|Portrayed by||Richard Grieve|
|First appearance||13 June 1994|
|Last appearance||27 July 2005|
|Introduced by||Stanley Walsh (1994)
Ric Pellizerri (2005)
Sam Kratz is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Neighbours, played by Richard Grieve. He made his first screen appearance during the episode broadcast on 13 June 1994. Grieve quit the serial two years later and Sam departed on 21 June 1996. Grieve reprised his role in April 2005 for Neighbours' 20th anniversary episode.
After studying drama for four years and acting in the various theatre productions, Grieve won the part of Sam in 1994. He relocated from Sydney to Melbourne for filming. Neighbours was Grieve's first major television role. He later stated that he had no regrets about taking on a continuing role on the soap, saying "I'm thrilled with the way things have gone. I was very nervous when I first started because it was a long-running job but it's turned out well." Grieve departed the serial in 1996. On 14 April 2005, Kris Green from Digital Spy reported that Grieve had reprised his role for the Neighbours' 20th anniversary episode, which was broadcast in July.
Sam was sent to Ramsay Street by his grandmother, Marlene (Moya O'Sullivan), to check out the house she had purchased. He befriended Brett Stark (Brett Blewitt) and his sister, Danni (Eliza Szonert), who started looking up to him, as she thought he was "glamorous". When Marlene arrived in town, she revealed to Sam that Brett and Danni were actually his cousins. Josephine Monroe, author of Neighbours: The First 10 Years, stated that after a shaky start, Sam became popular in Ramsay Street and added "Sam may look rough, with his stubble and oil stains, but he has proven himself to be a rough diamond." Serena Coneele from Inside Soap described Sam as being good-looking and nice, but revealed that he would have a few secrets up his sleeve. Grieve told the writer, "Sam's unreal, I'd love to be more like him. I worry a lot more than he does and I've got a really bad temper. He's friendly and laid-back, and before long, he knows everyone in Erinsborough. He's that kind of guy!" The actor added that wherever Sam went, trouble and disaster seemed to follow him around. He later revealed that he would have liked Sam to have had more of a dark side, as he could be too good to be true at times.
After Sam chaperones a high school dance, he attracted the attentions of Squirrel (Brooke Howden), a young student who became "glued to him like a fly in Vegemite." When Sam went away on holiday with the students, Squirrel made it clear that she had more than a crush on him. She eventually cornered him and announced that she was pregnant with his child. Grieve revealed "Squirrel turns out to be a bit of a psycho! She is pregnant and she's convinced herself that Sam is the father, but he can't be because they haven't even slept together." Inside Soap's Victoria Ross commented that the Squirrel situation came just as Sam's life seemed to be on "a general downward spiral". He had spent weeks fighting his feelings for Annalise Hartman (Kimberley Davies), who was due to get married. When her wedding was called off, Sam provided Annalise with a shoulder to cry on. But before he could declare his feelings for her, Squirrel's revelation made him think twice. Grieve told Ross, "Sam doesn't tell anyone about Squirrel's accusation because he's convinced that no one will believe his story, especially Annalise. When Sam eventually tells Annalise about Squirrel's accusations, their relationship turns around because she totally believes his story and agrees to stick by him. Their friendship grows into something more serious so I suppose Squirrel did him a favour."
Sam arrives in Ramsay Street when his grandmother Marlene buys Number 24 Ramsay Street from Madge Bishop (Anne Charleston). Sam moves into the house but mistakenly sells the furniture belonging to Lou Carpenter (Tom Oliver), the previous tenant instead of the old furniture Marlene has shipped to the house. This leads to Lou suspecting Sam of being dodgy but ultimately changes his mind after the mistake is explained. Sam quickly makes friends with local teenagers Brett and Danni Stark who live next door at Number 22 with their mother Cheryl (Caroline Gillmer) and Lou and is later told by Marlene that the Stark kids and Cheryl are his cousins and aunt, respectively.
