Over the course of her very public trial, Lindy Chamberlain watched her terrified cry, "a dingo's got my baby," morph into a joke.
For her family, it represented a terrible, real experience: Azaria Chamberlain, a nine-week-old baby girl had disappeared from a campground near Uluru in August 1980. Her parents, Michael and Lindy, had struggled to prove their innocence to a public convinced they were complicit in her death.
Sam Neill has heard the mocking of their experience many times - he played Michael Chamberlain in 1988's Evil Angels, alongside Meryl Streep as Lindy Chamberlain.
Sam Neill discusses on Lindy Chamberlain: The True Story on The Project. Post continues below video.
The film cemented the dingo line into pop culture, with it appearing as a joke in a number of American TV shows including Seinfeld and The Simpsons.
Neill told the Daily Telegraph it horrifies him every time he hears someone say it.
"It's a sort of joke in America in particular, when they hear an Australian accent, someone will say, 'a dingo's got my baby,' in Meryl's accent. And people chuckle," he said.
"But this was the moment a mother lost her child and I go, 'Look, you know what? That isn't funny. That isn't funny at all. And I like to make people think about that. That it's a horrible thing, and I won't stand for it."
Neill has been a long-time supporter of the Chamberlains, most recently narrating and executive producing the miniseries Lindy Chamberlain: The True Story.
Australia! Starts in half an hour. You must watch Lindy Chamberlain -The True Story, tonight & tomorrow , Network 10, 7.30pm. Trust me , this is phenomenal. However much you think you know ,nothing will prepare you for this . (Full disclosure - I have a small involvement in this) pic.twitter.com/xXYv9R0BnG— Sam Neill (@TwoPaddocks) September 27, 2020