In his new memoir “Did I Ever Tell You This?” the actor wrote about being born “Nigel John Dermot Neill” and the animosity it stirred in him against his mother and father.
“The one thing I resent about my parents, the only thing, is that they called me Nigel,” Neill wrote, the Daily Mail reported on Wednesday. “Changing my name to Sam at the age of 11 was probably the best decision I made in my life.”
Neill, born in Northern Ireland and raised in New Zealand, told the Otago Daily Times in 2009 that “Nigel was a little effete for the rigors of a New Zealand playground.” And he said it to a reporter named Nigel.
Neill explained to the outlet that there were multiple Nigels at his boarding school, so “I encouraged the nickname, because I thought I’d be slightly less likely to be victimized.”
Neill, 75, also is known for his roles in “The Piano” and “Dead Calm.” He said recently he is being treated for blood cancer, and is in remission.