14 september, 1947
Nigel John Dermot "Sam" Neill, DCNZM, OBE is a New Zealand actor who first achieved leading roles in films such as Omen III: The Final Conflict and Dead Calm and on television in Reilly, Ace of Spies. He won a broad international audience in 1993 for his roles as Alisdair Stewart in The Piano and as Dr. Alan Grant in the blockbuster Jurassic Park, a role he reprised in 2001's Jurassic Park III. Neill also had notable roles in Merlin, The Hunt for Red October, and The Tudors.
Neill was born in Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, the second son of Dermot Neill, a Harrow- and Sandhurst-educated British Army officer and third-generation New Zealander, and his English wife, Priscilla (née Ingham). At the time of Neill's birth, his father was stationed in Northern Ireland, serving with the Irish Guards. His father's family owned Neill and Co., the largest liquor retailers in New Zealand.
In 1954, Neill returned with his family to New Zealand, where he attended the Anglican boys' boarding school Christ's College in Christchurch. He then went on to study English literature at the University of Canterbury where he had his first exposure to acting. While at university he lived at College House. He then moved to Wellington to continue his tertiary education at Victoria University. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English literature.
In 2004, on Australian talk show Enough Rope, interviewer Andrew Denton briefly touched on the issue of Neill's "very bad" stuttering. It affected most of his childhood and as a result he was "hoping that people wouldn't talk to [him]" so he would not have to answer back. He has mostly outgrown it, but claims it can still be detected to this day.
He first took to calling himself "Sam" at school where there were other Nigels and the name Nigel was "a little effete for ... a New Zealand playground"