Born in Omagh, Northern Ireland, Neil moved to Christchurch, New Zealand, with his family in 1954, where he attended Christ’s College, an Anglican boarding school for boys.
Later, he studied English literature at the University of Canterbury, where he was first exposed to acting. Neil then moved to Wellington to continue his higher education at Victoria University, where he graduated with a BA in English Literature.
Neil’s breakthrough performance in New Zealand was Sleeping Dogs (1977), which was the first domestic film to be widely shown abroad.
This recognition landed him for leading roles in international films such as Omen III: The Final Conflict and Possession, both released in 1981.
However, Neil’s claim to fame was his role as Dr. Alan Grant in the blockbuster Jurassic Park (1993).
The movie was a massive hit, and Neil’s performance was widely appreciated, which earned him worldwide recognition. He reprized the role in the third and final installments of the franchise, Jurassic Park III (2001) and Jurassic World Dominion (2022), respectively.
Apart from movies, Neil has also appeared in several TV series, including Reilly and the Ace of Spies (1983), Merlin (1998), Peaky Blinders (2013-2014), and Rick and Morty (2019), to name a few. inventory. He has presented and narrated numerous documentaries, showcasing his versatility as an artist.
In addition to his acting career, Neil has an interesting family history. His father, an army officer, was a second-generation New Zealander, while his mother was English. His great-grandfather Percival “Percy” Neal left Belfast, Ireland, for Melbourne, to join a firm of merchants.
After four years, he moved to New Zealand in 1863, settling in Dunedin. He was the son of a wine merchant who imported wine from France.
Sam Neill revealed in March 2023 that he was undergoing chemotherapy after being diagnosed with stage 3 T-cell lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.