBC in April 1998. The first half of the mini-series was watched by approximately
37 million viewers. That gave NBC its highest ratings for a movie since Jurassic
Park in 1995 and the best miniseries rating in fourteen years. The mini-series
was a critical success as well, garnering excellent reviews from publications
such as Variety and Entertainment Weekly. It also won 15 Emmy
nominations, including a Leading Actor in a Mini-Series or Television Movie
nomination for Mr. Neill. Neill's co-stars, Helena Bonham Carter, Martin
Short (both for Merlin), and Sigourney Weaver (Snow White)
all garnered Emmy nominations in the same year. Additionally, Neill, Bonham
Carter, and Miranda Richardson all received Golden Globe nominations for
their work in Merlin . Following these events, Mr. Neill spent the
summer in Hawaii playing the politician and adventurer Walter Murray Gibson
in Molokai, a film based on the true story of Father Damien who worked
with Hawaiian lepers and who died of leprosy himself.
As the millenium comes to an end (at least for non-pedants), Sam Neill
has returned to a busy film schedule. At the beginning of 1999, he took on
the twin tasks of portraying Professor Mortlock in the Australian drama My
Mother Frank and voicing the penguin bold Sam Sawnoff in the animated
version of Norman Lindsay's The Magic Pudding. The former film stars
Sinead Cusack, the wife of actor Jeremy Irons (whom Sam claims to do a fair
imitation of). The Magic Pudding is a famous Australian children's
book and attracted other Down Under greats as Geoffrey Rush, Hugo Weaving,
John Laws, and Jack Thompson; John Cleese rounds out the cast as Albert, the
Magic Pudding. In the spring, Mr. Neill went to San Francisco to work with
Robin Williams on The Bicentennial Man, an adaptation of Isaac Asimov's
classic tale of a robot who wants to find his own humanity. The summer found
him in Melbourne working on The Dish , a comedy by the writers of
the Aussie TV series Frontline and the extremely popular film (in
Australia) The Castle. Returning to the U.S. in the late summer, Mr.
Neill spent two months in Richmond, Virginia starring in a mini-series about
the alleged relationship between America's third president, Thomas Jefferson,
and his slave Sally Hemings. In February 2000, the mini-series Sally Hemings:
An American Scandal broadcast on CBS and helped give America a new perspective
on a familiar icon; two weeks before the broadcast, the Thomas Jefferson
Memorial Foundation announced its acceptance of the Hemings-Jefferson liasion
as probable fact thanks to DNA testing and circumstantial, historical evidence.
<NOTE: in April 2001, a panel finished its examination of the
evidence in this case and concluded Jefferson did not father Sally Hemings
children. For more info on this side of the debate, read The Scholars Commission
In early 2000, Sam Neill went to Prague in the Czech Republic to film The
Zookeeper with Om Puri and numerous elephants. During this time Two Paddocks
released its 1998 vintage of Neill Pinot Noir. It wasn't long before the
Jurassic Park III rumors began and in late June, it was confirmed
that for the first time he would be reprising one of his charcters, playing
Dr. Alan Grant in the third installment of the internationally successful
movie series. Filming commenced in Hawaii in September, moved to California,
and completed in January 2001 and the film was scheduled to open in mid-July
2001. Meanwhile, the trio of Australian films Sam Neill made in 1999 began
opening Down Under. My Mother Frank debuted in August; The Magic
Pudding opened at Christmastime and in between was the runaway success
of The Dish. Now one of the highest-grossing Australian films in the
country's history, The Dish opened in October 2000 to mostly good
reviews and sailed to more than AU$17 million at the box office. The film
won the Silver Medal Audience Award at the 2000 Toronto Film Festival and
Mr. Neill and director Rob Sitch were also found promoting it at Sundance
2001. The movie opened in the North America in March 2001, garnering very
good reviews from the US and Canadian press. My Mother Frank yielded
Sam his third nomination at the Australian Film Institute Awards and The
Dish led him to an Australian Film Critics' Circle Best Actor Nomination.
After completing work on Jurassic Park III, Sam Neill returned to
New Zealand to film Space/Final Frontiers, a BBC documentary about
the beginning of the universe.
