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Sam Neill Facts
Who is Sam Neill?
The first time I ever saw Sam Neill was in the movie Omen 3 The Final Conflict as the adult Damien Thorne. In that movie he was darkly handsome and very sexy especially with those piercing blue eyes.
Damien Thorne was the antichrist and this series of movies chronicled Damien's life from childhood (The Omen) through the teenage years (The Omen 2) to adulthood (Omen 3 Final Conflict). These movies were made in 1976, 1978 and 1981 respectively.
I think the next time I saw Sam Neill was in the TV mini-series Reilly Ace of Spies which came out in 1983.
This lens is about my favourite movies that Sam Neill has been in, over the last 30 years. All photos copyrighted to the film studios.
The History of Sam Neill
The first thing you gotta know about Sam Neill is that he is a wine connossieur. And why is that? Simple. He grew up around wine. His father and grandfather owned a company in New Zealand called Neill and Co which imported and sold wines and liquor including French wines from Bordeaux.
Sam Neill was born Nigel John Dermot Neill in Omagh, Northern Ireland in 1947. His father Dermot Neill was a 3rd generation Kiwi (the nickname for all New Zealand citizens) and his mother Priscilla was from England. Dermot Neill was in the British army. Nigel and his family eventually returned to NZ when Nigel was 7 years old and the family settled in Christchurch. Nigel was educated at Christs College where there were too many boys named Nigel. So he became known as Sam at school and has chosen to keep that name as his professional name.
Sam attended the University of Canterbury (in Christchurch) and Victoria University (in Wellington) from which he graduated with a degree in English Literature. But university also gave him his first taste of acting. Sam's first job after graduation was with the New Zealand National Film Unit in Wellington where he started out as an editor and worked his way up to director. I think having this variety of experience is what has enabled Sam to be as diverse as he has been, in the international acting business. Sam is as comfortable narrating and hosting a TV documentary film or series as he is acting both for the small screen and the large screen.
Sam has won Golden Gobe and Emmy awards for his TV work, but has never been nominated for, let alone won an Oscar (Motion Picture Academy Award) - something I think needs to be put right ASAP.
Sam Neill - This is Your Life
Sam Neill is a reasonably private person. In his personal life he has been married for 21 years (since 1989) to Noriko Watanabe (a makeup artist from Japan) whom he met on the set of Dead Calm. Their daughter Elena was born in Sydney Australia in 1991. So far the only image I have been able to find of Elena, is this one dated 2002. She would have been aged 10 or 11
Sam also lived with another Kiwi actress - Lisa Harrow - in the early 1980s. They met on the set of Omen 3 The Final Conflict in 1981 in which Lisa played a reporter named Kate Reynolds. She gave birth to Sam's son Timothy in Sydney Australia in 1983. Tim now works in the Australian film industry as miscellaneous camera crew and electrician.
And in 1993, Sam planted 5 acres of grapes in central Otago (South island, New Zealand) and started his own vineyard and winery label. Its called Two Paddocks. The vineyard has now been expanded and is now producing award winning pinot noir wines.
Where to find Sam Neill online
Sam Neill in the Movies and on TV
Sam Neill has always been able to move easily between big screen movies and the small screen TV over the last 30 years - something that most actors cannot do. Mind you, Neill prefers to stick to TV movies and Miniseries, but sometimes does do episodic TV as well. I dont want to list all of Sam Neill's work here - you can see that on his IMDB page
So I will just list MY favourite top 10 movies and TV work, that I have seen Sam Neill in, over the last 30 years.
My most favorite Sam Neill movie is Hunt for Red October. Because it had two of my favourite actors in it - Sam Neill and Sean Connery. I was very disappointed that Sam Neills character was killed off half way through the movie. If he has to die for the story, at least he gets a great death scene. His last words are memorable. I would like to have seen Montana.
Omen 3 - Final Conflict (1981)
Cry in the Dark (1988)
Dead Calm (1989)
Hunt for Red October (1990)
The Piano (1993)
Bicentennial Man (1999)
The Dish (2000)
Jurassic Park 3 (2001)
Jurassic Park - the first movie - was made in 1993