Born to Brigadier General Ralph and Muriel Eggar in the picturesque town of Hampstead, England and christened Victoria Louise Samantha Marie Elizabeth Therese Eggar, little Samantha seemed, in her words, "immediately destined to be an actor or a nun." Known as "Sam" to her friends, she spent the first formative five years of her life in the beautiful countryside of Buckinghamshire and the next 12 years in a convent.
While at boarding school, she was given the opportunity to thrive in the arts, in school plays, in musical concerts and poetry competitions. Being "hopeless in mathematics" but excelling in sports, a competitive streak was encouraged at an early age.
When offered a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Sam's mother put her foot down. The difficult and insecure life of an actor was certainly not what she had in mind. But having said 'no' to a drama school, her mother surprisingly agreed to an art school, which indulged Sam's interests in drawing and painting.
After graduating from art school, she was accepted at the Webber Douglas School for Drama in London. Before even finishing the two-year program at Webber Douglas, she was offered the role of Lady Hamilton in a play written by Cecil Beaton, the famed photographer. More work immediately followed, putting her in classical productions of Shakespeare and Chekhov. Her first play, A Midsummer Night's Dream, landed her onstage with Albert Finney and then-unknowns David Warner and Lynn Redgrave.
While performing onstage at the Royal Court Theatre, Sam was seen by film producer Betty Box, who would cast her in her first film, The Wild and the Willing. Included in the cast were John Hurt and Ian McShane, and all of them a mere 19 years old. British films followed: dramas, then comedies with Dirk Bogarde and James Robertson Justice.
At the age of 25, Sam was nominated for an Academy Award in The Collector, directed by William Wyler. Known to be a demanding perfectionist, Wyler knew the fiesty redhead would be able to bring out everything he wanted in the role of kidnap victim Miranda Grey. Samantha met the challenge head-on and turned in a five-star, career-making performance, winning the Palme d'Or Best Actress Award at Cannes and a Golden Globe for the film.
At the time, she had recently married American actor Tom Stern, with whom she had the two loves of her life - her children, Nicolas and Jenna-Louise. (In spite of not wanting either of them to be in "the business," Samantha is happy to report that Nicolas has a successful career in film production, and Jenna-Louise is an accomplished actress in her own right.)
Never wanting to do the same thing twice, Sam soon began asking her agents to find her a comedy. Who knew that it would be one with Cary Grant? Walk, Don't Run was to be his last film, one in which he not only acted but produced.
After that, Samantha's request was, "How about a musical?" As fate would have it, Rex Harrison and Anthony Newley were making plans to star in Doctor Dolittle. According to Samantha, her six weeks of musical preparation, sitting on a stool in a recording studio with over a hundred musicians led by the incomparable Lionel Newman, was one of the most exciting things she had done in her life to that point. Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley's score and script about the protection of animals and the environment was far ahead of its time, and it remains to this day one of Sam's personal favourites.
Keeping extraordinary leading men in the fore, Samantha soon was cast with Sean Connery and Richard Harris in The Molly Maguires, a meaningful drama directed by the great Martin Ritt. The score by Henry Mancini was particularly remarkable. Sam's next leading man, this time in the CBS television series Anna and the King, was the incomparable Yul Brynner. Returning to the British Stage, she starred with Anthony Hopkins and Colin Firth in Arthur Schnitzler's The Lonely Road and reunited with John Hurt in Chekhov's The Seagull.
Back in America and wanting to stay in one place with her children, she took to Television, working with, among others, Stacy Keach, Audrey Hepburn, Robert Wagner, Patrick Stewart, Angela Lansbury and Donald Sutherland.
Samantha has appeared in over 90 films, television series and specials in all. Most recently she has brought her considerable talent to All My Children, Cold Case and Commander in Chief, winning over a whole new generation of fans. In 2009 she traveled to Bogota, Columbia to film Mental for Fox, and in February of 2010 she will MC the Catholics in Media Awards Ceremony. She looks forward to many more projects in the future, including feature film roles, and is grateful to her fans for their continued support of her work.