Sam Neill married make-up artist Noriko Watanabe in September 1989. They
met on the set of Dead Calm in 1987 and have subsequently worked together
on several movies including Death in Brunswick and The Jungle Book
. She continues to have an active career outside of her husband's, working
on other projects, especially in Australia, including the 1994 Australian
Film Institute Best Picture Muriel's Wedding and director P.J. Hogan's
American film My Best Friend's Wedding. In 1983, Neill had a son,
Tim, with actress Lisa Harrow. Tim spends time with both his parents. Lisa
Harrow is now married to a marine biologist. Noriko Watanabe has a daughter
named Maiko who is a couple of years older than Tim. Neill and Watanabe have
another daughter Elena, born in 1990. The family resides in Sydney although
Neill retains his New Zealand citizenship. In addition, because of British
citizenship laws and Neill's birth in Northern Ireland, Neill retains British
citizenship as well. The family also has a residence in Otago, and vineyards
near Queenstown on the South Island of New Zealand. The vineyards sell Pinot
Noir under the registered trademark Two Paddocks. For more information visit
the Two Paddocks Web site. Mr.
Neill guards his privacy fiercely and we respect that, encouraging anyone
reading this FAQ to do the same.
1.4 How do I contact him or join the mailing list?
(Info on agent, Sam Neill Appreciation Society, mailing list)
Sam Neill's American agent is Ed Limato of International Creative Management.
He can be reached at the following address:
International Creative Management
8942 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
For information about joining the Sam Neill Appreciation Society and Mailing
List, visit the Contact and Fandom Page.
Information: Auf Deutsch, En español, En français, Na russkom
All fan mail should be labeled "Fan Mail" and can be sent to him at the
Mr Sam Neill
Shanahan Management Pty Ltd
P.O. Box 1509
Darlinghurst NSW 1300
For information about Two Paddocks Vineyards (owned by Sam Neill), please
visit the Two Paddocks Vineyards
Website. You'll find lots of information about the wines, how to order it
and additional contact information for the vineyard.
For information about Huntaway Films (co-owned by Sam Neill), please visit
the Huntaway Films Website.
1.5 Biography Credits
The biography was written by Erika Grams using sources available in the public
domain. Contributions also came from members of the Sam Neill mailing list.
Quotes came from several articles listed in the Sam Neill bibliography. Special
acknowledgment should go to the following articles:
"Sam Neill" by Tamara Martyn in Pacific Way, June 1992.
"Who the Heck is Sam Neill?" by Anne Thompson in Entertainment Weekly
, July 23, 1993
"Neill Appeal" by Kirsty Cameron in Who Weekly, August 23, 1993
Many special and heartfelt thanks to the best friend (as well as being
a great and cool Kiwi) anyone could have: Howard Silby. Additional thanks
go to Chriss Green for her comments and support and, of course, to Mr. Neill.
A complete filmography which includes plot descriptions, video availability,
links, and more, is available in the Filmography
section of the web pages (divided into sections covering appx. five years:
1995-1999, 2000-2004). The list below is made available for people who want a simple listing of
all of his films and television work. They are in chronological order. Guide
to listing: F=Full-length Feature, S=Short Film, TVM
=Made for Television Movie, TVS=Television Series, MS =Mini-Series
