Actor Sam Neill revealed that his real first name is “Nigel” and shared the reason why he changed it to “Sam” during his childhood growing up in New Zealand during a Tuesday, April 30, appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show.

“I was christened Nigel Neill — that’s like my parents giving me a disadvantage from the start,” Sam, 76, told Kelly when the Emmy winner said she just found out his real name.

Kelly, 42, gushed that the name Nigel Neill “is strong,” but Sam begged to differ, as the first name was the subject of childhood taunting for him.

“No, no, you never want to be called Nigel. It’s also called ‘Nigel No Mates,’ you know, ‘Nigel No Friends,'” the Jurassic Park star countered.

Sam Neill Reveals the Reason He Changed His Name During Childhood
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Sam recalled how his best friend as a child was also named Nigel, but his surname made things even worse. “When I was 10, my best friend was called Nigel Nut and I was Nigel Neill. Yeah, that was a disadvantage,” he joked.

“But we liked Westerns, and we thought, ‘let’s not just call ourselves Nigel, let’s have nickname.’ So, I was called Sam and he was called Bill, and that was the best decision I ever made,” the Apples Never Fall star revealed.

Sam added how he thought the name change as a child helped him out professionally later in his life, telling Kelly, “There are no film actors called Nigel Neill. That’s never going to happen, you know.”

The Horse Whisperer star was born Nigel John Dermot Neill in Northern Ireland in 1947. His family relocated to New Zealand when Sam was 7 years old. He grew up in Christchurch, New Zealand, and attended college at the city’s University of Canterbury.

Sam caught the acting bug while at college and went on to work in some local New Zealand films in the mid 1970s before moving to Australia. He found his first international success starring opposite Judy Davis in the 1979 film My Brilliant Career.

Sam Neill Reveals the Reason He Changed His Name During Childhood
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His profile soared in 1987 when Sam starred opposite Meryl Streep in A Cry in the Dark. The following year, he starred opposite Nicole Kidman in her first major film, the psychological thriller at sea, Dead Calm.

Sam achieved worldwide fame in 1993’s Jurassic Park, starring as the lead, Dr. Alan Grant. He reprised the role in 2001’s Jurassic Park III, as well as 2022’s Jurassic World Dominion.

For his services as an actor, Sam was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1991 during Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday honors. He was appointed a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (DCNZM) in 2007.