The Jurassic Park star was born Nigel John Dermot Neill in Northern Ireland before the family moved to New Zealand when he was seven and the actor has revealed he got so fed up with his name he decided to change it to Sam.
In his book Did I Ever Tell You This, Sam wrote: “The one thing I resent about my parents, the only thing, is that they called me Nigel. Changing my name to Sam at the age of 11 was probably the best decision I made in my life.”
The movie star previously revealed he picked up the nickname Sam while he was at school because there were three other Nigels there and he “clung” to it in a bid to avoid being bullied.
In a 2009 interview with the Otago Daily Times, he explained: “I encouraged the nickname, because I thought I’d be slightly less likely to be victimised. I clung on to ‘Sam’ with great enthusiasm. Nigel was a little effete for the rigours of a New Zealand playground.”
The actor previously used his book to reveal he had been diagnosed with stage-three blood cancer, but he later confirmed to fans he has been in remission for the past eight months and is “very happy to be going back to work”.
In a post on Instagram, he wrote: “Hi I’m Sam Neill, actor of sorts , vintner, and an author as it happens . And my news seems to be all over the news at the moment , and it’s sort of ‘Cancer ! Cancer! Cancer !’ Which is slightly tiresome because as you see , I am alive and well and I have been in remission for eight months , which feels really good. And I’m alive and kicking and I’m going to work. I’m very happy to be going back to work . We start filming in seven days time . I’m doing a thing called ‘Apples Never Fall’ with Annette Bening , and a really wonderful cast . So here I am , and I just wish the headline wasn’t ‘that thing’ so much, because the main thing is that I have written this book , it’s called ‘Did I Ever Tell You This?’”