Sam played the part of Merlin in the film 'Merlin'


Date of birth 14th September 1947

Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, UK

Birth name Nigel Neill

Height 6' (1.83 m)


Sam was born on the 14th of September, 1947. His dad, Dermot, was a third-generation New Zealander, whose family ran Neill And Co, one of the biggest booze wholesalers on the islands.  Like many of the Neills, Dermot was a military man (it's rumoured that his great-granddad helped burn down the White House in 1812). He'd attended Harrow in the UK, then Sandhurst military academy, where he met his wife, an Englishwoman named Priscilla. They bore one son, Michael, then were stationed in Northern Ireland, in Omagh, where Nigel and a further daughter were born. In 1954, the family returned to New Zealand, Dermot moving into the family business.

When Sam returned to New Zealand, he changed his name to (Sam - he had a stammer and this was the nick name he was given) he consequently kept the name.   He attended the Anglican boys' school Christ College, in Christchurch, studied conscientiously, and won a place at Canterbury University, studying English.  It was here that he became interested in drama.

Sam was now working in Australia in a TV series called The Sullivans.

When Roger Moore quite a James Bond - Sam almost took up the role himself.

Later came the Film Dead Calm, a film that is often shown on TV here in the UK.  Sam  also played along side Sean Connery in Tom Clancy's The Hunt For Red October.

Sam was then in the title role of the film Merlin, Neill took on Bonham Carter's Morgan and Miranda Richardson's fabulous Queen Mab and eventually lived a lovely forever with Isabella Rossellini.