Annalise Hartman catches Sam's eye, but she is engaged to Mark Gottlieb (Bruce Samazan) who she is living with. Squirrel, one of Brett and Danni's classmates, takes a liking to Sam after he chaperones a dance. Sam rebuffs Squirrel, but she later returns and tells him he is the father of her baby. This is proved to be untrue when Danni urges Squirrel to confess. When Annalise returns after a holiday to get over Mark jilting her at the altar and later a cancer scare, Sam confesses his love for her and the two become an item. Sam's father, Patrick (Shane Porteous) arrives in Erinsborough keen to build bridges with his son but Sam is less than eager to reconcile with him as he and his mother had often left Sam in Marlene's care as a child while they furthered their careers. Sam is further angered when Patrick tells him that he has separated from Sarah, Sam's mother. The two men eventually reconcile after a going on a Bush Retreat.
Sam notices Annalise becoming more and more distant and shows disinterest in their sex life. It soon emerges that Annalise is having an affair with Stonefish Rebecchi (Anthony Engelman). Sam is upset and throws Annalise out. Things are not helped when Sam goes to visit Annalise at a motel and finds Stonie there. This results in Sam punching Stonie. Sam and Annalise try to salvage their relationship but are unable to and Annalise leaves for London. Sam later becomes a male model for Stefano Gold and later has a relationship with Cody Willis (Peta Brady). This is cut short when Cody is shot during a siege with drug dealers and dies a week later in hospital. Sam blames himself and grieves her death until Cody appears to him as ghostly during a whisky-induced hallucination and tells him to get on with his life. When Sam wakes up, he finds one of Cody's rings in his hand.
Annalise later gets in touch with Sam and tells him she wants to reconcile in London and they can travel Europe together. Sam jumps at the chance and leaves after attending the wedding of Annalise's sister Joanna (Emma Harrison) to Rob Evans (Graham Harvey). Sam later sells his Handy Sam's Business to Malcolm Kennedy (Benjamin McNair). Sam and Annalise marry in 2000. Five years later, Sam appears in Annalise's documentary about Ramsay Street and says the girls were the best reason to live on Ramsay Street, although Annalise was the only one for him.
For his portrayal of Sam, Grieve received a nomination for Most Popular Newcomer at the first National Television Awards. Serena Coneele from Inside Soap stated "At long last, a hunk who isn't squeaky clean is about to burn into Ramsay Street on a motorbike! Sam Kratz looks set to get the Erinsborough women running hell for leather to their make-up bags, and with his smouldering looks, it's not difficult to see why." A writer for the BBC's Neighbours website said that Sam's most notable moment was "Confessing his love for Annalise." Josephine Monroe commented that Sam was "a handsome biker always on the edge of the law". John Millar from the Daily Record thought Sam was "a few shrimps short of the barbie" and added "I have had grave fears about Sam's sanity ever since I spotted a poster for the Elvis film flop Harum Scarum on his wall. If he thought that was good, then there's no hope for him." The Sun-Herald's Pamela Jane called Sam "sexy", while her colleague Rachel Browne branded him a "motor bike-riding rough diamond".
- "Profile: Richard Grieve". Inside Soap. Attic Futura (UK) Ltd (39): 30. October 1995.
- Browne, Rachel (22 April 1995). "Just wild about Troppo". The Sun-Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
- Friend, Bernie (28 August 2008). "Footloose role for Aussie soap star". Southend Echo. Newsquest. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
- Green, Kris (14 April 2005). "More Neighbours returns confirmed". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
- Monroe 1996, p.35.
- Monroe 1996, p.36.
- Coneele, Serena (April 1995). "Ramsay Street's Prince Charming". Inside Soap. Attic Futura (UK) Ltd (32): 32.
- Ross, Victoria (September 1995). "Don't call me Daddy". Inside Soap. Attic Futura (UK) Ltd (37): 53.
- "Vote! Vote! Vote!". Inside Soap. Attic Futura (UK) Ltd (35): 35–36. July 1995.
- "Character: Sam Kratz". BBC. Archived from the original on 22 June 2003. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
- Millar, John (14 August 1996). "Flings can only get worse for lucky Luke". Daily Record. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
- Jane, Pamela (15 January 1995). "Cool plants for the pool". The Sun-Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 30 October 2012.