Sam Neill was born in Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, to army parents, an English-born mother, Priscilla Beatrice (Ingham), and a New Zealand-born father, Dermot Neill. His family moved to the South Island of New Zealand in 1954. He went to boarding schools and then attended the universities at Canterbury and Victoria. He has a BA in English Literature. Following his graduation, he worked with the New Zealand Players and other theater groups. He also was a film director, editor and scriptwriter for the New Zealand National Film Unit for 6 years.
Sam Neill is internationally recognised for his contribution to film and television. He is well known for his roles in Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park (1993) and Jane Campion's Academy Award Winning film The Piano (1993). Other film roles include The Daughter (2015), Backtrack (2015) opposite Adrien Brody, MindGamers (2015), United Passions (2014), A Long Way Down (2014), Escape Plan (2013), The Hunter (2011) with Willem Dafoe, Daybreakers (2009), Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (2010), Little Fish (2005) opposite Cate Blanchett, Skin (2008), Dean Spanley (2008), Wimbledon (2004), Yes (2004), Perfect Strangers (2003), Dirty Deeds (2002), The Zookeeper (2001), Bicentennial Man (1999) opposite Robin Williams, The Horse Whisperer (1998) alongside Kristin Scott Thomas, Sleeping Dogs (1977), and My Brilliant Career (1979).
He received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for the NBC miniseries Merlin (1998). He also received a Golden Globe nomination for One Against the Wind (1991), and for Reilly: Ace of Spies (1983). The British Academy of Film and Television honoured Sam's work in Reilly by naming him Best Actor. Sam received an AFI Award for Best Actor for his role in Jessica (2004).
Other television includes House of Hancock (2015), Rake (2010), Doctor Zhivago (2002), To the Ends of the Earth (2005), The Tudors (2007) with Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Crusoe (2008), Alcatraz (2012) and recently in Old School (2014) opposite Bryan Brown, Peaky Blinders (2013) alongside Cillian Murphy and The Dovekeepers (2015) for CBS Studios.More