2.1 Acting Roles
2.1.1 Ashes (1975) - S
2.1.2 Landfall (1975) - S
2.1.3 Sleeping Dogs (1977) - F
2.1.4 My Brilliant Career (1979) - F
2.1.5 The Journalist (1979) - F
2.1.6 Just Out of Reach (1979) - S
2.1.7 Lucinda Brayford (1980) - MS
2.1.8 The Final Conflict aka Omen III (1981) - F
2.1.9 From a Far Country: Pope John Paul II (1981) - TVM
2.1.10 Possession (1981) - F
2.1.11 Attack Force Z aka The Z Men (1982) - F
2.1.12 Enigma (1982) - F
2.1.13 Ivanhoe (1982) - TVM
2.1.14 The Country Girls (1983) - TVM
2.1.15 Reilly: Ace of Spies (1983-4) - TVS
2.1.16 The Blood of Others aka Le Sang des autres (1984) -
2.1.17 Robbery Under Arms (1985) - MS
2.1.18 Kane and Abel (1985) - MS
2.1.19 Plenty (1985) - F
2.1.20 For Love Alone (1986) - F
2.1.21 Arthur Hailey's Strong Medicine (1986) - MS
2.1.22 The Good Wife aka The Umbrella Woman (1987) -F
2.1.23 Amerika (1987) - MS
2.1.24 Evil Angels aka A Cry in the Dark (1988) - F
2.1.25 Question of Faith aka Leap of Faith (1988) - TVM
2.1.26 Dead Calm (1989) - F
2.1.27 La Revolution francaise aka The French Revolution (1989)
2.1.28 The Hunt for Red October (1990) - F
2.1.29 Shadow of China (1991) - F
2.1.30 Death in Brunswick aka Nothing to Lose (1991) - F
2.1.31 Fever (1991) - TVM
2.1.32 One Against the Wind (1991) - TVM
2.1.33 Until the End of the World (1991) - F
2.1.34 Hostage (1992) - F
2.1.35 Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992) - F
2.1.36 The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior (1992) - TVM
2.1.37 Family Pictures (1993) - MS
2.1.38 Jurassic Park (1993) - F
2.1.39 the Piano (1993) - F
2.1.40 Sirens (1994) - F
2.1.41 Country Life (1994) - F
2.1.42 Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book (1994) - F
2.1.43 Restoration (1995) - F
2.1.44 In the Mouth of Madness (1995) - F
2.1.45 Victory (1995) - F
2.1.46 Forgotten Silver (1996) - S
2.1.47 Children of the Revolution (1996) - F
2.1.48 In Cold Blood (1996) - MS
2.1.49 Event Horizon (1997) - F
2.1.50 The Grimm Brothers: Snow White in the Black Forest aka Snow
White: A Tale of Terror (1997) - F
2.1.51 The Revengers' Comedies aka Sweet Revenge (1998) - F
2.1.52 The Horse Whisperer (1998) - F
2.1.53 Merlin (1998) - MS
2.1.54 Molokai (1999) - F
2.1.55 Bicentennial Man (1999) - F
2.1.56 My Mother Frank (2000) - F
2.1.57 The Magic Pudding (2000) - F
2.1.58 The Dish (2000) - F
2.1.59 Sally Hemings: An American Scandal (2000) - MS
2.1.60 The Zookeeper (2001) - F
2.1.61 Jurassic Park III (2001) - F
2.1.62 Space aka Final Frontiers aka Hyperspace (2001)
2.1.63 Submerged (2001) - TVM
2.1.64 Framed (2002) - TVM
2.1.65 Dirty Deeds (2002) - F
2.1.66 Doctor Zhivago (2002) - MS
2.1.67 Perfect Strangers (2003) - F
2.2 Directed Films
2.2.1 Telephone Etiquette (1974) - S
2.2.2 Four Shorts on Architecture (1975) - S
2.2.3 Architect Athfield (1977) - S
2.2.4 On the Road with Red Mole (1977) - S
2.2.5 Flare, A Ski Trip (1977) - S
2.2.6 Surf Sail (1978) - S
2.2.7 New Country, New People (1978) - S
2.2.8 Cinema of Unease (1995) - S
2.3 Other Activities
2.3.1 The Seal Hunters (1971) -- Editor
2.3.2 Games '74: Official Film of the Xth British Commonwealth Games, Christchurch,
New Zealand, 1974 (1974) -- Location Assistant
2.3.3 Festival (1976) -- Associate Director
2.3.4 Young Ramsay (1979) - TVS -- Guest Role: Crossland
2.3.5 The Sullivans -- (1980) - TVS -- Guest Role: Ben Dawson
2.3.6 On the Beach -- Audiobook Read on tape by Sam Neill "On the
Beach" by Nevil Shute. 1981 -- Published in Australia. 1985 -- Published
in Canada by Listen for Pleasure, Ontario .
