Actor, Director, Producer Sam Neill

Sam Neill is often mistaken for British when in reality he is from New Zealand and he is often mistaken for an actor when in reality he is an actor, director, and producer. This triple threat may not be recognizable to many people by name but show people a picture of Sam Neill in his Indiana Jones get-up, complete with hat, and you will recognize him as the guy from Jurassic Park. But he is so much more than that.
Sam Neill was born on September 14, 1947 while his parents were stationed with the army in Northern Ireland. What army you may ask? Why the New Zealand army of course. The family remained in Ireland for 7 years until in 1954 they returned to the home in the South Island of New Zealand. He received his education throughout his childhood in boarding schools throughout New Zealand and then he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English studies after attending the universities of Canterbury and Victoria in Australia. Upon graduation from college in Australia Sam Neill returned home to New Zealand where he became part of the stage production team the New Zealand Players and spent 6 years as an editor and scriptwriter for the New Zealand Film Unit. In 1974 he wrote, directed, and produced a short documentary called Telephone Etiquette and that is when Sam Neill found his way to the motion picture business.

Sam Neill started appearing in films in 1975 with a role as a priest in another short film called Ashes. It was written by famed poet TS Eliot and it helped Sam Neill land a role in his first real movie called Landfall also released in 1975. Landfall did not do anything for Sam Neill’s career but he kept plugging away and in 1976 he landed the lead role in a real honest-to-goodness released for money film called Sleeping Dogs. But Sam Neill could not sit still and just act. He once said that if acting was all he did he would go crazy and in 1977 he proved that with, on top of starring in his first real movie, he continued to direct short films and produced three of them in 1977 alone. Sam Neill stayed off the big screen for a couple of years until he resurfaced again in the 1979 comedy bomb The Journalist. Sam Neill spent the next few years building up a resume as an actor, director, and producer and all the while he was slowly building a reputation as an international actor. Finally in 1990 he landed a large part in the huge blockbuster The Hunt For Red October and after that point there was no looking back for Sam Neill.

Whomever did not recognize Sam Neill after The Hunt For Red October would be unable to avoid his face after he appeared in the Steven Spielberg smash hit Jurassic Park in 1993. His role as Dr. Alan Grant in Jurassic Park, and later in 2001 finale to the trilogy Jurassic Park III, made him one of those actors you would recognize if you saw him but his name escapes you. That is fine with Sam Neill and he doesn’t mind that limited notoriety at all. He continues to act, direct, and produce movies and was one of the actors that made the final round of consideration to be the new James Bond for the 1987 Bond film The Living Daylights. But he keeps moving right along and even though you may not know his name that has not prevented him from having a successful enough career to have homes in Beverly Hills, Sydney, and New Zealand. Sam Neill has done well for himself and at 60 years old he is still working hard doing the things he loves best. For all he has accomplished in his career Sam Neill has never been nominated for an Oscar. Perhaps one of his projects will someday give him the chance to lift the little gold statue and put a well deserved exclamation point on to a wonderful career.
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