Born in Northern Ireland to army parents, his family returned 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. His first feature film was Sleeping Dogs (1977). He then moved to Australia and his performance in My Brilliant Career (1979) was noticed in London by British actor James Mason who lobbied for Neill to get the lead role in Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981). Because of this, Neill moved to England where he also became famous as the title character in "Reilly: Ace of Spies" (1983). After his Great Britain stint, he moved back to Australia in the late 1980s. He now makes films all over the world. In 1993, he achieved "commercial and critical success" with Jurassic Park (1993) and The Piano (1993).IMDb Mini Biography By: Erika Grams
|Noriko Watanabe||(2 September 1989 - present) 1 child|
He has homes in Beverly Hills, Sydney and New Zealand.
Awarded the O.B.E. for Service to Acting (1993).
"Best Actor on British Television" for "Reilly: Ace of Spies" (1983), Australian Film Institute Award "Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role" for A Cry in the Dark (1988) (aka "Cry in the Dark (1988)").
His vineyard is in the Gibbston Valley, Otago. His wine is a Pinot Noir called Two Paddocks.
One of the original candidates for the fourth and fifth actor to portray James Bond - 007 in The Living Daylights (1987) and GoldenEye (1995). Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan ended up as James Bond, respectively.
Montana is a recurring element in his films: in The Hunt for Red October (1990) he wants to live in Montana; in The Horse Whisperer (1998) he goes to Montana to find with his wife; in Jurassic Park (1993) he is digging up fossils in Montana.
He is a big fan of The Beach Boys.
Moved to New Zealand at age 7.
Born to Dermot Neill, a New Zealand army officer, and his English wife Priscilla.
Studied at the University of Canterbury and at the Victoria University in Wellington, from which he graduated with a BA in English Literature.
Owns a winery, Two Paddocks, in the Central Otago region of New Zealand. It was started in 1993.
Suffered with a stammer when he was younger.
"Of all the characters I've played, I think I have more in common with that guy than with "Reilly: Ace of Spies" (1983) referring to Carl Fitzgerald in Death in Brunswick (1990). Who Weekly (NZ) 8/23/93.
Referring to "The Simpsons" (1989): "I'm playing a cat burglar. I've made it. This is the high point of my career. I'm really chuffed". EW, 7/23/93.
"Perhaps we should look at somewhere else where they recently used the time-old bribe of tax cuts, and see how it worked. In 2000, George W. Bush, under the reasonable sounding 'compassionate conservatism', offered huge tax cuts. And he delivered. Take a look at America now. The rich are certainly richer, but the economy is in the tank, a healthy surplus has been converted into a massive deficit, and the U.S. is a place that cannot even afford the basics. Like maintaining levees in low-lying Louisiana. Might I suggest that tax cuts led indirectly to the flooding of New Orleans?".
If all I did was acting, I'd go out of my mind.
The pathetic thing about actors is they don't feel valid unless they're acting.
(2012, on My Brilliant Career) A most important role for me, I must say, because that's the film that took me out of New Zealand, the film that allowed me to live and work in Australia, which I love. Yeah, that was probably more transformative than anything else I've done, in a way. Without that film, I never would've-prior to that, I'd done Sleeping Dogs, and I thought, "That was a one-off, I'll never do another film." And if you look at Sleeping Dogs, you think, "Well, I wouldn't use that bugger again." But I did get cast in Brilliant Career, I kind of understood a little bit more about what was necessary, and it was a great opportunity for me. That film changed me into an actor rather than just a part-time thespian.
(2012, on Dead Calm) Well, that was fantastically good fun, actually, although quite a lot of the time we were seasick and cold and wet and stuff like that. It was a very interesting film to do, as there were only three characters, you know, but it works very well, and it built quite a few careers. For [director] Phillip Noyce, it launched him into big action films, and there's this Australian actress called Nicole Kidman in it who you might've heard of...
(2012, on filming Sleeping Dogs and working with Warren Oates) You see, that was my first feature film of all, with my friend Roger Donaldson, and there I really had no idea what I was doing. In fact, none of us did. Apart from Michael Seresin, who shot it, no one on that production had ever made a feature film before. In fact, there hadn't been a feature film made in New Zealand for something like 17 years. So we were really... We lit a little candle, which didn't illuminate much of the darkness in front of us, but we got through it. It's a very uneven film, and I'm pretty uneven in it. Oh, actually, the other person on the film who had any experience was, of course, the wonderful Warren Oates. He came in for about two weeks, I think, and... He discovered on day one, I think, that in the area of New Zealand where we were working, they grow the best marijuana, and so he was basically smoking joints all day. In some of the scenes where he's playing Col. Willoughby, a U.S. army advisor in New Zealand, he's addressing his men with his hands behind his back, and you might even possibly detect the little curving smoke behind his right shoulder, because he wouldn't even put the joint aside when the camera was rolling. He just put it behind his back! But Warren was a lovely guy, and when he left-I'll never forget this, actually: He shook my hand, and he said, "Goodbye, Sam! I'll see you in the movies!" It was such a surprising thing for him to say, but I was very touched by it. I never saw him again, because he died rather young not very long after that. But he lived hard, you know. And he had some great stories of the madness of working with Sam Peckinpah.
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