2.3.7 The Simpsons -- (1994) - TVS -- Guest Voice: Malloy in
"Homer the Vigilante"
2.3.8 Narrated a documentary on whales
2.3.9 Narrated a documentary about Split Enz called Spellbound
2.3.10 Starred in a series of MCI Worldcom commercials for their On-Net service
2.3.11 The Games -- (1998) - TVS - Guest Star: Citytrans CEO
in Episode 1.13 "Transport"
2.3.12 Guested as Country Music Television Celebrity VJ on Foxtel in Australia,
2.3.13 Appeared on 20/20 New Zealand in November 2000 to discuss the
controversy over development in the Wakatipu Basin
2.3.14 Narrated Supercroc in 2001 for the National Geographic Channel.
2.3.15 Narrated a several short cartoons based on the work of Michael Leunig
(2001). They have been made available, along with a documentary, on a 2-DVD set called Leunig Animated -- Two good fan sites: Curly Flat
2.3.16 Voiced Sir Hubert Wilkins in the documentary Voyage of the Nautilus
about the Australian explorer (2002)
2.4 Awards and Honors
1983 -- Golden Globe Nomination, Best Actor for Reilly
1983 -- Most Popular Actor Award, British TV Awards, for Reilly
1988 -- Australian Film Institute, Best Actor Award, Evil Angels
1991 -- Australian Film Institute, Best Actor Nomination, for Death in
1991 -- Order of the
British Empire (O.B.E.) for "services to acting"
1992 -- Golden Globe Nomination, Best Supporting Actor for One Against
1993 -- Australian Film Institute, Best Supporting Actor Nomination, for
1995 -- New Zealand Film Institute Best Documentary Award, Cinema of Unease
1998 -- Emmy Nomination, Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Special, for Merlin
1998 -- Golden Globe Nomination, Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Special, for
1999 -- Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Nomination, Best Supporting Actor
in a Drama/Romance for The Horse Whisperer
2000 -- Australian Film Institute, Best Supporting Actor Nomination, for
My Mother Frank
2000 -- Film Critics Circle of Australia, Best Actor Nomination, for The
2001 -- Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival Award, Best Actor, for The Zookeeper
2.5 How can I find or get copies of these films or
Most films listed as "On Video" in the Filmography pages
can be ordered through your local video store, companies like SunCoast or through
web-based video stores.
3.0 What else can you tell me about him?
3.1 Miscellaneous trivia
- He likes to read science-fiction and is very fond of the author Iain Banks (the latter's
fiction as well).
- He is good friends with director John Carpenter and both are fans
of the Beach Boys.
- His family had lots of horses -- grew up riding them.
- Architecture is one of his passions.
- The Simpsons and Seinfeld are his favorite American
- On the Today show with Katie Couric, Neill denied rumors (begun by
Laura Dern) of involvement with the bigger velociraptor in Jurassic Park
: "I deny this. It's a bare-faced lie. There was a purely professional relationship.
We may have held claws once in a while, but that's it."
- His great-great grandfather aided in burning down the White House
in the War of 1812.
- The movie which first caused him to be interested in film as a medium
was Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious.
- One of his favorite film performances is James Woods in Salvador
- He considers Heavenly Creatures the best New Zealand film yet
made, though he remains partial to the Piano. It is the one movie
of his he would recommend because "It's the only one that made me cry."
- His favorite food is macaroni and cheese and he likes boysenberry
- Australian artist Davida Allen used him as inspiration for a series
of paintings including "Sam Neill Fantasy Series 1986".
- He admires fashion designer Yohji
Yamamoto and often wears his suits.
- One of his favorite books is the Booker-prize winner Restoration
by Rose Tremain.
- His favorite painter is New Zealander Colin McCahon. He is friends
with painter Grahame Sydney and
owns several of his works.
- He is friends with New Zealand musicians Neil Finn and Tim Finn (of Crowded
House and Split Enz) and with Jimmy Barnes.
- He has commented that the funniest person he knows is actor John Clarke,
who he shared the screen with in Death in Brunswick, and who is also
a friend from college.
- In his free time, he likes to paint (watercolors) and he plays the
- In the film Event Horizon, he replaced the Union Jack on the
Australian flag with the Aboriginal flag ( full story)
- The first vintage (1997 Two Paddocks
Pinot Noir) from his New Zealand vineyard was so popular domestically that
none was left over for export.
