Sam Neill: Dropping 'Embarrassing' Birth Name Was My Best Decision

Sam Neill delves into latest role in drama series.

by Nouman Rasool
Sam Neill: Dropping 'Embarrassing' Birth Name Was My Best Decision
© Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Show host Kelly Clarkson was taken by surprise at hearing that the real name of the actor was not Sam Neil , and the actor told how he was not at all comfortable with his real name. "That's embarrassing that you know that. I was christened Nigel Neill – that's like my parents giving me a disadvantage from the start," Neill admitted.

Despite Clarkson's attempt to reframe "Nigel Neill" as a strong name, the 76-year-old "Jurassic Park" star disagreed, humorously explaining the negative connotations associated with the name Nigel in his view. “No, no.

You never want to be called Nigel. It’s also called ‘Nigel No Mates’, you know, ‘Nigel No Friends,’” he explained, reflecting on the cultural implications of the name in his native New Zealand.

Neill recounted his childhood memories, where he and his best friend, humorously named Nigel Nut, decided to adopt nicknames inspired by their love for Western films. “We thought, ‘let’s not just call ourselves Nigel, let’s have a nickname.’ So I was called Sam and he was called Bill, and that was the best decision I ever made,” Neill shared, marking the origin of his stage name, which would soon become iconic.

Neill's Newest Mystery

Besides sharing a few revelations about his name, the actor also made a revelation about his newest role in "Apples Never Fall," a Peacock mystery drama miniseries adapted from the novel by Liane Moriarty, released in 2021.

The series unravels the aftermath of the mysterious disappearance of the matriarch of the Delaney family, played by Annette Bening. All seven episodes are available for streaming on Peacock. In addition to his professional updates, Neill touched on personal matters, notably his health.

Last March, he disclosed in his memoir, "Did I Ever Tell You This?" that he was undergoing treatment for angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma. Fortunately, Neill later confirmed a remission status during an interview with ABC’s "Australian Story," maintaining a courageous outlook on his prognosis.

“I’m prepared for that,” he stated, regarding the potential failure of treatments, adding that he is “not remotely afraid” of death. The actor also dismissed any notions of retiring, emphasizing his passion for acting.

“The idea of giving up my day job? Intolerable! I love acting. It’s really good for me to keep walking onto new sets with young actors and all that stimulation. New words, new ideas, there’s nothing like it. I never want to give that up,” Neill passionately expressed.