- He supports the Australian Labor
Party, Greenpeace, OxFam, and the World Wildlife Fund. He is a patron of
the National Performance
Conference. He also donated a pair of jeans to the Jeans for Genes®
auction; they were painted by artist Merv Moriarty and auctioned off in August
- In 2002, along with friends John Clarke and Jay Cassells, Sam Neill
founded the Production Company Huntaway
Films with the goals "to provide a focus for the development and production
of film and television projects; to work in collaboration with New Zealand
and Australian writers and film makers and to use the long term experience
and contacts of its people to develop and realise their projects; to record
and tell New Zealand and Australian stories for us and for the world; to do
good work; No principled objection will be made to the prospect of making
- Sam is on the Sustainability
Council which is a watch dog for Genetic Engineering (GE) and Genetic
Modification (GM) in NZ; he is also on the board of National Parks and Conservation.
- Like James Earl Jones, Marilyn Monroe, and many others, he stammered as a
child. For more information about developmental stuttering, visit The Stuttering
Home Page. He is a supporter of the Australian Speak Easy Association
and the British Stammering
3.2 Actresses he has worked opposite of
Sam Neill has been fortunate enough to work opposite some of the most talented
and most beautiful actresses of this era. Of course, he has worked opposite
great male actors and with great directors as well, but these are the women
whose characters he romanced:
AND, even though his characters did not specifically romance these women,
we feel obliged to put them in any list of most talented and beautiful:
- Judy Davis (My Brilliant Career, One Against the Wind
, Children of the Revolution)
- Lisa Harrow (The Final Conflict, From a Far Country
- Isabelle Adjani (Possession)
- Olivia Hussey (Ivanhoe)
- Jodie Foster (The Blood of Others)
- Joanne Whalley (Reilly: Ace of Spies)
- Helen Buday (For Love Alone)
- Rachel Ward (The Good Wife)
- Mariel Hemingway (Amerika)
- Meryl Streep (Plenty, Evil Angels/A Cry in the Dark
- Anne Archer (Question of Faith)
- Nicole Kidman (Dead Calm)
- Zoe Carides (Death in Brunswick)
- Marcia Gay Harden (Fever)
- Solveig Dommartin (Until the End of the World)
- Talisa Soto (Hostage)
- Angelica Huston (Family Pictures)
- Laura Dern (Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III)
- Holly Hunter (the Piano)
- Kerry Fox AND Greta Scacchi (Country Life)
- Polly Walker (Restoration)
- Rachel Griffiths (Children of the Revolution)
- Sigourney Weaver (Snow White: A Tale of Terror)
- Kristin Scott Thomas (The Revengers' Comedies, The Horse
- Isabella Rossellini (Merlin)
- Sinéad Cusack (My Mother Frank)
- Wendy Crewson (Bicentennial Man)
- Carmen Ejogo (Sally Hemings)
- Maryam d'Abo AND Keira Knightley (Doctor Zhivago)
- Christine Lahti (Amerika)
- Jane Seymour (The French Revolution)
- Meg Ryan (Restoration)
- Irène Jacob (Victory)
- Elle Macpherson, Portia de Rossi, and Tara Fitzgerald (Sirens)
- Kathleen Quinlan and Joely Richardson (Event Horizon)
- Helena Bonham Carter (The Revengers' Comedies, Merlin
- Miranda Richardson (Merlin)
- Alice Krige (Molokai)
- Embeth Davidtz (Bicentennial Man)
- Mare Winningham (Sally Hemings)
- Téa Leoni (Jurassic Park III)
- Toni Collette (The Magic Pudding, Dirty Deeds)
3.3 Separated at Birth? (Famous figures sometimes
confused with Sam Neill)
- Robert Urich (This makes watching Amerika tough for the uninitiated)
- Sting (See Death in Brunswick)
- Dennis Quaid
- Ian Charleson
- Wallace Kurth
- Chad Everett
- Robert Wagner
- Bruce Greenwood
- Hugo Weaving
- Peter Gabriel
- Steve Waugh
- Stephen Collins
- Mark Hamill
- Justin Hayward
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Copyright © Erika Grams 1995-2003 / Thanks to Ibiblio.org for hosting this site and
for technical assistance. Additional thanks to Kevin Nicastro for years of
help and assistance!